Montreal Bagels


Montreal is one of my favourite places to go. There’s Simons, Garde Manger, Old Montreal, the mountain, nearby skiing…and bagels of course.



I’m new to the Montreal bagel. New as in, I discovered them when I was 13, not 3. I didn’t grow up where anyone paid much mind to bagels, French or otherwise. I didn’t’ understand why people went so crazy over seemingly over-seeded doughy cylanders. Eating them plain? While they’re still hot? But you’ll burn your mouth. Is what I USED to think. I also, never relished the idea of bagels and cream cheese. HA!


As with almost anything, when you make something yourself, it’s better. These, I will say aren’t better. (They come trés close.) You’ll have to understand, Montreal is a long ways away; and this is as close as I can get, living in Kosher-deficient Peterborough.
The process of making bagels dose involve a few steps, but if you do it with someone, or plan on sharing your wealth with others, (it’s not recommended to eat 3-4 bagels in one sitting, alone) it doesn’t really seem that bad. Especially if you have a lox + schmear spread awaiting you. I’d recommend making double the recipe, or at least prepare to make more very, very soon.


Montreal Bagels

Adapted from
Makes 10-14

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
    1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon (65g) brown sugar
    3 tablespoons canola oil
    2 teaspoons yeast
    1 large eggs, )
    1 tablespoon maple syrup
    4-4 1/2 (630g) cups all purpose, unbleached flour
    1 teaspoon salt
    3/4 cup poppy seeds or sesame seeds
    16 cups of water
    1/3 cup honey
    For chocolate bagels, add 1/2 cup of chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips
  1. In a large bowl whisk together the warm water, sugar, canola oil, yeast, egg and syrup. Combine until the yeast dissolves. Let sit until yeast starts to bubble; abut 10 minutes.
  2. Stir in salt and one cup of the flour.
  3. Add enough flour to make a shaggy, soft dough, about 3 cups.
  4. Knead your dough for about 12 minutes, adding flour as needed as you go. I used a bread scraper in the bowl, but you can use your hands or a mixer. If you are making chocolate bagels (or raisin etc), knead in the chocolate chunks in the last minute of your kneading.
  5. Once your dough is firm and smooth, cover bowl with a towel and let rise until doubled in volume; 2-3 hours in a warm, draft-free place.Divide the dough into 12 equal parts (for large bagels). Roll each piece into a 8-10 inch rope, then curve each one pressing together
  6. the ends to make a bagel shape. Make sure that the ends are firmly stuck together or they will come apart when you boil them. Note that your bagels will look pretty deformed at this point (the holes will be very big etc), but just remember that the dough really puffs up after they are boiled.
  7. Let the shaped dough rise for 30 minutes
  8. About five minutes before your dough is finished rising, fill a large pot with water (16 cups of water) and stir in the honey. Bring that to a boil.
  9. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  10. Boil your bagels by placing them in the pot (3-4 at a time, you don’t want them to be on top of one another), and boil for 45 seconds on each side (90 seconds total). Remove and let the water drain off onto a clean towel or paper towel.
  11. Pour your seeds into a small bowl
  12. Dip your bagel in the seeds, being sure to coat completely and evenly. Note, the bagels tend to get very dark in areas where they are not covered with seeds. If you are making chocolate chip or raisin bagels, I suggest that you still cover them with seeds. If you are not covering them with seeds, keep an eye on them in the oven to make sure that they don’t burn.
  13. Bake at 425 for 8-10 minutes (they should be starting to get golden brown on the side touching the baking tray), then flip and bake another 6-8 minutes (until completely light, golden brown). This is really going to depend on your oven temperature.
  14. Cool the bagels on a cooling rack. Once completely cool, store in a freezer bag for a few days. Freeze if there are any left after 2-3 days.

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