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The best bagels

The best bagels

Martha Collison's soft and chewy New York-inspired bagels are perfect for breakfast and are sprinkled with a savoury, nutty topping. 

3 out of 5 stars(1) Rate this recipe
  • Makes10
  • CourseBreakfast
  • Prepare30 mins
  • Cook30 mins
  • Total time1 hr
  • Plusproving + colling

Please note, we take every care to ensure the product, allergen and recipe information displayed is correct. However, should a product be unavailable, alternatives may be displayed and/or a substitution provided. If you have an allergy or intolerance, please always check the product label before use.


  • 350g strong white plain flour, plus extra
  • 150g essential Waitrose Strong Wholemeal Bread Flour
  • 7g easy bake yeast sachet
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp clear honey
  • A little oil, for shaping
  • tbsp topping mix seasoning (optional – see tips, below))

For the poaching water

  • 1 tbsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tbsp clear honey


  1. Measure 250ml warm water. Place both flours into a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer and add the yeast and salt. Spoon in the 1 tbsp honey with ¾ of the water and mix with a spoon or the dough hook on the mixer. Add the rest of the water gradually, mixing until a soft dough forms. You might not need to add all the water, or you might need to add a little more, depending how much the flour absorbs.

  2. Knead the dough for 5-10 minutes until smooth and elastic, then put into a large, lightly oiled bowl, cover with a clean, damp tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for 1-3 hours. You want it to at least double in size.

  3. Lightly flour the work surface, then tip the dough out and briefly knead it to remove any large air pockets. Divide into 10 even pieces.

  4. Divide into 10 even pieces. 4 To shape each bagel, shape the dough into a tight ball by tucking the edges into the centre and rolling under a cupped hand. Oil the handle of a wooden spoon and use to pierce the dough ball in the centre. Make small circular motions with the spoon to widen the hole. When the hole is large enough, turn the ring on its side and place both index fingers inside. Stretch and spin the dough until the hole is the size of a ping-pong ball, then place onto The Best a lightly floured large baking tray. The dough will shrink back a little

  5. Repeat with the rest of the dough balls. Cover the tray with the clean damp tea towel and leave to rise for 1 hour – they should look slightly larger in size but won’t double.

  6. Preheat the oven to 220ºC, gas mark 7 and set a cooling rack over a baking tray. Half-fill a large saucepan with water (about 1.5L), bring to the boil, then stir in the bicarbonate of soda and 1 tbsp honey and allow to settle to a gentle simmer.

  7. Gently drop the bagels into the simmering water and boil, 2 or 3 at a time, for 60 seconds on each side. They may sink when you drop them in but should rise to the top as they cook. Remove with a slotted spoon and place onto the cooling rack to drain briefly

  8. Transfer the bagels to another parchmentlined tray and sprinkle with topping mix (see right), or leave plain. Bake for 12-15 minutes, rotating the tray halfway through, until golden brown. Allow to cool on the tray then slice and make into sandwiches, or toast if they are more than a day old.

Cook’s tip

This is my version of the topping mix inspired by the popular American seasoning. Intensely savoury, nutty and salty, it’s great sprinkled over bagel dough, on fried eggs, salads, roasted vegetables and even macaroni cheese.

Makes 2½ tbsp (enough for 10-12 bagels)
Prepare 5 minutes
1 tsp sea salt flakes
1 tsp poppy seeds
1 tsp sesame seeds
1 tsp black sesame seeds
1 tsp Cooks’ Ingredients Crispy Fried Onions, chopped
½ tsp dried garlic granules

1 Mix together all the ingredients in a small bowl, then tip into an airtight jar. Use to top the bagel recipe or save for up to 1 month for use in many different ways.


Typical values per bagel when made using specific products in recipe


785kJ/ 185kcals



Saturated Fat












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Overall rating (3/5)

3 out of 5 stars1 rating