Oh, bagels. You get such a bad rap. Something that started so beautifully, then got “Americanized” (read: supersized) into a 600 calorie, all white flour, bonanza. Well, I’m here to tell you you can have your whole wheat bagels, and eat them too. And they’re similar, calorie-wise, to store-bought whole wheat bread. And you can size them to your preference. I made 12 bagels, but you could also make 15 or so. Plus, they’re homemade! Everyone wins!

New York bagel, schmagel. I’m Kansas-made. And delicious!

First, let’s tackle the issue of flour. I don’t think I’ve talked flour before. When I first started making bread, I did a lot of research. A lot. And everything I read said King Arthur Premium 100% Whole Wheat Flour is where dreams form a line to get a chance at becoming reality. And with some limited research (I’m too cheap to waste too much money), I’ve found this to be true. For all-purpose or bread flour, I’m not picky. I get it wherever it’s cheap, and I usually end up with all-purpose. The goal of “the bread project” was to move away from white/processed flour, anyway.

The second complaint I had was my breads were turning out too dense. Part of me thought I needed to be transitioning slower from how many parts white to how many parts wheat I was doing. Then I came across vital wheat gluten. My life has been forever changed! I use about 1 Tbs of VWG per cup of whole wheat flour. Most people still suggest doing part white flour, but I’m slowly, but surely making the transition and hope to be 100% whole wheat in my recipes by the end of the year. This recipe is just a little over 75%. And let me tell you, it’s really not much different than the half and half recipes I’ve been on for the past year. So, trust me. Buy some vital wheat gluten (in the flour section at almost any store), and take the plunge. Huh, I should do the same with 100% whole wheat, huh? OK, fine.

So, here’s the bagel recipe. This is the first time I’ve ever made bagels. I got a craving for a bagel, egg and cheese sandwich, so that’s why I stumbled upon bagels at all. So I don’t have a lot to go off of here. Like usual, I started with a recipe at allrecipes.com, and improvised based on my needs (more whole wheat) and the comments by those who have made the recipe. Here’s my final result:


  • 3 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3 Tbs vital wheat gluten
  • 1 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon molasses


  1. In bread machine, combine flour and yeast. Mix water, 3 tablespoons sugar and salt together, and add to the dry ingredients. Stir together by hand until the dough starts to form. Run through the dough cycle.
  2. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and cut into 12 portions, shape into smooth balls. Poke a hole in the center with your finger, and gently enlarge the hole while working the bagel into a uniform shape. Put on a lightly floured or cornmeal-covered surface. Cover, let rise 30-45 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, start a gallon of water boiling. Add molasses, mix it around a bit. Reduce to simmering.
  4. Put 3 or 5 bagels into the water, and cook 7 minutes, turning once. Drain them. Place on a greased baking sheet, and bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from oven, eat hot or cold.
  5. Broiling option: For a glossier surface, place raised bagels on an ungreased baking sheet prior to boiling them. Broil them five inches from heat for 1 to 1-1/2 minutes on each side. Then put them into the hot water to be boiled as above. Note: do not bake broiled bagels as long as non-broiled ones, 25 minutes should be long enough.

I changed this recipe to make it bread maker friendly. If you don’t have a bread maker, refer to the original recipe. Or make as you normally would dough. I didn’t broil my bagels. I may or may not try that next time. I was happy with my results, so I can’t decide if that would make the recipe more complicated or not.

Here are my just-formed, just about ready to rise, bagels. I sprinkled cornmeal on my pizza peels so they wouldn’t stick as they rise (and then fall as I pull them off). I’m not sure if this is necessary, but I’d do it again.

I’m a big believer in letting things rise. The original recipe said to only let them rise covered for 20 minutes. I went closer to an hour, but I had lots of time.

For some reason the boiling was the most complicated part for me. I have no idea why. Who can’t boil water? This girl.

Here they are, boiling away. I think this is after the flip.

To the left you can see my “drain station.” I should have taken a picture. I put a cooling rack on top of a cookie sheet (so the cookie sheet could catch the water) to let the water drain off. After a few minutes, I transferred them to the pan. Make note of the little guy at the back left. He fell. This is what I expected would happen with all of them, and I was REALLY careful with the transition from the pizza peel into the water. But I guess not careful enough.

Someone tell me what smells better than fresh-baked bread. I think I’m meant to be a homemaker. I’d cook all day long! And the fallen soldier (the one that was on the upper left in the other picture) isn’t pictured here. This is the other pan. I know, picture discontinuity. Bad writing. But I did end up tossing the one that fell. For the record.

After eating whole wheat for awhile, it’s hard for me to eat white bread. When I looked at the pictures of the bagels from the original site, I wasn’t that excited. But this picture is about the most scrumptious thing I’ve ever seen.

Toasted bagel. What you do with it is up to you. Bon appetit!

Let me be the first to brag that when you toast these things, they come out all crunchy on the outside, and soft on the inside. I’m not sure what the molasses (or sugar as the original recipe suggested) does during the boiling process, or what the boiling process does, but I assume that’s the trick. Anyway, if you like bagels, try making these! There were lots of comments on the original about making everything bagels or other favorites. I personally am a fan of the plain bagel. OK, or Panera’s cinnamon and sugar one, but let’s be real. I don’t need that. Plus, I can eat about one of those. These I can freeze and eat for the next few weeks for breakfast sandwiches, toast, roast beef sandwiches, mini pizzas, etc. Next time I’m making 24!

Oh, and for the record, I wrapped each one in plastic wrap, then put them in a freezer bag to freeze them. I take them out of the freezer first thing in the morning and if they’re not thawed by the time I’m ready to pop them in the toaster I zap them for just a few seconds to thaw them. Just as good reheated as they were fresh.

Nutrition (per bagel, if you make 12):
Calories: 174.8
Fat: .6
Carbs: 4.7
Protein: 6.7

  1. Kim says:

    Oh my! That’s all I have to say! I need to make these! Oh and it is the boiling that does something wonderful for bagels, but I don’t remember why.

    • Kelly says:

      I know artisan bread is crunchy on the outside because of something with water… Maybe this is similar? I was surprised about the sweet water though!

  2. Karla says:

    When you make homemade soft pretzles you boil the dough in soda and water (or something like that) before baking!!! So, yes, I think the boiling does something awesome!

  3. Karla says:

    Bagels are one of my favorite all time foods. YUM! I haven’t ever made them because well… I need to not eat them. Yours look so good! Invite me over when you make them next.. I’ll bring my 96 ounce jar of Jiffy! ;)

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