I did it. I successfully completed my 21-day vegan challenge. Go me! And once it was over I didn’t go on a meat-eating rampage either. Since my last day of the challenge (Monday) I’ve still been eating vegan except for some shortbread I had purchased prior to the challenge and managed to hold off eating. I’m actually a shortbread addict so just staying away from shortbread alone was a challenge in itself.

Even though the vegan challenge is over, you will probably still see some vegan recipes on the blog, like today’s post which can be made vegan by omitting the egg wash. Easy peasy.

The thing I love about homemade bagels is that they have a nice crust (as bagels should!) unlike the packaged kind you find in stores.


1 cup warm water (250 mL)
2 tbsp. sugar
1 pack of dry instant yeast (2 ¼ tsp.)
3 ½ cups AP flour (~500 g)
2 tsp. salt
~1/4 cup water or as much as necessary to make dough come together
Optional: 1 tbsp. baking soda for boiling water (for thicker darker crust)
Optional: 1 egg lightly beaten
Optional: Various toppings… poppy seeds, sesame seeds, whatever you want!


Add warm water to a mixing bowl and add sugar, whisking to dissolve. Sprinkle yeast on top of water and let sit 5-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together flour and salt.

Whisk yeast to dissolve it in the water and then add to flour mixture. Begin to mix the dough, adding more water until it comes together to form a ball. Begin to knead the dough (it will be sticky at first) and continue kneading about 10 minutes. This dough will be dense, heavy, and fairly stiff.

Wipe the inside of a mixing bowl with a bit of oil and transfer dough to bowl. Cover with tea towel and allow dough to rise for about 1 hour in a warm area (it should double in volume.)

Punch down the dough and pinch off 8 sections. Roll each section into a ball, pinching together the dough on the bottom. Poke a hole in the middle of the ball, and create a bagel shape with your fingers.

Transfer bagels to a floured surface and cover with a tea towel. Allow to rise for 30-60 min.

Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C) and bring a large pot of water to a boil. If a darker, thicker crust is desired, add a tbsp. of baking soda to the water.

Transfer about 3 bagels (or however many will fit comfortably) to the pot of boiling water and leave for 1 minute. Turn bagels over and cook for another minute on the other side. Remove bagels with a slotted spatula and transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush bagels with egg and sprinkle with poppy seeds, sesame seeds, other topping or simply just leave the egg wash with no additional topping (OR no egg wash at all for a vegan variety.)

Bake for 20-30 minutes  or until golden.

Want to see the difference in crust colour between a bagel boiled in water with and without baking soda?

Left: bagel boiled in plain water Right: bagel boiled in water with baking soda

You can see that the bagel on the left is lighter in colour than the bagel that was boiled in baking soda water. The addition of baking soda to the water increases the pH of the water, which in turn affects the starch gelatinization that occurs on the surface of the bagel when it is boiled. Some people prefer the results with baking soda and some prefer without. I recommend trying both to see what your preference is (boil the first half of your batch without baking soda and the second half with.)

You will also notice from the above photo that the bagels have a nice shine on them. This is partly due to the egg wash, but also due to the bagel being boiled in water before being baked. When bagels are boiled, the starch in the flour on the outside of the bagel gelatinizes. This creates an outer crust with a shiny look. This also helps explain why bagels are more dense than bread. Because the crust has already started forming before the bagels even go in the oven, the bagels don’t rise very much, giving you that deliciously dense chewiness.

I gobbled up the poppy seed bagels like nobody’s business. Which type of bagel is your fave?

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