Paul Hollywood's Bagels

Make your own delicious, authentic bagels at home with this easy-to-follow recipe from the master of bread himself, Paul Hollywood.

From the book

The Weekend Baker by
The Weekend Baker
A celebration of classic family baking from around the world
Showstopping sweet treats
Delicious savoury breads


Jewish immigrants brought the bagel to the USA in the 1880s when they settled on Manhattan's Lower East Side and opened thriving bakeries. Today, classic New York delis all offer a huge variety of bagels made from many flours: plain, wholemeal and rye. These are flavoured with an assortment of ingredients including poppy, caraway and sesame seeds, garlic, onion and salt. Or sweet flavours like blueberry and chocolate. The bagel is then filled with any choice of filling you can imagine; for me, you can't beat the classic combination of soft cream cheese with smoked salmon. 

Makes 10


500g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
7g instant yeast
1 tbsp dark soft brown sugar
7g salt
320ml water
oil, for greasing
2 tbsp molasses
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
for the topping:
poppy, pumpkin, sesame, caraway or fennel seeds to sprinkle
optional: sea salt, to sprinkle


Place the flour in a mixing bowl, add the yeast to one side and the sugar and salt to the other side. Add three quarters of the water and turn the mixture around with your fingers. Continue tp add the remaining water, a little at a time, until all the flour is incorporated and you have a rough dough. You may not need all the water. 

Tip the dough on to a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 to 10 minutes until you have a soft, smooth dough. Place in a lightly greased bowl, cover and leave to prove for 1 to 3 hours or until doubled in size.

Line two baking trays with parchment paper. Remove the dough from the bowl and divide into 10 equal pieces, weighing about 80g each. Roll each piece into a ball. With your finger, poke a hole through the centre of each ball and slowly ease the hole wider. Place these on the prepared trays. Cover and leave to prove for a further 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 200c/Gas 6. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Add the molasses (this will add a sweetness to the bagels) and the bicarbonate of soda (this helps to form the shine and chewy texture of the crust) to the water. 

Plunge the bagels, two at a time or more depending on the size of your pan, into boiling water. Cook for 30 seconds, then turn over and cook the other side. The bagels should puff and the circular shape should set. Use a slotted spoon to remove and place back on the trays

Sprinkle the top of the bagels with your chosen topping. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the bagels are golden brown and cooked through. Cool on a wire rack. 

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