Homemade Bagels: A Work In Progress

Whole Wheat and Spelt Flour Bagels by Spicie Foodie

Have you ever made bagels?

When the craving for a bagel strikes I reach for the yeast, flour, sugar, salt, water and my mixing bowl. I mix the ingredients, wait for the dough to rise, knead, shape, boil and bake. The smell always puts the craving into overdrive and I can never wait for the bagels to cool down before I take my first taste — they always satisfy.

For a few years I’ve used The Sophisticated Gourment’s New York-Style Bagels recipe and I’ve always been happy with the results. I usually double the recipe so that we can have extras to freeze and defrost as we crave them. The taste is always dead on like ones from a bakery, but it is the outer texture that I can’t seem to get correct. Sometimes they come out with a smooth outer surface, like bagels should be, and other times they come out like you see in the first photo. I’m not really sure what it is that I’m doing wrong…but I’m not to bother by it because the taste is always great.

Whole Wheat and Spelt Flour Bagels by Spicie Foodie

Recently I have been experimenting with baking with whole wheat and spelt flours. This round of bagels I wanted to combine the two low gluten flours and see what kind of results I got. I used 2 cups of whole wheat mixed with 1.5 cups of spelt and the results were great! I was surprised because whole wheat can leave breads dense but that was not the case. (I also had to use a bit more water than called for, which is normal when I bake with whole wheat.) These bagels weren’t anymore dense than ones made with only white flour. The taste was fantastic too, they had the wholesome whole wheat taste along with the nutty flavors of spelt flour. I will definitely be trying this combination again.

Below is the recipe I use from The Sophisticated Gourmet, and in the “Notes” section I state the changes I made.

5.0 from 7 reviews
Homemade Whole Wheat and Spelt Flour Bagels
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Homemade Whole Wheat and Spelt Flour Bagels recipe based on The Sophisticated Gourment's New York-Style Bagels recipe http://www.sophisticatedgourmet.com/2009/10/new-york-style-bagel-recipe/
Recipe type: Breakfast, Lunch, Bread, Baking
Cuisine: American, Jewish
Serves: Makes 8
  • 2 teaspoons of active dry yeast
  • 1 ½ tablespoons of granulated sugar
  • 1 ¼ cups of warm water (you may need ± ¼ cup more, I know I did)
  • 3 ½ cups (500g) of bread flour or high gluten flour(will need extra for kneading)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of salt
Optional Toppings:
  • Caraway seeds, coarse salt, minced fresh garlic, minced fresh onion, poppy seeds, or sesame seeds.
  1. In ½ cup of the warm water, pour in the sugar and yeast. Do not stir. Let it sit for five minutes, and then stir the yeast and sugar mixture, until it all dissolves in the water.
  2. Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle and pour in the yeast and sugar mixture.
  3. Pour half of the remaining warm water into the well. Mix and stir in the rest of the water as needed. Depending on where you live, you may need to add anywhere from a couple tablespoons to about ¼ cup of water. You want to result in a moist and firm dough after you have mixed it.
  4. On a floured countertop, knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. Try working in as much flour as possible to form a firm and stiff dough.
  5. Lightly brush a large bowl with oil and turn the dough to coat. Cover the bowl with a damp dish towel. Let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in size. Punch the dough down, and let it rest for another 10 minutes.
  6. Carefully divide the dough into 8 pieces (I used a scale to be extra precise, but it’s not necessary). Shape each piece into a round. Now, take a dough ball, and press it gently against the countertop (or whatever work surface you’re using) moving your hand and the ball in a circular motion pulling the dough into itself while reducing the pressure on top of the dough slightly until a perfect dough ball forms (as pictured below). Repeat with 7 other dough rounds.
  7. Coat a finger in flour, and gently press your finger into the center of each dough ball to form a ring. Stretch the ring to about ⅓ the diameter of the bagel and place on a lightly oiled cookie sheet. Repeat the same step with the remaining dough.
  8. After shaping the dough rounds and placing them on the cookie sheet, cover with a damp kitchen towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 425ºF / 220ºC / Gas Mark 7.
  9. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Reduce the heat. Use a slotted spoon or skimmer to lower the bagels into the water. Boil as many as you are comfortable with boiling. Once the bagels are in, it shouldn’t take too long for them to float to the top (a couple seconds). Let them sit there for 1 minute, and them flip them over to boil for another minute. Extend the boiling times to 2 minutes each, if you’d prefer a chewier bagel (results will give you a more New York Style bagel with this option).
  10. If you want to top your bagels with stuff, do so as you take them out of the water, you may use the “optional toppings” (listed above) to top the bagels and if you’re risky like me, make a combination of the toppings to top the bagels with, but before hand, you will need to use an egg wash to get the toppings to stick before putting the bagels into the oven.
  11. Once all the bagels have boiled (and have been topped with your choice of toppings), transfer them to a lightly oiled baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack
**CHANGES I MADE: Instead of white flour I used 2 cups fine organic whole wheat flour mixed with 1.5 cups fine organic spelt flour. I had to add extra water, so make sure to have some extra handy. **STORAGE: These bagels freeze well, so if you double the recipe it is no problem to store extra in the freezer or refrigerator too.


Whole Wheat and Spelt Flour Bagels by Spicie Foodie

What I really love about this recipe it that it can be doubled, and the relatively low time it takes to prepare. Also I’ve had great results using 100% white flour, a mix of 50% white flour and 50% whole wheat, and of course now this whole wheat-spelt flour mix. When I first started the biggest challenge was shaping the bagels, but that gets easier and you’ll be able to shape them quite fast with a little practice.

Whole Wheat and Spelt Flour Bagels by Spicie Foodie

Bagels have long been one of my most favorite breakfasts. Lightly toasted with a smearing of butter, cream cheese, or jelly is how I prefer them. (Have you ever tried jalapeño jelly? My mother-in-law sends us jars from the States.) And sometimes I like to top them with tomatoes, cucumbers or whatever I happen to have in my refrigerator.

More bagel recipes by foodie friends:
Ultimate Bread (TSG’s recipe was adapted from this cookbook)
Homemade Bagels {Step-by-Step} by Mel’s Kitchen Cafe
Homemade Bagels and Mawa’s Raspberry Cream Cheese Spread by A Mama with Flavor
Spice Bagels (sweet bagel recipe) by Mogwai Soup
Leftover Bagel Bread Pudding by The Leftover Queen
Five Things To Do With Leftover Bagels by The Kitchn
Bagel Stuffing by Spicie Foodie
Spicy Bagel Chips by Foods For the Soul


Yummy Pics: A Food Blogger's Guide to Better Photos, Photography eBook by Spicie Foodie



  1. says

    I’ve been scared to try making bagels ever since my first experience. I forgot to oil the cookie sheet, so the bagel dough stuck when I tried to pull it off. That resulted in very flat, dense bagels, which is why I’ve been so hesitant to try again! I love the sound of your whole-wheat and spelt bagels though. Whole-wheat is probably my favorite type!

    (And thank you for including my bagel chips in your post too!)

    • says

      Hi Amy,

      Oh no:( I usually use baking baker so I don’t have to oil the sheets. Good luck on your next try — I’m sure you’ll get great results.

      My pleasure, I loved your recipe!

  2. says

    I love bagels too! I made them once a long time ago and couldn’t get the shape right…maybe I need to be inspired and give them another try ;-) I’m so impressed you’re making bagels;-)

  3. says

    You are a clever girl! I have never attempted bagels. Here in New Zealand, they are quite dense and very white so I have usually avoided them but yours sound quite a bit lighter.

  4. says

    I didn’t think the bagels looked weird at all! I’ve never made bagels homemade so kudos to you for going the extra mile to quench your craving! Everything bagels or blueberry bagels are my favorites…you’re making me crave bagels now!

  5. says

    The bagels look beautiful!! I have always used only all-purpose flour for my homemade bagels… I’m too chicken to try anything else! :) But I am going to use your recipe as a guide and see what I can come up with.

  6. says

    Nancy, this is one of things I really want to make! WOW you made it so perfectly! I really really really want to do this. I need one whole afternoon dedicated for this project. :D Looks so delicious and great job!!

  7. says

    Impressive, Nancy. I actually would eat any bagel and find it delicious but my housemates always have to take them apart and analyze the taste, texture, etc. Nothing beats the taste of freshly baked bread.

  8. says

    Wow, good for you!! I would never thing to make homemade bagels… because I just feel like I would fail at it. But you show me that I may have to climb that mountain someday. :) These bagels look great. I just finished eating a bagel for breakfast…. so I know it’s something I would love to make and customize for myself. :)

  9. says

    I really need to try making bagels again. The last time I tried was before I understood the difference between levure chimique and levure boulangerie (or just had really bad French) and thus used the wrong yeast. The bagels managed to rise – sort of – and tasted good but were really dense. My husband loves them though. I know he’d love it if I gave them another try.

    • says

      Yikes – I don’t think I would have know the difference either. Maybe that’s why I never baked when I was there, hehe. Thanks Holly and do give them another chance.

  10. says

    Your bagels are really beautiful, Nancy! Bagels have been something that I’ve been dying to try for so long now, but have never got around to making. You are an inspiration! And I love how yours are so much healthier with the combo of flours you used.

    • says

      Thank you Faith, I hope you can give bagels a try sometime. I’ve been trying to omit white flour from our diets and baking is the best way of doing so. Have a great weekend!xx

  11. says

    Nancy thanks very much for stopping by and linking in with Food on friday. I am blown away by all the different breakfast dishes – over 175 now!

  12. says

    No – I have never made bagels but one of these days, I might give them a try. I have a local source for great bagels which kind of suppresses my motivation to make my own. :) We do exactly what I see here with our bagels – a little cucumber sandwich with cream cheese. SO good! The jelly sounds like a great touch as well. Your bagels do look quite good and with the more healthier flours, I’m sure they are better for me than the one’s I buy. What energy you have!


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