mostly about food and cooking, but also the stories about the Bread and the Butterflies!

Bagels for Breakfast

In Bread, Tea Party on November 9, 2006 at 8:03 pm

bagel 01
Many of you lucky readers live in the US where you can have a decent bagel whenever you like. Now, did I just provide all of you with an opening to vent?!! Well, anyway, the rest of us in India and similar places don’t have any kind, as can be expected. But those of us who have spent some extended time in the US are aware of the bagel and its place at breakfast.

And we get nostalgic about them. I used to like mine especially smothered with cream cheese. Part of the nostalgia was because it reminded me of the taelwor (this is the best I can do spelling a Kashmiri word), a small sesame covered bread baked by the neighbourhood kandur (baker), available all over Srinagar. These are ‘evening’ breads, meaning they are available later in the afternoon, in time for the afternoon tea. The taelwor is especially good with sheerchai, the salty milky tea that is topped with malai (cream) and considered a digestive after a heavy meal! It is dense and chewy like a bagel – a good bagel is supposed to be chewy, right?

And Nandita’s invitation to bake for WBB#7 was the perfect excuse to make them again. But I couldn’t find the recipe I had used a couple of years ago. It had been simple enough but I didn’t want to just wing it. After a quick Google check and a review of a couple of recipes, I decided Carolina’s was almost like the one I had used. And she assures us it’s the real McCoy. So ladies (and the few gents out there) get ready to bake yourselves the perfect Jewish bagels and show them New Yorkers that we are right up there with them.

The process is quite easy but involves an additional step, so prepare yourself to be in the kitchen for upwards of an hour. There is the usual foaming of the yeast and waiting for the dough to rise. But before baking, the dough is boiled. Here the recipe differed from my earlier attempt. This recipe calls for adding honey or sugar to the boiling water. This leaves a think sticky film on the bagels that bakes to a beautiful gold and may also help the toppings to stick better.

bagel 02
New York Bagels

3 C maida or all purpose flour
1 t salt
1 1/2 C hot water
2 T yeast
1 1/2 T sugar
2 l water (to boil) with 2 T sugar
sesame, caraway or chopped garlic to top the bagels
semolina or cornmeal

Take 1 1/2 C hot water in a mixing bowl. Stir in 1 1/2 t of sugar. The water should be hot but you should be able to keep your fingers in it. Sprinkle the yeast and stir. Cover and leave for 10 min. The yeast should now be all frothy. Add the salt and 2 C of the flour. Knead till it all comes together. Add the rest of the flour gradually, adjusting the water, till all the flour is incorporated and you have a medium stiff dough. The dough should not be sticky or soft, yet pliable and stretch easily without breaking. Knead for a few minutes. Smear the bowl with a little oil, put the dough in it and flip so that a fine film of oil covers it all around. Cover the bowl and let rise till doubled (about 45 min).

dough 01dough 02

(While the dough rises work on your spread. I used my very own recipe to prepare home-made cream cheese spread with sun-dried tomatoes and walnuts.)

garlic spread


Add 2 T of sugar to 2 l of water in a large pan and bring to boil.

Punch down the dough and divide into six portions. Roll each portion into a rough ball, push a finger through and pull the dough to shape into bagels. Leave the bagels on a tea towel or cling film to prove for 10 min. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 7 (about 375 F). Drop the bagels into boiling water and boil for 2-3 min. Flip and boil on the other side for another 2-3 min. Remove to a clean tea towel. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, caraway (shah jeera) or chopped garlic. Transfer to a baking tray dusted with cornmeal or semolina. (Be really generous. I had a small struggle to get mine off the tray!) Bake for 15 min. Turn heat down to Gas Mark 6. Rotate and bake another 15 min. Cool, slice, toast and spread with butter or cream cheese. Yum!

In they go!
bagel 03

Baked to a beautiful gold!
bagel 04
Slicing is easier if you are patient and can wait 20 min for the bagels to cool. That was possible only with the last one!

  1. hi…they just look so perfect…and yummmmmm…
    n ur explanation is as good as ever…love ur recipes!!!

  2. Umm Umm good!! And the good part also lies in the fact that they are not so tedious to make!!! :)) Next time try making them with wheat and honey – guilt free, just as Einstein Bagels here in US serves them. By the way we made dalia on Sunday, it sure turned out yummy..:))

    Those are the ones I would have in Denver! There was one Einstein just five min from my house, and many Sunday mornings that was my hangout (near ‘Queen’ 🙂 Super’s, as King Supers was fondly called!). I’ll try with my usual 50-50 combo next time.

  3. Your bagels look quite delicious! and thanks for the recipe, its so simple! I too love bagels, my fav. is onion bagels smothered with Jalapeno cream cheese..YUM!

    Hi Trupti. I am planning to try the onion and garlic topping s next time. Isn’t cream cheese the best thing with bagels? Though butter ‘s not bad either.

  4. wow, you baked bagels!!**applauds**
    those look really nice and chewy. The only reason I’m holding back on my baking all these nice goodies at home is because I’m not sure my oven temperature is correct and I don’t want to end up with too-brown bread..
    But yours baked JUST right 🙂
    Hi Nabeela. Thanks for the applause!
    Go ahead and make a small batch (the above quantity makes just 6). Every oven has its little nuances to figure out. You are really missing out!

  5. hi,
    i followed exactly the same way as you mentioned
    but still i ended up with very hard bagels
    what could have gone wrong ?
    any tips pls ?

    Did you check the yeast for freshness? That first step of letting the yeast foam is for this reason precisely.

  6. hmm..bagles! I love them made me am going to have them once we go back to India!! Being a south India, I never saw a oven at home. What ovens are available in India? Which one do you own(if this is too personal, please let it go)? Please forgive my ignorance.
    I love your blog, I visit it almost everyday..
    Hi Anu. Don’t worry about missing out on your return. These days a lot of the stuff is available in special markets all over India. In Delhi the INA Market has everything from all over and more!
    And all kind of fancy kitchen equipment is common place. You’ll have a lot to chose from. I have a Faber which has a good oven, but leaves a lot to be desired in the burners section! There is only an outer ring of flame (as is common abroad) – not the best heat to puff the roti on the flame!

  7. Wow…you baked bagels at home?? Looks BEAUTIFUL, though Im not much of a Bagel fan, would love to try these at home…or may be the Jalapeno pretzels! We have a Bagel Shop – a cafe kind of restaurant in Bandra and from what i hear it is doing quite well! Thanks for the super entry Anita!

  8. Those look scrumptious, Anita! I’d give my aching right arm for one right now! Delicious!! Don’t know when I will try these out, cos Einstein’s is probably quicker! But I will. Just need to get back into the baking and cooking mood again.
    And, please share your recipe for home-made cream cheese! I have sun-dried tomatoes begging to be used and a ton of walnuts.

    Hi Manisha. These are definitely less work than all those cupcakes and ‘mice’, I assure you!
    For the spread recipe, check again tomorrow!

  9. Anita, I am so impressed! I am sometimes so desperate for bagels here in Harare that I end up buying the bread product labelled “bagels” at the supermarket. They are round with a hole in the middle, but that is where their similarity to actual bagels ends. Now you have insired my to bake (and boil) my own! Thanks!
    Hi Carolyn. It’s easier now that the world has become smaller and Indian markets are full of exotic ingredients. As a little girl I would pour over ‘foreign’ cook books and make substitutions not having the foggiest idea about those cuisines. And I know about missing home food when abroad and ‘exotic’ foods when home!
    I was happy to discover the bagels in the US because they were so like the Kashmiri taelwor, and then I ended up missing bagels and the taelwor in Delhi!

  10. I join the list of admirers. You baked bagels at home ?? wow ! they look as good as store-bought.

    Better, Krithika. Better than store bought!

  11. Hi ,
    I just used Active dry yeast ( sold in packets ) from the grocery store…
    am not sure how fresh is that…and yeah it did not foam but colour of the water changed to dull… and dough doubled…that is all happened..
    Or do i need to add baking powder also to get around this issue ?
    Soumya, there you have it. Your yeast was not fresh! And dead yeast cannot make the bread rise! Throw it out and get some fresh. I used to have this problem too with most yeast sold here. Now you can get ‘imported’ yeast that stays fresh for months in my refrigerator. Some grocers repackage these giant 1/2kg bags into smaller sachets for sale.

  12. Wow, you have a lot of patience to make bagels from scratch. Good work!

  13. Wooo hooo Anita! way to go! making bagels is really ambitious (in my book atleast!) and you have had super success with this!! I’m awed at your perfect round, moist chewy looking bagels.

    I haven’t had bagels in a while, and yours are making me crave some right now!


  14. Lakshmi, SH: Hi. Yes, they are some bit of work. But not tedious. How else would I get the bagels I crave sometimes! /

  15. […] Chop up the sun-dried tomatoes. Mix all ingredients well. Adjust seasoning. Refrigerate for a couple of hours to let the flavours meld. Garnish with few bits of walnut and a dash of chilli powder. Serve as a spread or a dip for the usual chips, crunchy veges, toast, toasted bagels…You and yours will keep coming back for more. Guaranteed. […]

  16. Great to see that you baked them bagels in India.It is amazing but many of us think that baking bagels and pita is tough, but actually it is pretty easy (of course, it has more than one step) as you discovered. Baking pita bread is also pretty easy…
    Here is a tip: you can try frying some chopped green chillies and add them to the dough and voila you get jalapeno flavored bagels. Maybe you can toss some karripatta while you are at it?
    Happy Baking!
    That, and even chopped and fried onions! Not so sure about the karipatta, though! 🙂
    Yes, bagels are not any more work than stuffed paranthas, really. And the only way to stop a bagel craving is by having one!

  17. Oooh! Great tips, Kamla!

  18. ‘T’ is table spoon or tea spoon?
    Hi Avinash. Welcome to The Party. t=teaspoon, and T=tablespoon.

  19. […] I was much inspired by my fellow bloggers Anita, Priya , Monisha, Asha  by their culinary experiments in baking. I have been wanting to indulge  in bread making for long time but never had the time and heart for it. I  found that this is a perfect chance to learn bread making.I must thank Nandita for inspiring me  in the new arena. […]

  20. And where in Delhi can I get fresh yeast? I bought 2 packets in Madras and inspired by this post and one by Sharmi, I have something in my oven now 🙂

  21. […] @ Baking Bites A Mad Tea Party Wild […]

  22. I thought I’d wander over this way…your recipe is very much like mine and most references I’ve checked: sugar-water for the poaching. Beaten egg will keep the toppings in place. And as Kamla said, fried onions in the dough (plus a few, chopped, raw ones sprinkled over the top)are a must-try! Those are everywhere here but unfortunately “onion bagels” are always totally maida…what the bagel-shops lack is variety in the whole-grain or partial whole-grain category… There are at least three within 2 miles of me, but with homemade the possibilities are endless! (I’ve even eaten some with a cheddar-jalapeno topping!) Very nice-looking bagels- nevermind the Kohinoor, Delhi has you!

    I must try fried onions in the dough; I can imagine the wonderful taste! Last time I used caraway seeds over some, and rock salt over others – both were good. And I was using half and half (maida+atta)!
    Wow, being compared with The Kohinoor! Thanks, you are the sweetest…really.

  23. Thanks Anita! Tried your recipe – was baking bagels for the first time – and it came out awesome…
    Talking of yeast, I used dry german yeast – Dr. Oetekar I think, called Hefe in german. It works beautifully, I get the foam and a lovely rise. I usually use the same to make pizza bases too, and they turn out perfect….It works for pizza even on keeping in the fridge a day after cultivating.
    Thanks again for your recipe…also tried a variant with bacon crumbs and onions which was very good too.

  24. […] One of the things I have craved ever since I left the shores of America, besides New York style bagels, is a slice of cheesecake.  I have tried my luck with many restaurants here in Delhi. Other than […]

  25. try boiling them in water that has baking soda. my bread recipe book explained that baking soda in the boiling water is the secret. good luck and thank you!

  26. […] to fob off one thing in the name of something else altogether.  Why else do you think I would make my own bagels or bake my own […]

  27. […] was much inspired by my fellow bloggers Anita, Priya , Monisha, Asha  by their culinary experiments in baking. I have been wanting to indulge  […]

  28. […] Bagels for breakfast – Anita, A mad tea party […]

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