We love bagels, but it’s hard to find ones without additives and preservatives. So I was looking forward to trying this recipe in the Toronto Star, which is adapted from one in Feast: Recipes & Stories From a Canadian Road Trip. It takes a bit of time, but the results are worth it — the bagels are light and chewy with a hint of sweetness. Rolling the dough and forming the loops takes a bit of practice — not all of my dough loops held together — but they still tasted good! If you want your bagels to be less sweet, reduce the sugar by 1 or 2 tablespoons (15 to 30 ml). If you prefer a denser bagel, reduce the rising time to 30 minutes.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Make sure your oil and honey are preservative-free.

Mix water and yeast and let stand until beginning to foam

Once dry ingredients are mixed into wet, form into ball, knead for 10 minutes and let rise until doubled in size

Roll dough into 8 inch/20 cm lengths and form into loops

Boil bagels, four at a time, in honey-sweetened water

Then bake, changing rack position and flipping halfway through


1- ½ cups (375 ml) warm water

1 tbsp (15 ml) active dry yeast

5 tbsp (75 ml) white sugar

3 tbsp (45 ml) vegetable oil, plus extra for coating dough

2 tbsp (30 ml) maple syrup

1 egg, beaten

4 cups (1 L) all-purpose flour, plus extra for sprinkling

1- ½ tsp (7 ml) salt

12 cups (3 L) water, for boiling

1/3 cup (80 ml) honey

Sesame and poppy seeds for garnish


In a large bowl or stand mixer bowl, combine water and yeast and let sit for about 5 minutes, or until mixture begins to foam (meaning yeast is active).

Add in sugar, oil, maple syrup and egg and stir until sugar has dissolved.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine flour and salt. Stir until well mixed.

With dough hook attachment on lowest speed, stir large bowl, adding in flour-salt mixture 1 cup (250 ml) at a time, leaving about 30 seconds between each cup. Using a spatula, scrape down any flour that sticks to the sides. Continue stirring until dough is sticky and consistent in colour without visible streaks of flour.

On a lightly floured countertop, place dough and sprinkle about 1 teaspoon (5 ml) flour on top. Knead dough for about 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic, adding more flour as necessary but don’t overdo it — dough should be sticky but pull away from hands and countertop easily. Shape dough into a ball and set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl, add ½ teaspoon oil. Roll dough ball in bowl until covered. Cover bowl with damp tea towel or plastic wrap and let dough rise for 1 hour, or until it doubles in size.

When dough is nearly ready, in a large pot over high heat, add water and honey and bring to boil.

Preheat your oven to 425 F (220 C) with one rack at top and another on bottom.

Punch down dough, place on counter and divide it into 12 equal portions. Roll each portion into roughly 8-inch-long (25 cm) rope, then bring ends together, rolling ends until they stick together, forming a loop.

Using a large slotted spoon, place bagels gently one at a time into boiling water. Cook 3 or 4 at a time. Do not let bagels overlap. Boil for 90 seconds, flipping bagels halfway. Remove with the spoon and place on cooling rack.

Let bagels cool about 5 minutes. Coat with sesame seeds or poppy seeds.

On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, place bagels about 1/2 inch (1 cm) apart. Place on the top rack in oven. Bake for 10 minutes. Flip bagels and place sheet onto bottom oven rack. Continue baking until tops are golden-brown, about 5 to 10 minutes.

Remove bagels from oven, transfer to cooling rack and let sit 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Bagels can also be stored for several days in a zip-lock bag; allow to cool fully before bagging.

Enjoy with cream cheese and smoked salmon, tomatoes, avocado and/or capers.

From the Toronto Star