Bagels originated in eastern Europe and were brought to the United States by Jewish immigrants. They are best eaten toasted for breakfast or used as a sandwich. A traditional way of serving bagels is to split and toast them then spread thickly with cream cheese and topped with smoked salmon.


  • 450g strong white flour.

  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons salt.

  • 15g yeast.

  • 225ml mixed milk and water at room temperature.

  • 1 teaspoon caster sugar.

  • 1 teaspoon malt extract.

  • 30g butter, melted and cooled.

  • 1 egg beaten.

to poach

  • 1 tablespoon malt extract.

to glaze

  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds or poppy seeds.


  • Sift the flour with the salt into a large bowl and make a well in the centre.

  • Whisk the yeast into the milk and water. Add the sugar and malt extract.

  • Pour the yeast mixture into the flour and salt. Add the melted butter and egg.

  • Mix to a dough and knead for 10 minutes by hand or 6minutes by machine, until smooth and elastic.

  • Place in an oiled bowl and turn to coat in the oil. Cover with oiled clingfilm and leave in a warm place for about 1 1/2-2hours or until doubled in size.

  • Knead the dough for 30 seconds then divide into 12 equal-sized balls. Shape each ball into a neat round. Make a hole in the centre of each ball and swing each one around your finger to increase the size of the hole to a diameter of at least 4cm.

  • Place the bagels on a greased baking sheet and cover with oiled clingfilm. Leave for 20 minutes in a warm place or until soft and pillowy.

  • Meanwhile, fill a large saucepan with water and add 1 tablespoon malt extract. Bring to the boil, then turn down the temperature so an occasional bubble rises to the surface.

  • Heat the oven to 220c. Place a baking stone, if using, in the top third of the oven and a roasting tin on the shelf below the baking stone.

  • Drop the bagels one or two at a time into the saucepan. Poach for about 10 seconds per side. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a tea towel to drain. If the bagels collapse after poaching you have poached them for too long. Do not leave them on the tea towel for more than 5 minutes or they will stick to the towel.

  • Place the bagels on the baking stone or a lightly greased baking sheet and sprinkle with poppy or sesame seeds. Bake for 20 minutes. Add iced water to the roasting tin and spray the bagels with a plant mister during the first 5 minutes of baking.

  • Place on a wire rack to cool.


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