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Onion Bagels

· by Karl Auerbach · Read in about 3 min · (635 Words)

A true bagel can be hard to find — they are not to be found in most supermarkets. Many restaurant “bagels” are simply round bread — boring. And real bagels are boiled — that is not something that is up for debate.

This recipe can be easily be modified to make plain (water), sesame, garlic, or other flavored bagels: just change-out the onion. Note, however, that after being boiled the bagels are not sticky and onions, seeds, or what-have-you will tend to slide off.

Derived from: karen’s kitchen stories - Onion Bagels



  • 1 tsp (7 grams) diastatic malt powder, or 1 tbsp barley malt syrup
  • 1 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp (10.5 grams) salt
  • 1 cup plus 2 tbsp (255 grams) 95°F water
  • 3 1/2 cups (454 grams) unbleached bread flour
  • 1/2 onion, chopped. Or about 1/2 cup slightly re-hydrydated dried onions.
  • 2 tbsp corn meal
  • 2 tsp unsalted butter

Water to boil the bagels

  • 2 to 3 quarts water
  • 1 1/2 tbsp barley malt syrup
  • 1/2 tbsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  1. Stir the malt, yeast, and salt into the water. Make sure all the components are dissolved and not stuck to the bowl.

  2. Measure the flour into the bowl of a stand mixer, then pour the water mixture over it.

  3. Mix on low with the dough hook for three minutes. The dough should be stiff, but not super dry. Adjust the water if necessary. Cover and let sit for five minutes.

  4. Mix again on low for another 3 minutes.

  5. Form the dough into a ball and place it in a lightly buttered bowl. Turn the dough to coat with the butter. Cover and let rise for one hour in a warm, but not hot, place.

  6. Turn the dough out onto the counter and cut it into eight equal pieces. (A a pizza cutter can be a useful tool for this.)

  7. Place a silicone baking pad onto a baking sheet, sprinkle with a bit of corn meal.

  8. For each of the eight pieces of dough:

    1. Roll each piece into an 8 to 10 inch strand.
    2. Wrap it around two fingers of your hand, overlap the ends, and kneed the ends together. Sometimes a few drops of water helps glue the ends together. If the dough resists rolling, let it rest, covered, to relax the gluten. Alternatively, you can poke a hole in the middle of the ball of dough and gently pull the dough out into a circle with your thumbs. You’re aiming for a 1 to 1½ inch hole.
  9. Place each shaped bagel on the baking sheet. At this point the bagles can be very sticky, the corn meal should help avoid sticking. Let rise for at least five minutes. (At this point you can cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, or up to 2 days. If so, allow 60 to 90 minutes to warm on baking day.)

  10. Begin to preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.

  11. To prepare the poaching liquid, bring 2 to 3 quarts of water to a boil. Lower to a simmer. Add the malt, baking soda, and salt (the water will froth when you do this, so be careful.)

  12. Simmer each bagel, two to three at a time, for sixty to ninety seconds per side. Use a slotted spoon. After boiling, place the bagels back onto the baking sheet.

  13. Sprinkle the chopped onions onto the bagels.

  14. Place the baking sheet into the oven and immediately reduce the oven to 450 degrees F.

  15. Bake for 9 minutes. (Use regular baking setting, not convection.) Then rotate the baking sheet, and bake for another 9 minutes. You may need to adjust the time depending on your oven; you are looking for a golden brown color.

  16. Cool the bagels on a wire rack for about 30 minutes.