Sunday, 19 May 2013

Pumpkin Bagels

Grasshopper, when you can snatch the bagel from my hand, you are ready.

Ready to bake bread.

Today we venture into the intimidating and misunderstood world of bread baking. I can't be the only one who's a little intimidated by bread recipes, jammed with phrases like "proof" and "active dry yeast" and "let-rise-for-EXACTLY-2-hours-and-twenty-seven-seconds". Often I find myself just staring at a bread recipe, completely overwhelmed by the intensely intricate proofing and kneading and punching steps (apparently punching is a big part of this bread making process). It leaves me shaking and clutching a box of cake mix for comfort.

And yet. Today you shall make bread. Your friends skeptically raise their eyebrows, suggesting you 'start small'. Dinner rolls, perhaps? You scoff at the idea. In fact, you plunge right in and make gourmet pumpkin bagels. (And then your friends eat them all and beg you for more).

Why you should make your own bagels:

 a) The grocery store has been tricking you! The flavour and texture of prepackaged bagels is no competition for homemade bagels. Seriously. Imagine the chewy crust of a homemade bagel as it gives way to a tender, soft interior… you’ll be a convert.

b) Because you can. Bread making is an intensely satisfying, rewarding experience. To know you actually created a staple food product with your own hands and few simple ingredients – it’s liberating!

Perhaps the best part, however, is that you control exactly what goes into them. No preservatives or artificial anything.

I started with an "easier" bagel recipe; many bagel recipes you'll come across involve an overnight proofing stage and produce large batches. Although that method may be more economical, I like the simplicity of this recipe, which also makes a smaller batch and is still absolutely delicious. And so far, it’s worked every time - even in a twenty-year-old oven with instant yeast (oops) and questionable mixing techniques.

This recipe is from (If you’ve never visited the Tart Tart blog before, check it out. Amazing photography!)

Pumpkin Bagels

2-1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1/3 cup brown sugar, lightly packed

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp allspice

1/2 cup pumpkin puree (NOT pie filling)

1 tbsp baking soda
1 egg
cornmeal for dusting baking pan
flax or your favourite seeds for topping

  • In a medium bowl, mix together the water, brown sugar and yeast. Leave to sit for about ten minutes, until the mixture has a thin layer of foam on top.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients; flour, salt, nutmeg, ginger, allspice and cinnamon.
  • Stir the pumpkin puree into the yeast mixture.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry and begin to mix; you’ll need to get your hands dirty for this (unless you have a mixer with a dough hook).
  • Once the dough has come together, turn out onto a floured surface and begin kneading until it is smooth and elastic, about 2-3 minutes. The dough should be just slightly sticky to the touch; if globs keep sticking to your hands, add flour a tablespoon at a time until it reaches the right consistency.
  • Lightly oil a large bowl and drop in your ball of dough. Cover, place in a warm area, and let it rise for 60-90 minutes until it has doubled in size. (I find just over an hour long enough for my dough to double).
  • Once doubled, place the dough on a floured work surface and “punch” it down – give it a good press with your knuckles a few times. You’ll hear weird bubbly-dough noises as air bubbles escape. Divide the dough into 8 balls.
  • Place the dough balls on a cookie sheet, cover, and allow them to rise for 20 minutes.
  • Shape the dough balls into bagels. Use your finger to poke a hole in the middle of the ball, then gently widen into a ring. Make the holes wider than you think as the bagels will continue to expand. Place the balls back on the cookie sheet and set aside.
  • Preheat the oven to 425F.
  • Fill a large pot halfway with water. Bring to a boil, then add the baking soda.
  • Grab a large slotted spoon or tongs and drop a few bagels into the boiling water. Don’t overcrowd the pot! Set a timer for 1-2 minutes (longer boiling = chewier bagel), then flip the bagel over and boil another 1-2 minutes.
  • Remove from water and place on a tea towel to drain.
  • Once all your bagels have been boiled, transfer to a cookie sheet sprinkled with cornmeal.
  • In a small bowl, whisk the egg to make the egg wash; brush the top of each bagel with the egg mixture and sprinkle on any seeds or toppings.
  • Bake bagels in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until crust is a deep gold. Rotate pans halfway through to ensure even baking.

Don't cram too many bagels in the pot, or else they stick to the side:

 Remove from water and let the bagels dry on a tea towel:

Bake in the oven, inhale the scent of warm cinnamon and browning crust, and serve toasted with a little cream cheese.


  1. I've never made bagels before! But love the idea of a pumpkin bagel. This is going straight to my pumpkin pinterest board!

    1. They're way easier to make than you'd expect! And pumpkin just seems to go well in everything.

  2. Wow, these sound AMAZING!! I am pretty much obsessed with all things pumpkin! :)

  3. I like your recipe.. I made in the last autumn another recipe for bagels..
    I will try certainly your bagels because I love the bagels!
    Thanks for sharing!!!

    1. Thank you! I agree, bagels are delicious :) Especially home-made.