I have heard people say they are intimidated by the thought of making bagels at home. To that I say … bagels are just buns that take a 2 minute bath before baking. Really. If you bake bread or buns, you’ve got this!
These bagels get a seasonal nod with the flavours of pumpkin pie. Pumpkin puree and pie spices are added to the dough, along with a handful or two of raisins (completely optional, though). I flavoured my bagels with the spices of my mother’s pumpkin pie – equal parts of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. If you’re a fan of cloves (I’m not really), feel free to throw a 1/2 tsp. of that in, too.
At the last minute, I decided to throw a little sprinkling of brown sugar on top of my bagels before baking them off. In hindsight, sugar and a 500° F. oven probably wasn’t the best idea. Let’s just say, my smoke detector got a good work-out. If I were to do it again, I’d use a lower oven temperature and extend the baking time for a sugar topping.
This is a perfect rainy, Fall weekend baking project. The process takes a good part of the day, but most of it is passive, rising or chilling times. It leaves enough time between steps to do some other things, so you don’t feel like a slave to the process. At the end of it, you are rewarded with a baker’s dozen of beautiful homemade bagels, along with a great sense of baking accomplishment.
I like to either start them in the morning and then cook them off at the end of the afternoon (or early evening), or start them at night and cook them off in the morning. The chill time provides lots of flexibility to work around other things you have to do.
These bagels freeze beautifully, so freeze what you can’t eat in a couple of days and enjoy them later.
Pumpkin Pie Bagels
These are perfect for Fall baking. They freeze beautifully. If using the brown sugar topping, lower the oven temperature by 25 degrees and extend the baking time accordingly (otherwise, your smoke detector might get a work out!)
- 3 1/2 cups bread flour
- 2 1/2 cups water, room temperature
- 1 tsp. instant or dry active yeast
- 1 tsp. instant or active dry yeast
- 2/3-1 cup pumpkin puree
- 2 tsp. salt
- 3 Tbsp. brown sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
- 1 1/2 tsp. ginger
- 3-4 cups bread flour
- Optional: couple of handfuls of raisins
- 1 Tbsp. baking soda, for boiling
- 1 egg, for egg wash
- Brown sugar, for sprinkling
- Make the sponge: Combine yeast with water and let stand a few minutes. In a large bowl, combine the flour with the yeast/water mixture until all the flour is moistened. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let stand for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
- Make the dough: In a small bowl, combine the second teaspoon of yeast with a bit of water and let stand a few minutes. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the pumpkin puree with the salt, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Add the yeast/water mixture and stir in. Add the sponge mixture and combine. Start adding more flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough comes together in a ball around the dough hook (*If you feel your mixer starting to strain at all, stop and remove dough to counter to finish kneading there). Knead until dough is smooth and elastic, adding flour as necessary so the dough is moist, but not sticky.
- Immediately form dough into 12-13 balls (see note below) – about 4 1/2 oz. each. Cover with a towel and let stand 20 minutes. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat. Shape dough balls into bagels by pinching through the center of each ball with your thumb and fore finger to make a hole and then gently expanding the hole, while rotating the bagel like you’re turning a steering wheel. Place shaped bagels on to prepared pan. Once all are shaped, spray some plastic wrap with oil and cover bagels tightly (oiled side down). Let stand at room temperature for an additional 30 minutes, then refrigerate anywhere from 4 hours to 12 hours (overnight-ish). Be sure pan is covered tightly with plastic wrap, so the bagels don’t dry out.
- When ready to bake pre-heat oven to 500 ° F., with rack in lower 1/3 of oven, and bring a large Dutch oven or similar-sized pot of water to a boil. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. Once water is boiling, add 1 Tbsp. baking soda. Remove a few bagels from the fridge and pop into the boiling water, top side down. Boil for one minute, flip over, then boil for one minute more. Remove with a slotted spoon to prepared baking sheet. Repeat until you have 6 bagels boiled. Brush with egg wash and optionally, sprinkle with a bit of brown sugar. (*If using brown sugar topping, reduce oven temperature by 25 degrees for each step and extend baking time a few minutes.
- Bake for 6 minutes, then rotate pan front-to-bake, lower temperature to 450° F. and bake for an additional 8-10 minutes, until golden brown. Remove to a cooling rack. Repeat process with additional bagels.
Prep time: 15 min | Cook time: 15 min | Total time: 6 hours
Number of servings (yield): 12
*How to shape dough into balls: Section off a piece of dough and lay it flat on the counter. Start pinching the opposite edges together in the centre, rotating and repeating until you’ve pinched all the edges into the centre and made a tight ball. Flip over so the pinched part is down. You should have a smooth and tight top side.