Montreal-style Bagels

Montreal-style Bagels fresh from the ovenMontreal bagels are one of my favourite treats, one that I miss since leaving Canada.  And as it’s been over a year since I had a real Montreal bagel, I decided it was time to try making my own version.  Although I don’t have a wood-fired oven in my kitchen, I think these turned out pretty well.  They have a chewy exterior and a soft and slightly dense interior, with that subtle sweetness that Montreal bagels are famous for.

I made these with 50% white whole wheat flour, and 50% regular white flour…just to make them a wee bit healthier.  This recipe makes 8 bagels.

Ingredients:

1 cup warm water (105° or less)
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 cup barley malt syrup
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour (or regular whole wheat or spelt)
1 1/4 cups white all purpose wheat flour (or white spelt flour)
water for boiling (about 3 litres)
1/3 cup barley malt syrup to add to boiling water
sesame seeds or poppy seeds to dip bagels in

Pour warm water into large bowl, and stir in yeast, oil, and barley malt syrup. Mix well, then add the flour and salt. Stir until combined, then turn out onto a flour-dusted countertop and knead until smooth (or you can just knead it right in the bowl if your bowl is big enough). The dough should be elastic and slightly sticky, yet hold together in a ball; if not, add flour or sprinkle water and knead until this consistency is reached.

Shape dough into a ball, and place in a lightly oiled bowl, turning to coat the dough in oil. Cover with a damp dish towel, and let sit in a warmish place for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, you can prepare your water for boiling the bagels. Pour water into a large, wide pot along with the barley malt syrup, and bring to a boil.

You can start shaping your bagels while the water is coming to the boil. Once the water has boiled, turn it down to a simmer until you’re ready to cook the bagels. Preheat oven to 450°F and line your baking sheet with parchment paper.

To shape the dough into bagels, dump the doughball out onto the countertop and divide it into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece until it’s about 8 inches long, then wrap it around your hand and pinch together the seam, and then roll it between your hands or the counter to make sure there’s a good seal. Try to keep the hole in the middle quite small. The last time I made them, somehow I rolled them a bit bigger, meaning the hole in the middle was bigger, and the bagel ring was skinnier, but this didn’t make for a good experience during the boiling process; it made them a lot more fragile, and some of them broke in half when I tried to take them out of the pot.

Shaped Bagels Resting on Pan

Let the shaped bagels rise for about 20 minutes, and bring the water back up to a boil.  Place the bagels into the boiling water with a slotted spoon (I like the flat, round spoons for this). Montreal-style Bagels-3

Let them cook on one side for about one minute, then flip them over with the slotted spoon and cook for the same on the other side. Take them out with the spoon, and toss them into a bowl containing your seed topping, then place them on your baking sheet.

Bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Let them cool slightly on the baking sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. If you don’t plan to eat them all within a day or two, it’s best to freeze them to maintain freshness. I slice mine before freezing so they’re toaster-ready.

Baked Bagel

Printable version:

Montreal-style Bagels

Total Time 2 hours
Servings 8 bagels

Ingredients

  • 1 cup warm water 105° or less
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup barley malt syrup
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour or regular whole wheat or spelt
  • 1 1/4 cups white all purpose wheat flour
  • water for boiling about 3 litres
  • 1/3 cup barley malt syrup to add to boiling water
  • sesame seeds or poppy seeds to dip bagels in

Instructions

  1. Pour warm water into large bowl, and stir in yeast, oil, and barley malt syrup. Mix well, then add the flour and salt. Stir until combined, then turn out onto a flour-dusted countertop and knead until smooth (or you can just knead it right in the bowl if your bowl is big enough). The dough should be elastic and slightly sticky, yet hold together in a ball; if not, add flour or sprinkle water and knead until this consistency is reached.
  2. Shape dough into a ball, and place in a lightly oiled bowl, turning to coat the dough in oil. Cover with a damp dish towel, and let sit in a warmish place for about 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, you can prepare your water for boiling the bagels. Pour water into a large, wide pot along with the barley malt syrup, and bring to a boil.
  4. You can start shaping your bagels while the water is coming to the boil. Once the water has boiled, turn it down to a simmer until you're ready to cook the bagels. Preheat oven to 450°F and line your baking sheet with parchment paper.
  5. To shape the dough into bagels, dump the doughball out onto the countertop and divide it into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece until it's about 8 inches long, then wrap it around your hand and pinch together the seam, and then roll it between your hands or the counter to make sure there's a good seal. Try to keep the hole in the middle quite small. The last time I made them, somehow I rolled them a bit bigger, meaning the hole in the middle was bigger, and the bagel ring was skinnier, but this didn't make for a good experience during the boiling process; it made them a lot more fragile, and some of them broke in half when I tried to take them out of the pot.
  6. Let the shaped bagels rise for about 20 minutes, and bring your water back up to a boil. Place the bagels into the boiling water with a slotted spoon.
  7. Let them cook on one side for about one minute, then flip them over with the slotted spoon and cook for the same on the other side. Take them out with the spoon, and toss them into a bowl containing your seed topping, then place them on your baking sheet.
  8. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Let them cool slightly on the baking sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. If you don't plan to eat them all within a day or two, it's best to freeze them to maintain freshness. I slice mine before freezing so they're toaster-ready.

 

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3 Responses to Montreal-style Bagels

    • I don’t know about the BBQ…might be good! Do you have a thermometer you could check the interior temp of the BBQ with? I think as long as it wasn’t too hot, it could work well, otherwise they might burn on the outside before the inside was cooked…?

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