Bagels for babies

Bagels for babies? Think toddlers sitting in the shopping cart, happily gnawing their way through a chewy bagel half as mom shops. Or those of us eating “baby-sized” portions in order to take off those 5 pounds that magically appeared during the holidays; this recipe makes cute little 3 1/2”, 2 1/2-ounce bagels, over a third smaller than normal bagels.

Or maybe these bagels are for you bagel-baker wannabes who’ve never made this signature treat before. Because this particular recipe, while exacting in both ingredients and timing, produces a pretty darned good bagel if you simply follow the directions.

Are you a bagel babe in the woods? This one’s for you.

The usual method for making classic bagels involves a boiling water bath. But I’ve always found it a bit tricky to fish those roiling, boiling bagels out of the water. What do you use? Grab ’em with a set of tongs, they deflate. Poke ’em with a fork—ditto. A spatula works OK, but many’s the time I’ve dropped an unbalanced bagel back into the pot, knocking it into another bagel and splashing boiling water onto the counter (and me). A chopstick works well, if you can manage to get it through the hole and lift without dropping…

So I thought, why not steam? Steam is just as hot as water—hotter, actually. What you’re trying to do, by boiling or steaming bagels before baking, is to kill the yeast, so the bagels won’t rise in the oven and become puffy, rather than staying rather dense and chewy. You’re also adding a very thin coating of sugar—malt, in this case—which gives bagels their distinctive shiny crust.

Eureka! As it turned out, steaming was easy (so long as I steamed the bagels for exactly 2 minutes; you’ll see what happens with shorter or longer steams at the bottom of this post). The bagels, sitting securely on a rack set over the boiling water, were easy to move around with a spatula. And, unlike boiling, they didn’t need to be flipped over midway.

So that’s my steamy story, and I’m sticking with it. Want to try making bagels? Start here. Not quite as solidly dense as store-bought, I find these—both because of their smaller size, and their slightly easier “chew”—perfect for kids.

Bagels for babies.

Want to read the recipe as you follow along with the pictures? Here it is: Baby Bagels.


Let’s start with the chewy bagel’s best friend: high-gluten flour, or “strong” (high-protein) flour. Lancelot is King Arthur’s version. Named after Sir Lancelot, one of Arthur’s Knights of the Round Table, Lancelot checks in at 14.2% protein—12% stronger than our bread flour. This extra strength translates into chewiness, a hallmark of traditional bagels.


Most bagels don’t begin with an overnight starter. But, let’s face it, bagels are pretty bland-tasting; they’re mostly about what you sprinkle on top, and what you spread inside. An overnight starter lends a bit of flavor to the bagel itself. So, mix Lancelot, cool water, and a pinch of instant yeast in a container, and cover. I’m using a 32-ounce yogurt container here.


Next morning, the starter should be nice and bubbly, and should have expanded.


I’m going to make this dough in the bread machine, as it does such a good job developing Lancelot’s abundance of stretchy gluten. A stand mixer is also fine. It’s really difficult to fully develop dough made of high-gluten flour by hand-kneading, so if you’re not an expert kneader with lots of energy, resort to a machine, please, for best results.

I’ve put all of the ingredients into the pan of the bread machine, and set if for “dough,” which means the machine will mix, knead the dough, then provide it with a cozy-warm, draft-free rising place for an hour—all with the simple push of a button. This is why the bread machines in our King Arthur test kitchen are such workhorses; they’re great for us multi-tasking test bakers, who can’t afford to spend too long on any one project. Push a button and walk away? Works for us.


Here’s the kneaded dough. It’ll be a bit craggy; that’s OK. Bagel dough is one of the few doughs that’s supposed to be stiff, rather than soft.


Here’s the dough after its hour-long rise…


…and here it is after an additional 30 minutes, for a total of 90 minutes rising time.


See that stretch? That’s gluten that’s well developed. This dough will make chewy bagels.


You can actually see the gluten strands, if you look towards the right side and bottom of the ball of dough.


Divide the dough into 12 pieces; a scale makes this easy. Each piece will weigh between 2 1/2 and 2 3/4 ounces, or 76g.


Here are your pre-bagels.


You’re going to work with six at a time, so cover half with plastic wrap. Round the other six into smooth balls, rolling them under your gently cupped fingers.


Next comes the hole. Stick your thumb and finger right through the center of each.


Twirl each bagel on your finger to widen the hole to about 1 1/2” diameter.


the holes will shrink a bit as the bagels sit, but they’re not going to be sitting too long. For best results, the process needs to go quickly from here on in, so be prepared.


Heat about 1” of water in a large, flat skillet; this one is about 12 3/4” diameter. Add a tablespoon of non-diastatic malt powder; this will give the bagels their distinctive shine. Substitute brown sugar if you like; it won’t be quite the same, but it’ll work.


Bring the mixture to a boil. You should actually get this steam bath heating at the same time you’re putting the holes in the bagels.


Add a rack; grease the rack with non-stick vegetable oil spray.


Place the six bagels on the rack over the gently boiling water, and cover.


Exactly 2 minutes later, remove the cover…


…and transfer the puffy bagels to a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Put the bagels in the oven to bake for 20 minutes.


While the bagels are baking, get your seeds ready. Here I have (l to r) poppy, toasted sesame, caraway mixed with coarse sea salt, “everything bagel,” and flax.


For best results, get your Quick Shine ready, too. This stuff absolutely glues seeds to the bagels. If you’ve ever sprayed bagels with water, then sprinkled on seeds, then seen all the seeds fall of as soon as you pick up the finished bagels, you’ll understand why I like Quick Shine. How about using a beaten egg white, instead? Sure, you can do that; I just like Quick Shine because it’s convenient, and works so well.


Here are your beautifully shiny bagels after their 20-minute bake.


Spray with Quick Shine (or water, or brush with beaten egg white), and add seeds. Or not.


Here they are, ready to go back into the oven.


Put the bagels back into the oven on a middle rack, then set another pan on a rack above; this will keep the seeds from browning too much. Just 5 more minutes is all they need.


Ah, lovely! Place them on a rack to cool.


Here’s something interesting: the first time I tried this recipe, I steamed the bagels for just 1 minute. The result? The yeast wasn’t completely killed by that short a steam, and the bagels rose some more as they baked, resulting in very tall, puffy, un-bagel-like bagels (pictured on the left, compared to a bagel that steamed for 2 minutes on the right).


I also tried steaming for 3 minutes. The bagel on the right is an example of that experiment: they rose too much, then collapsed in folds as soon as I took them out of the steam. Again, the bagel on the left was steamed for 2 minutes. So a 2-minute steam it is.


And what’s a bagel without cream cheese, right?

Read, rate, and review (please!) our recipe for Baby Bagels.


PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...


  1. Dawn of Dawn's Recipes

    Oh, I love them! So cute! I don’t know what it is about them, but I honestly think “mini” foods just taste better. Good idea about the portion control, too! I always find a whole bagel too much. I bought all the ingredients to try making bagels not too long ago, but now I think I’ll try this steam method instead! (Yes, I’m a bagel virgin.)

    Bagel virgin… love it! Have fun, Dawn- PJH

  2. Bridgett

    I am a bagel babe in the woods, excited to see your detailed recipe and instructions. I often buy mini bagels at the store and have lamented that the local bagelry doesn’t sell mini versions. So, here’s my perfect solution – yummy bagels, baby bagels, made at home. I can’t wait to try them out – maybe tomorrow since we’ll probably be snowed in.

    We’re definitely getting snowed in tomorrow – snowed into the office, most likely! Enjoy, Bridgett – let us know how they come out. PJH

  3. cindy leigh

    Ahhh…. you read my mind! Just yesterday I was wishing you’d offer a bagel recipe.
    I’ve done the “boiling” style before with mixed results. This looks much easier.
    Regarding the starter, can I use my own starter vs. making a sponge the night before?
    And I don’t have Sir Lancelot (darn, I was just up at the KA store, and not likely to be up that way again soon). Can I add gluten to bread flour?

    Cindy, just go ahead and use the bread flour, and a bit less water – maybe 2 tablespoons less for the recipe. And yes, use your own starter – and if it’s a soft starter (kinda liquidy), then maybe you won’t even need to add more water. Enjoy – PJH

  4. Nancy

    These look great!- and I even have the correct flour.
    However, in my last order I bought diastatic malt powder and malted milk powder (to make pancakes). I guess I should have bought the non-diastatic powder, too. I still am confused by what to use and when to use it. Any advice?
    Thanks so much for this blog- it is my very favorite place to visit every day!

    Nancy, definitely don’t use the diastatic – that’s to add, maybe 1 teaspoon per 3 cups of flour, to yeast recipes, to help yeast grow. Try adding the malted milk powder to both the bagels and steam bath – just go ahead and add the 1 tablespoon to each, see what happens. Should work out just fine. PJH

  5. Beth

    I have made bagels three times, and could never figure out why my bagels tasted good, but were pretty flat. Now I know! I am going to try to making baby bagels with steam tomorrow – yay for being a teacher with snow days.

    Nice thing about bagels is you pretty much always have the ingredients on hand, huh? Pretty simple stuff. Enjoy your day off, Beth – We’re scheduled for about 14″… PJH

  6. Brandee

    You’ve gotten me again, PJ! Guess what I will be doing tomorrow? :) I have been looking for a good bagel recipe and I think this one will be lovely.

    The fact that you post photos on your recipes really is a deal maker for me. I am visual and have to see what it is that I am making so that I can have something to compare it to when I am finished.

    Photos do help, don’t they? But don’t stress if yours don’t look exactly like mine – there are so many variables of weather, climate, storage conditions of flour, kitchen temp., etc. We each have our own way of doing things, and how they come out – and they’re ALL good. Have fun – PJH

  7. Michelle

    Oh how funny to see this posted today! Just yesterday I combined the recipes for A Dozen Simple Bagels (portioned out some flour, water and a pinch of yeast for an overnight starter) and the recipe off the bag of Sir Lancelot (the actual ingredients I used) to make bagels! The result is almost the same as you just posted, even the weight of each of the 12 dough balls (76 grams)!

    I didn’t have non-diastatic malt so I used brown sugar. I also don’t have any Sir Lancelot, so I added vital gluten to bread flour to approximate the SL flour’s protein level.

    Best bagels I’ve made to date! I need to order some KASL and some non-diastatic malt powder….

    Great Baking Minds think alike, Michelle… PJH

  8. HMB

    I’ll have to try this steaming method for the experience, but I’d like to mention for people who go the traditional route and boil and have trouble flipping and removing the bagels that those flat basket-like skimmers you can buy in Asian markets work great in the boiling water bath. My family’s been bugging me that I haven’t made bagels in a while, so trying out this recipe will be fun for all of us.

  9. Chiot's Run

    Oh, I love homemade bagels. So yummy. I’m a little worried about spraying something on my bagels though. I usually put baking soda in my water and I actually boil the bagels, not steam them. Very intersting. I’ll have to give it a shot.

  10. Chari Class

    I am so excited to see a bagel recipe – with photos!

    I agree the photos are very helpful.

    I just made bagels this week myself. I made them with the KA White Whole Wheat. I got a good raise with them, but I would’ve liked them a little more fluffy and a little more chewy.

    The flavor was very good, but I’m trying to boost the fiber content of my baked goods by using the KA White WW (I’m diabetic and the fiber keeps my blood sugar from raising too fast – gotta have my home made breads!).

    I would absolutely LOVE to see more recipes using the KA White Whole Wheat flour. I tell everyone I know that it is my favorite flour now and I use it exclusively.

  11. Matt

    PJ, I don’t have a round rack that would fit in a pan like that (I’d have to use a steamer basket in a dutch oven, at best), but I do have a nice tall stockpot, and I have a spider I can use to remove bagels and flip them over in boiling water. (I’d never try doing it with any of the things you mentioned—ouch!)

    If I wanted to boil these bagels traditionally, how much water, non-diastatic malt powder, and time would I use? Thanks!

    Matt, you need the water at least 1″ deep – deep enough that they can float and not touch bottom. 1 tablespoon malt per 4 cups of water. Boil for 2 minutes on one side, 1 minute on the other side; that’s the traditional way to boil bagels. Good luck – PJH

  12. Jesurgislac

    Fantastic – thank you so much.

    I have a steamer – I usually use it to cook vegetables: would that work? It’s a metal pan with holes that sits over the water-filled pan, and has a glass lid.

    Sure, so long as it’s not too sloping so the bagels sliiiide into each other! Sounds like a plan – PJH

  13. Helen

    I’ve been playing with making bagels too recently, and this looks great! But I could’t eat 12 bagels, even minis, before they would go bad. Could I freeze half the dough for later?

    With this dough I think it will be better off if you freeze the finished bagels instead. Frank from KAF.

  14. Keri

    Aha! Now I know why my previous attempts at bagels resulted in flat disks! I think I had them boil too long! yay– now I feel confident about trying again! Thanks!!

  15. Sharon

    When you give weights for ingredients, it would be very helpful if you used grams as well as ounces. Most scales convert, and it’s much easier to get an accurate weight that way. All of your recipes allow volume or weight measurements, and this would be a very useful addition.

  16. mia

    Oh yum! What a great site you have here! I’m a baker wannabe, just starting to gather all my tools and ingredients. But one thing I know, my dough has NEVER looked that good!

    And a question about the starter.. you said cool water? What kind of yeast is that and why doesn’t the water have to be warm? I need to know these things! :)

    Yeast doesn’t always need warm water to work. If it’s going to be sitting long enough, as in a starter, the water can be cool – esp. if you’re using instant yeast. Yeast is very flexible, really – thank goodness! – PJH

  17. Library Lady

    Good bagels DO have a distinctive flavor even without the toppings, but it’s next to impossible to get a real old fashioned bagel even in NYC. The chains have taken over and most bagels you buy are little more than slightly chewy white bread with a whole in the middle.

    I grew up in NYC and have fond memories of going in with my mom to buy hot fresh bagels at our local bagel bakery and her tearing one into pieces for us to eat on the spot. No butter, no cream cheese, and they tasted wonderful!

    In terms of bagel starters, a lot of the pro recipes I’ve read in my quest to make a real NYC bagel suggest letting the dough rest overnight or longer in the fridge. That may be what helps the flavor develop. But it’s hard to put trays of bagels in a fridge when it’s packed with the food to feed 2 adults and 2 growing girls! :)

    I guess it’s time to break out the KA Lancelot flour,try the overnight starter and the steaming instead of boiling and see what happens!

    Overnight rise in the fridge would definitely help the flavor – give it a try with just a couple of bagels (for space considerations) sometime. That long, cool rise encourages the development of acetic acid and other organic acids, as well as alcohol – all faovor enhancers. I’d shape and refrigerate, covered, right away; don’t let them rise at all. Then proceed the next day. Let us know how they come out! PJH

  18. amber

    Lovely post! I quit eating bagels because store-bought ones are so bad. Will the same concept of steaming over boiling work for soft pretzels as well? I’m going to be making some of those for SuperBowl!

    Yes, indeed, Amber – pretzels are basically bagels in a different shape. Go for it – don’t forget the mustard! PJH

  19. cindy leigh

    To Chari Class:
    I’ve been boosting fiber, too. In addition to using the white wheat (and I also like the 12 grain blend), I recently started adding the High-Maize fiber. It does not change the texture or taste and can be used in so many things.

    Cindy, I just made pizza today with Hi-maize – you’re right, you’d never know it was there. I used 1/2 cup Hi-maize and 2 1/2 cups King Arthur bread flour. – PJH

  20. Alissa

    I was just thinking when I saw the new everything bagel topping mix in your catalog how I would like to try to make bagels. So I was glad to see this post. But I don’t have a round rack to fit in a pan on the stove. Can I put them on a cooling rack set in a half sheet or roasting pan with with boiling water in it in a cold oven ? Like I do when I proof cinnamon buns? Would I leave them steam for 2 minutes as long as the water was boiling when I put it in?

    Alissa, I don’t think boiling water will stay boiling in a cold oven, without a direct heat source. Do you have a big canning pot, or something similar, that you could put a vegetable steamer in? Or maybe you could rig something up in the microwave? Otherwise, maybe you should just stick to boiing (2 minutes on one side, 1 minute on the other)… PJH

    1. Vicki

      I have the same issue so I’m putting my cooling or roasting rack in my large electric skillet — I can boil the water in that and cover as needed.

  21. Vladimir

    I have a question about the second six bagels. They will sit at a room temperature for about half an hour more (while you are baking the first six); does this affect them?

    Good question, Vladimir. They rise a bit, but as you shape them and put the hole in the center, they deflate, so they’re just like the first six by the time you’re ready to put them in the steam. PJH

  22. Jackie

    Hi All:

    My question is with adding something to the dough. My husband likes blueberry bagles. They can ba hard to find sometimes. Would it effect the recipe if I added frozen blueberries ? (No fresh around right now)

    Well – it sounds like it might be quite messy, with the berries “bleeding” into the dough. But if you don’t mind grayish bagels, go for it. Try to keep the blueberries tucked under the skin of the dough, as otherwise they’ll burn in the oven. Good luck – PJH

  23. Kathleen

    I have been baking cakes and cookies since I was a teen but am fairly new to bread baking, some forms of yeast baking and have never made bagels. All of the blogs and photos have been extremly helpful. I am very impressed with the level of education that King Arthur educators have and I think it is wonderful that all of you are sharing that knowledge, experience and know how with all of us. I do not know of another company that not only supplies recipes for their products, but also products that they do not carry, than shows you exactly how to. I am looking forward to trying this recipe as soon as I get the necessary supplies.

    Thanks, Kathleen – you hit on our goal, exactly: education, and inspiration. And, since we need to stay in business, our hope is that sales will flow out of those first two, plus the inherent value of the top-quality baking products we offer. Have fun with your new venture into yeast – it’s actually very forgiving and flexible, contrary to what most people think! – PJH

  24. Amber

    One additional question – Is it important how quickly the bagels go from the steam to the oven? Will it mess something up to steam them then wait 20 minutes for the 1st batch to come out? Thanks!

    Amber, better to start steaming the second batch right before the first batch is due to come out of the oven. Or complete the first batch entirely before shaping/steaming the second. Their “skins” tend to wrinkle a bit if you let them sit too long between steam and bake. PJH

  25. Claire

    Hi – I have a mini Zojirushi bread machine, and am not sure it will hold all of the starter plus the 3 1/2 cups of flour. Do you think this recipe would work well halved, or should I just give the full recipe a shot? Thanks for all your help!

    Claire, give the full recipe a shot, but once the dough is kneaded, take it out of the machine and let it rise in a bowl or big measuring cup. I think it’ll knead it just fine, but may not be able to hold it once it’s fully risen. Good luck – PJH

  26. Jennifer

    Hi – I bake a lot because my son has multiple food allergies. And one of the things I make occasionally is bagels, but I always have problems with the toppings falling off. I can not use any eggs or dairy products to make the seeds stick. Any suggestions? And instead of the non-diastic malt powder can I use barley malt extract? Thanks.

    Yes to barley malt extract. And I’m afraid, without using egg or dairy products, the best you can do is water. Try mixing a bit of cornstarch into it – that should work pretty well. Can’t tell you exactly how much as I’ve never done it, but experiment – and let us know how it works out for you. PJH

  27. Janet

    What if one does not have the hi- protein flour? Will regular flour work? I love this site. I have tried many of the recipes and they have all turned out well. I have been pleased. Thanks

    Hi Janet – High-gluten flour is available right here at to use bread flour, reduce the water by a couple of tablespoons. Reduce the water by maybe 3 tablespoons to use King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour; your goal is a stiff dough. Good luck – glad you’re enjoying our site! PJH

  28. Melissa in Montreal

    I’ve thought about making bagels for years, but since I have access to fresh, delicious bagels, I haven’t – but maybe I just have to do it! I love to bake and to try baking everything at least once.

    Since most people are familiar with the NY-style bagel, I wanted to mention the very different Montreal-style bagel. These are generally sesame-topped, boiled, then baked on long wooden planks in a wood-burning oven. The wood smoke contributes to their distinctive flavor. I’ve posted two links for anyone who wants to see photos of the process and the finished product – which is quite flat (Like PJ’s 3-minute steamed ones)! These bakeries are open 24 hrs a day. Only the sales counter separates you from where the bagel-making takes place; you can peer right into the hearth. The cashier grabs some of hot ones from a heaping pile for you while the cool ones are bagged for sale in grocery stores. They are best eaten hot so we usually do that on the way home – without cream cheese – scattering sesame seeds in the car as we do! Once cool, we eat them toasted.

    Thanks for the blog and its constant source of inspiration. Sadly, I haven’t seen KA products in Montreal, so I stop at your store if I am driving south or mail order. Boy, do I love your store and on-site bakery!

  29. Judith Icasiano

    I saw this today and was thrilled to learn about making bagels. I like cheese bagels and jalepeno bagels. Can you add these ingredients to the bagel mix and if so, how much should be added to dough. I saw the comment about the blueberries so I am curious.
    Hi Judith,
    You can add in to the bagel dough, but it is best to start small. If you add too much, the dough will have a harder time rising. Try 1/4 cup of your favorite add in, and then you can increase to 1/3 cup if it works out well. ~ MJR

  30. Cindy Young

    I just made some babies using my sourdough starter and added dried Maine wild blueberries. It worked out perfectly – the berries hydrated while steaming (great idea instead of boiling!) and did not bleed into the dough. My crew polished off all dozen in about 2 minutes! Gonna have to make a bigger batch next time :) I only got a nibble :(( Thanks for all of the help and encouragement KAF! I’d give my right arm to be part of your family! (would make it really hard to knead dough without it, but I’d find a way).

  31. Pat

    I made bagels last week for the first time and wondered why some were wrinkled and flat and others not…now I know why. Too much time in the boiling water. KA is a great resource. Thanks

  32. Deb Hall

    We are iced in ( in Louisville, Kentucky!) and I have all ingredients except the hi-gluten flour. I do however have the Vital Wheat gluten mentioned in an earlier post. How do I figure out how much Vital wheat gluten to add to my KA Bread Flour to approximate the Lancelot Flour? I’m a transplanted Northeasterner and I’d LOVE to be able to have real NY bagels again. Love your site! Deb Glad you like the site, Deb! Margaret found that 1 1/2 teaspoons per 1 cup of flour or 7 teaspoons for the whole recipe worked well. Molly@KAF

  33. Poppy

    I make bagels at my weekend house by putting ingredients in the bread machine the night before, using the timer, remove the dough, cut and shape 12 pieces, let them rise 15 minutes, and boil and bake 4 at a time in the bagel machine you used to sell. It turns out small, crusty, old fashioned New York bagels like the ones I remember buying (except mine aren’t perfectly shaped, but no one cares!). Maybe you could try to get someone to make that machine again?

  34. Bob

    I’ve baked both bagels and pretzels.
    I love to put large crystal salt on top but if not used right away, I find
    that in less than a day, the salt starts absorbing water from the air and
    the salt (and tops of bagels) gets very doughy or wet.

    Anything to do other than to eat them right away :-) or freeze them?

    Hi Bob,
    Well, you could mail them to us! Seriously, you could try a very airtight container, or use a zip lock and a straw to suck as much air out as possible. ~ MaryJane

    You could also try one of those “cracker keeper” things – they’re like little balls with silica inside that keep things dry. PJH

  35. Jessica

    I like plain bagels, but have been on a major sourdough kick lately. Any suggestions on how to adapt KAF sourdough starter into bagel starter? If I just add 1 cup lancelot flour and 1/2 cup water to 1 cup starter, would that throw off the amounts for the other ingredients and how would I compensate? Any suggestions? That should work. Molly @KAF

  36. Laura

    Garlic anyone? A deli that I used to frequent (until it went out of business) made bagels using fresh garlic. Holy cow! A garlic-lovers dream come true– they were terrific sandwich bagels, with the tops covered in garlic like that.

    Any suggestions on how to do this? All that I can come up with is that the garlic may need to be sauteed first.

    Any suggestions will be welcomed; thanks for the great recipe! The consensus seems to be to mince it and sautee it in olive oil, then brush it on the bagel just before they are done, so that it only bakes about 5 minutes, so it doesn’t scorch.Mary @ King Arthur Flour

  37. Deni F-L

    Thanks for the explanation about Montreal Bagels. We had an employee that used to go to Montreal from here in western Maine to take/visit his daughter who was in college in Montreal. They were the best bagels ever. I have been making bagels for a lot of years now (use bread machine, barley malt extract, boiling water–which really isn’t that hard, and larger, traditionally sized bagels) and they are pretty easy once you get the hang of it. I usually make a batch and when the BM is done, start another batch while I am cooking the first I often do it while I am doing supper. We all love them, but the Montreal bagels were always very special. Now I know why (wood fired oven and all the hand work). And you can even order on-line. I just might do it, prices are right and shipping to ME from Montreal can’t take more than a day or two at the most so they still would be pretty fresh. And into the freezer. They might even arrive fresh frozen seeing as how it hasn’t been above freezing for weeks now.

  38. Jamie AZ

    I’m definitely going to try making these! I’ve got a list of flours that I need to buy and high protein is on the list now, too! I had a bagel a few weeks ago with a cinnamon sugar smear on top of it (in lieu of seeds) and it was fantastic. I’ll be trying to create that flavor, too – cinnamony, but a little caramelized sugary, too, from the additional few minutes of baking. YUM!

  39. Julius Goldman

    I am and have been a bagel baker for many years. Your recipie for making and baking bagels is too conveluted and has too many steps. Let me know if you would like better methodology.

    Julius Goldman
    Bagels Plus

  40. Vicki Williams

    I agree, this recipe looks really good. The pictures definitely did help me understand the process. Unfortunately for me, Sir Lancelot flour contains barley so I can’t use it. In fact, the only flour I can use is whole wheat (white or traditional) or the soft southern flours (White Lily or Martha White). If I were to make an attempt to use the the soft flours, I take it I should add oh, maybe 4 tablespoons of wheat gluten and reduce the liquid by at least 3 tablespons? Do you have any other suggestions to bump the protein level up a bit and make the bagels come out sort of like they should?

    Making yeast breads is a bit tricky when you can’t use lovely KA All-Purpose or KA Bread flour! Ah well, it is the challenges that cause a person to broaden their horizons and get educated. You can try using the soft southern flours and the vital wheat gluten but why not use some white whole wheat in the recipe as well, which will boost the protein and taste pretty good. Molly@KAF

  41. Library Lady

    I’d suggest the lady who wants to make blueberry bagels use the dried kind. Very expensive, but they wouldn’t bleed.

    (Though I have to say as a nice Jewish girl from NYC I shudder at blueberry, jalapeno and sun dried tomato bagels. Old fashioned bagel bakeries made plain, onion, sesame and “salt” bagels and not much else)

  42. Margaret

    I just made the bagels for breakfast this morning. YUM!!! So easy. I used brown sugar, which worked great. Also, I didn’t have high-gluten flour, but I did have vital wheat gluten which I added to the regular KA flour. I had to guess on this, but used 1 1/2 t. per cup of flour and rounded up, using 7 teaspoons in all. They came out beautifully.
    It would be nice if the KA web-site could give more specific instructions on using wheat gluten–exactly how much does a teaspoon of gluten raise the percentage of protein in a cup of KA flour, for example? That is a great suggestion. I’ll make sure that suggestion gets seen by the people who add info like that o our web site. MT @ KAF
    This recipe is a winner–congratulations!

  43. Grace

    With regard to the dried blueberries, Trader Joe’s carries them and they are not very expensive. So if you have a TJ’s anywhere near you – buy a couple of bags. They keep indefinitly. A great solution for blueberry bagels.

  44. Reba

    Does changing to steam, or the 2 and 1 minute timing in boiling water, apply to egg bagels? I’ve made these a couple of times, using boiling water. They do tend to deflate after taking them out of the water and don’t fully recover in the oven. They aren’t heavy at all and they taste lovely. Yes, steaming will work just fine for egg bagels. Molly@KAF

  45. Donna

    Having transplanted from NY to SC, we make sure when we visit family in NY, we stop at our favorite bagel place on the way back. We like everything bagels with an onion and garlic mix. They are really stinky but oh, so good. Egg everything bagel is beyond yummy. I have to give these a try and find an egg bagel recipe also. The small size would fit into my diet too.

  46. Mrs.Chiu

    I made these yesterday and they are delicious! I love the steaming part as opposed to the water bath.

    What I didn’t like is that the holes closed up so much once they were baked that they looked like rolls with belly-buttons, not bagels!

    I was thinking what if you took empty 6-oz. tomato paste-size cans, greased them and set them in the center of each bagel while they steamed and baked?

    Do you think this would be a good method to try?


    Sure, give it a try. You can also try starting with bigger holes, knowing they will close up quite a bit. Cannoli forms might also work instead of the tomato cans. Slightly smaller holes. Let us know how it turns out. ~ MaryJane

  47. Ann W.

    I just made these bagels. I mixed my started Friday morning before I left for work. I had to double the water in order for it not to look like pie dough, but then the started developed nicely. My dough was quite smooth and I couldn’t get it formed well, so I think it was too dry. I also did something to my mixer while it was kneading. The motor kept running but the dough hook quit moving. Then my can of Quick Shine decided not to spray, so I resorted to water. In spite of all the problems, I have to say my oddly shaped bagels turned out reasonably well and I will try them again.

  48. Mary

    bagel recipes all sound wonderful. was wondering how KA whole wheat flour would work? how much? thanks Mary They would be a bit less chewy with the whole wheat flour. I would do a 1:1 substitution using about 1 1/2 cups of whole wheat in the dough for the same amount of Sir Lancelot. Mary @ KAF

  49. Moira

    I made these this weekend, and substituted 1 cup KA organic pumpernickel flour for the plain. They are delicious, and the texture did not suffer! Since we really like rye, I will probably add some Deli Rye Flavor next time.

    I love the steaming instead of the boiling, too.

    Thanks, this recipe is a keeper!

    Good idea with the rye, Moira – and i’m betting the Deli Rye Flavor would take them over the top! Thanks for sharing – PJH

  50. Trude, NM

    They were easy to make and tasted like nothing you can buy. I used a large electic skillet for steaming and it worked great.

  51. elianna m

    AWESOME!!! You should have seen my first attempt at bagels…ONCE was the end for me. But you guys all inspired me now! Tomorrow…is bagel day. :) Thanks PJ & all the rest!!

  52. Janet, KY

    I too make bagels on a regular basis and love, love, love your KA Sir Lancelot flour. I usually put a cup of white whole wheat flour in with the starter to add a bit of fiber. I mix them in my Zo but do it on the manual cycle kneading for 15 mins. and rising for only 30. I then shape them and put in the refrigerator overnight (the flavor really improves). I do boil them but use a chinese strainer so have no trouble turning them. When I put them in the oven I throw a few ice cubes in too for steam. I grew up in New Jersey and know real bagels. These are as close as I have been able to come to my childhood memories. I don’t even ask my daughter to bring a dozen from Long Island when she comes to visit any more! Thanks for your great flours and other ingredients. I am forever a customer.

  53. cindy leigh

    My results were kind of like Mrs. Chiu’s. They made lovely chewy holey big and tall rolls. No holes.
    BUT- I had made some changes, so it’s probably that, and not your recipe.
    I used my sourdough starter in the place of the original sponge.
    I used bread flour with some vital wheat gluten. (don’t have any Sir Lancelot- YET)
    I added some high-maize so the bagel would fit on my plan.
    I did’t have the malt powder, so I added some barley malt syrup instead.
    I don’t have the right steaming set-up, so I used a pizza mesh over a frying pan of boiling water, with a large mixing bowl over the top as a lid. Good idea above about the electric skillet.
    The modifications yielded great chewy, holey, crusty rolls. (The center holes were obliterated when I baked them in the oven)
    BUT, wow they were good, they’d be great for sandwiches. I will go back and perfect my bagel-baking, but I’ll still make these rolls again (next time on purpose!)
    Thanks for the recipe

    Great job with improvising. You will not be held back by not having just the right ingredients, will you? Elisabeth @ KAF

  54. mark

    question in Jeffery Hamelman book it does not call for a starter or Biga and this recipe does. Can you explain why Jeffery does not use a starter or why you do? My research does show most recipes use a starter.
    thanks and as a pro who is not afraid to ask a question your blog rocks or rises as the case may be.
    Mark S.

    These differences are purely a matter of preference. Some enjoy the flavor and texture that comes with the use of a starter. Others prefer Jeff’s style. Frank from KAF.

  55. Philip C

    Thanks for the recipe. I made them this weekend but mine are a bit too “crusty”. Any suggestions as to the causes? I like a crust on the bagel but not too much. Help!

    Too thick a crust, or too crunchy a crust? If too thick, make sure your oven is up to temperature (hot enough), and that you don’t steam longer than 2 minutes. If too crunchy, bake a bit less. PJH

  56. cindy leigh

    wooo hooooo!!! I did it!
    Yesterday my Sir Lancelot arrived, as well as the non-diastatic malt, and the spray glue (LOL can’t remember the name- Baker’s Shine maybe?)
    I used my sourdough starter and then added the rest of the ingredients.
    Of course, I add high maize to everything so that was in there. About a scant 1/4 cup to half the recipe.
    I halved the recipe to get 6 regular sized bagels.
    And I added about 1/4 cup of harvest grains blend and some onion flakes since I wanted “Everything bagels”
    For the topping, I took some more of the grain blend and buzzed it a few times in the food processor to make the larger seeds just a bit smaller.
    I’ve got 6 beautiful, shiny, seed-topped bagels cooling now.
    I used the steaming method. Very easy.
    Thanks for helping me become a better baker.
    Now, a question- have you blogged any recipes for hamburger or hotdog buns? The soft kind? May family is not fond, as I am, of a more rustic bun. They like the old squishy grocery store buns.
    cindy Yaaay good for you Cindy! We haven’t blogged about hamburger buns but we have some really good recipes on our web. Beautiful Burger Buns is one of my favorites. Mary @ KAF

  57. Mady

    Thanks for this recipe. Today was my first attempt at making bagels, and these came out great! A little bumpy shaped, but the taste was good. Next time, I’ll try substituting some rye flour.
    Has anyone tried making these in cinnamon-raisin? Thanks.

  58. Mrs.Chiu

    Help me get this straight. If I’m using bread flour I need to reduce the water by 2 T. and add 7 teaspoons vital wheat gluten for full recipe.

    If I want to substitute barley malt syrup for the powder, do I use the same amount…1 T.? Do I need to further reduce the water when using the syrup in the dough?

    Thanks for your help! I’m excited to make these again.

    Yes, if using bread flour, reduce the water by about 2 tablespoons. Seven teaspoons of gulten is just a starting suggestion, you will need to experiment. You don’t need to make any liquid adjustment when substituting malt syrup for the powder. Frank from KAF.

  59. Kevin

    I’ve done this recipe three times now and the results have been excellent!!! Yesterdays batch of 1 dozen plain bagels was consumed by my 2 kids, their friends, and a couple of neighbors that stopped by w/in about 6 hours….. When making the starter, I’ve always had to add about a 1/4 cup additional water or I just end up w/a dough ball, other than that everything has worked out perfectly. I did add about 1 and 1/4 tbsp. cinnamon and 1 cup of raisins to one batch and they turned out excellent also!!

  60. TS in CT

    If I dont have Sir Lancelot flour, can I add some vital wheat gluten to all purpose flour? How much? Thanks. You could do that. I like to use about 1 tablespoon per cup of flour. Mary @ KAF

  61. Kevin

    Do y’all have a recipe for ‘everything’ bagel topping??

    Poppy and sesame seeds, dried onion, garlic, and salt; proportions to taste. Go for it- PJH

  62. Melanie

    I am amazed. This recipe made this process sooooo easy. I followed it exactly and these bagels came out perfect!!! I am so happy :-) I used brown sugar instead of the other and also used Sir Lancelot Flour. Next time I think I will incorporate some garlic or maybe jalapenos into the dough itself. Thanks for the step by step!

    Could I substitute white whole wheat flour for half?

    You could sub whole wheat, Melanie, esp. white whole wheat; but the bagels won’t rise as high, will be denser, and may be a tad drier… Go for it, let us know what happens. good luck – PJH

  63. Judith Icasiano

    I am going to try this mini-bagel recipe. I just bought a dozen jalapeno/cheese bagels from our local bagel store. I spend $5 a day for a jalapeno/cheese/egg/ham bagel each week. Glad to find the recipe because I can save myself some money. I like to bake, but to be able to save money is also great. I bought a bread machine but have limited myself to bread. I think now is the time to branch how and see what that machine can really do. Thanks for all the great info.

    Happy “branching,” Judith – you’ll love how easily your bread machine makes bagel dough. PJH

  64. Brian

    I learned a lot just reading through the chain of questions and responses -thanks so much. I do put the dough in the fridge to rise overnight. Because of the space concerns mentioned above, I let the dough rise in a bowl vs. pre-forming the bagels. Is there a down-side to this approach? I use Sir Lancelot bread flour because it is easily available. Is there an advantage to using high gluten flour vs. adding vital wheat gluten?

    Brian, I’d say it would be fine to let the dough raise (unshaped) in the fridge. the main idea is that it’s developing flavor as it chills. Flour that’s naturally high gluten will work better than flour with vital wheat gluten added, I suspect. The gluten you add would have a hard time distributing itself as evenly as the gluten that’s right in the flour. Hope ths helps – PJH

  65. Linda

    Yum! They are delicious. My first attempt at making bagels. My only problem is that I’ve already eaten two!! I also had trouble with holes, next time I’ll form larger holes knowing they tend to disappear while baking. I have a Gaggenau oven and found it baked them quicker than the 20+ minutes. Luckily I checked them after 15 min and they were a lovely golden brown. I had the King Lancelot Flour but substituted the brown sugar. I’d love to get more creative with whole grains in the future. Thanks KA.

  66. Megan

    These baby bagels are adorable! I was going through the blog…looking at the archives (my favorite evening activity) and I came across this one. Today I went with my 86 year old jewish great aunt to L.A. and one of her most important stops was to a Jewish bakery for bagels. I got home and had to eat several bagels from the assorted dozen I got. I was curious about these super dark ones…put them in the toaster…buttered them…and…OOOOOOHHHHHH…HEAVEN they were pumpernickel bagels. I have NEVER tasted anything so amazing in my life! How can I make these at home? Please…I am 3 hrs. away from L.A. and I must have more pumpernickel bagels. Do you have any suggestions?

    Megan, take a look at our pumpernickel bread recipes. Bet you could pick one and use it to make bagels… Check back in if you try it and find a recipe you like. Good luck – PJH

  67. Sue

    I made bagels last weekend from a different recipe. I wish I had remembered this one was here. Re-reading this entry gives me some insight into why I wasn’t as happy with mine as I could have been. I’m going to do some more research and try them again some day. It looks like I should order some Sir Lancelot in the mean time.
    The recipe I followed has the bagels rise overnight in the refrigerator after you make the dough. My bagels looked a lot like your bagel that you steamed for 3 minutes.
    They tasted good, but they weren’t exactly the right texture or look.

  68. ariel

    I form the bagel rings and put them into King Arthur’s doughnut pans for the raising portion. Then I steam the bagels right in their doughnut trays in a rectangular Presto electric fry pan containing water. They come out looking beautiful from top to bottom. I call them glam-bagels.

    Ariel, GREAT idea!!! Thanks, I’ll try that- PJH

  69. Val

    My kitchen tends to be warm, so I like to rise my doughs in my handy-dandy KAF 8-cup measuring cup so I can stop when the dough is risen enough rather than relying on time. It looks like maybe after one hour the dough had doubled and after 90 minutes it had tripled? Is that about right?

    Sounds like a great rise, Val – you must have very happy yeast. if you’re worried about it rising TOO fast, this can sometimes happen if you use less salt than the recipe called for, or if your kitchen is warmer than 72°F or so. But it’s not a problem… PJH

  70. Cedarglen

    I’ve made this recipe twice. While it is a LOT of work, my two batches of Baby Bagels were probably the ONLY legitimate bagels in Oregon those weeks. The are Great, genuine and a reasonable, homemade version of the real New York/ (or L.A.) thing. For to make, eat and to gift, I now understant why one cannot buy a genuine bagel in Oregon! They are labor-intensive and then some. To achieve a decent return on such a wonderful product, one would have to charge $3. The $3 bagel won’t fly in in rural Oregon, no matter how good it is. I’ll make them at home and offer them to a few guests. Thank you. -Cedarglen

    Yes, they are a bit time-consuming with the steaming. But there’s really no other good way to get that distinctive texture. Thanks for being devoted enough to keep this tradition going… PJH

  71. elise

    I tried the steaming method on half the bagels in my usual whole wheat flour recipe, using a regular metal steamer basket. They came out great–almost indistinguishable from the boiled ones, and much less messy (other than forgetting to grease the steamer basket, oops). I was wondering though–isn’t steam essentially “distilled” water? In which case, wouldn’t the sugar or malt powder stay in the pan and never touch the bagels? Would it be better to brush the bagels with a little bit of the malted/sugared water before steaming, or do the ingredients in the water make their way onto the bagels anyways?
    Living here in Vermont I know that during sugaring time the air smells very sweet so there will be some sweetness in the steam. The purpose of putting a little malt or sugar in the water is to give your bagels a shine. I do not think the sweet steam will do this so you may want to brush your bagels first. Joan D@bakershotline

  72. Missy

    OMG, these look awesome and sooooo easy! I have ALWAYS wanted to make bagels, I swear i recall telling my mom as i moved into my first apartment (post college) in 1988 that I wanted to make homemade bagels in my new place, never did… i can! :O)

    I love this blog and how perfectly u explain everything PJ! I see it was originally posted in January, i dont know HOW i missed it! I LOVE bagels! and since im still waiting to hear from my Doc if i have to be gluten free from Celiacs disease, i want to hurry and make these for a last enjoyable treat!

    THANKS! love everything u guys do and I tell EVERYONE about KAF!

    Thanks for spreading the good word, Missy – and I hope you get a good report from your doctor that allows you to go on eating all kinds of bread… Best of luck – PJH

  73. Emilie

    Can’t wait to make these. Do you have an idea of how long the kneading takes in a stand mixer? Thanks!

    With a stand mixer at speed 2 , the kneading time would be 5 or 6 minutes. Mary @ KAF

  74. paulandlolli

    When you steam the bagels, can I use my electric food steamer rather than the pan and rack on the stove? Is the timing the same?

    Don’t see why not – the timing should be the same, too. Good idea! Let us know how it works, OK? PJH

  75. Cora

    I read through most of the comments and didn’t see this one yet, so I hope it’s not a repeat: can these be made gluten free?? I have the Ancient Grains and Whole Grain Gluten Free flours! I know that the delicious texture of bagels is obviously due to gluten, but I’d love to hear if anyone has had any success with a gluten free version of some sort! :)

  76. susan

    I have a mini zojirushi bread machine. It only takes 1 cup liquid to 3 cups flour total. Can you
    please adjust the recipe for this smaller machine.

    I have that problem with a lot of your recipes. So helpful if they would have a 1 lb bread machine
    recipe also.

    thank you

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Thanks for asking, Susan. The mini Zo will hold 2/3 recipe for yeast doughs made with the larger Zo. We do have a few yeast bread recipes written just for the mini Zo . Happy Baking! Irene@KAF

  77. Gambles

    I don’t have any way to steam (though I may have to change that in the future) so I would like to try this recipe boiled using the instruction you gave Matt up on his 1/28/09 post and boil 2 min on the 1st side and 1 min on the 2nd.

    I doubt that makes a difference to my ?, but just in case …..

    question #1: Can I make half of the baby bagels on one day and put the unrisen dough in the fridge until the next day? Then I would take it out and let it rise as if it was just made on that day. I have done that successfully several times with rolls when I want a smaller quantity of rolls 2 days in a row. Would that work for a hi gluten product like bagels? I don’t want to waste my Sir Lancelot in case the idea has no hope….

    I really love the look of this recipe – especially because of the starter which leads me to a generic ?

    question #2: Can I just pull part of the flour, water, and pinch of yeast from ANY recipe to make a starter and finish it off the next day with the rest of the ingredients to get depth of flavor or does that change the other things as well?? Since starters make sense if I have the time, I’ve been wondering that for quite a while….

    Thanks for your help with those 2 questions,

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      It may be best to shape the bagels, then retard or refrigerate until you have time to boil/bake. About that overnight starter – use all the water called for in a recipe, up to half the flour and a pinch of yeast. Happy Baking! Irene@KAF

  78. Tanya

    Best bagel recipe I’ve tried. My New Year’s resolution was to prepare more of our everyday foods from scratch and to buy locally produced products (and organic, if the budget allows) so a few changes were made. I used an organic, stone ground all purpose flour from a local mill, minimum milling protein of 13.5% so I figured it would work. It did, beautifully. We cannot get non-diastatic malt in Canada so I used brown sugar. After tearing through my cupboards I couldn’t find a rack to fit my pan so I boiled the bagels. They turned out so good that I doubt I’ll go buy a rack just for this purpose. Thanks for the blog instructions with all the pictures, it’s what draws me in to try these recipes.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Glad this recipe was a winner for you, Tanya! And thanks for sharing your modifications. Barb@KAF

  79. Susan

    I have made these twice and they are delicious. Trouble is the dough is very sticky to work. I weighed the flour but I know that in high humidity, like here in Central Texas, I tend to need less liquid or more flour in my baking. Anyone else have this issue? Which fix is preferable?

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Susan, we always recommend holding back 2-3 tablespoons of the water and adding it in just at the end if it is needed. This method is preferable over adding additional flour because too much extra flour can make for dry, dense, and heavy baked goods. Only add that extra water if the dough looks very shaggy, powdery, and won’t come together. Happy bagel making! Kye@KAF

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