Sunday, January 16, 2011

Onion Bagels

Did you know there are no onion bagels at any of our area markets? It's one of the local crimes against humanity, along with our cinema not showing any of the Golden Globe-nominated films, but instead making sure we do not miss any installment of, say, the Focker saga.

After determining that there were no onion bagels in the area, I turned to the internet and found a recipe that seemed doable. Having made similarly-textured soft pretzels before, I assumed I would boil the bagels before baking them and, indeed, found this to be the case. Why must we do this step, one might ask? As the flour on the outer part of the bagel absorbs the boiling water, it forms a protective overcoating which prevents much rising during the baking process. This causes that wonderful chewy, dense texture that we love in bagels.

This recipe makes a dozen bagels. I mixed them up and let them rise on Saturday, stored the dough covered and chilled overnight and then completed the project for Sunday morning bagels. Use them quickly because I found that they don't age nicely.

Nobody wants to break a tooth on an onion bagel with a "schmear."

Onion Bagels
2 c. warm water
2 pkgs. active dry yeast
4 T sugar, divided
1 T salt
1/2 c. minced onion
5-6 c. flour
cornmeal, for sprinkling on baking sheet
1 egg yolk
1 T water

1. Combine warm water, yeast and 3 T sugar. Let stand 5 minutes or until foamy. Stir in salt and onion.

2. Gradually mix in 4 c. of flour, beat on medium speed for 5 minutes. Add enough of remaining flour to make a stiff dough. Turn onto floured board and knead until smooth and no longer sticky (about 15 minutes), adding more flour as needed.

3. Place in greased bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover; let rise utnil doubled in size.

4. Knead dough lightly and divide into 12 equal parts. To shape, knead each piece, forming it into a smooth ball. Holding ball with both hands, poke your thumb through the center. Work around the perimeter, shaping like a doughnut 3 - 3 1/2 inches around.

5. Place shaped bagel on lightly floured board, cover lightly and let stand in a warm place for 20 minutes.

6. Bring 3 qts. of water and remaining tablespoon of sugar to boiling in a large kettle. Adjust heat to keep it gently boiling.

7. Lightly grease a baking sheet and sprinkle with cornmeal. Heat oven to 400 degrees.

8. Gently lift one bagel at a time and drop into water, boiling 4-5 at a time (depending on the size of the kettle). Boil for five minutes, turning often.

9. Lift out with a slotted spoon, drain breifly on a towel and then place on the cornmeal-y cookie sheet.

10. Lightly brush the tops of the bagels with a well-beaten egg.

11. Bake for 35 minutes or until nicely browned and crusty. (I did not let mine brown enough for my asthetics, though they were delicious. I was simply too hungry and the church bell looming too near.)


  1. Very impressive, I've never tackled this before. Our household adores bagels and if I bring a Panera bagel pack home, they are lucky to last the weekend. I like the pretty table setting!

  2. Yes! Where did that lovely place setting come from? I thought I knew all your dishes.

  3. what's on the top of the bagel in the pretty place setting photo?
    We luuuurv homemade bagels and my recipe looks pretty similar to yours. I usually freeze extras and they keep fine.

  4. I tried an egg wash with minced onion on the top of someo of them. I wasn't sure it would work but they "stuck" and browned nicely.


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