Making Bagels, Honey!
Updated: Aug 10
Poached in boiled water and honey, sprinkled with sesame and poppy seeds, here's the story about a Montreal-style bagels recipe adapted for my little home kitchen in Australia!
For years I was thinking about trying bagel making at home until I really got into it (during the pandemic lockdowns of course!). I really don’t know why I waited that long… they are so good! I can use my backyard chooks eggs and local honey to make Montreal-style handmade crafted bagels, this is so exciting! I had to start by referring to a mix of existing recipes before adapting one for my little Aussie kitchen. I use locally produced raw honey and an addition from my backyard that is also a Montreal bagel signature: an egg. I tried using some bread flour (perhaps not the right one as I could not find the malt flour that Montreal's bagel bakers use) and I think the taste and texture ended up being good enough with the all-purpose flour. Montreal bagels are handmade by bagel pros in woodfire ovens and are unique (not to offend anyone by saying they are the best). Learn about Montreal vs New York bagels in this previous article here.
Bagels in many ways • Photography © Bottle and Brush Studio 2021-22
When making bagels, there are essential things to remember (and I have to remind myself each time). The first is the timing. Never rise the dough and boil it longer than the method says, otherwise, it’s a failure in taste and texture. Bagels should be chewy and sweet, not sour. The second is the temperature. Most of the time I make bagels in my Aussie kitchen in winter. If I cook in the morning, the room is so cold (that’s Australian houses in winter…) and in the afternoon, warmer but dry from the wood heater. Bagel dough needs to rise in a humid and warm place. A great piece of advice from Ricardo is: to place the bowl covered with a damp cloth in the (non-warmed up) oven beside a jug of boiled water. Montreal bagels are baked in a wood fire oven but can be made in a simple conventional oven. You can make a dozen of standard-size bagels, you can also make mini ones divided into 24!
Styling my mini bagels for a shoot • Photography © SVC/Matt Beaver 2021
My favourite topping mixes the Montreal classics of sesame and poppy seeds but you can go with just one of them (as usually done in Bagel shops), other seeds, or just plain. You can also add flavourings like garlic, rosemary salt, cinnamon or add dried fruits to the dough like blueberries (and there is a secret to it I've promised a bagel chef not to tell...). These are all popular, but there are many other delicious ways to flavour your bagels. I am teasing you again by not giving you the recipe, but don’t worry it will be available in my coming book!
Keep following for new recipe releases and for updates on the book(s) in progress!