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Dec 8, 2015

Onion Bagels

Onion Bagels

How would you like to have freshly baked bagels on a Saturday or Sunday morning without heading out to the bagel shop? Well, you can.

Yes, you'll have to get up about two hours earlier than everyone else, but you will have amazingly fresh bagels, making it totally worth it.

Onion Bagels

The bagel dough is mixed, proofed, and then shaped the day before. The bagels then spend the night in the refrigerator, to be baked the next day, or up to two days later.

When you are ready to bake the bagels, get up, take the shaped bagels out of the fridge, make your coffee, and get ready for the day. At this point, you can boil and bake the bagels while the rest of your family is getting up.

Once you've boiled the bagels, reward yourself with a Bloody Mary. After all, it's the weekend and you are making your family fresh bagels!

These bagels are topped with rehydrated dried onions, which gives them an amazing flavor.

Onion Bagels

For a laugh, check out the first bagels I ever made. So wrinkly.

The next time I made bagels, I still got some wrinkles, but the flavor was definitely there.

Three years later, and lots of bread baking under my belt, I posted these New York Water Bagels, along with a history of bagels in America and a geeky discussion of diastatic versus non diastatic malt. These bagels were the real deal.

Bread geek talk alert: The bagels featured in this post are very similar to the New York Water bagels, but they contain less diastatic malt powder, and the water bath contains baking soda and salt, along with the malt. They seem to have browned more evenly, if a bit less on top. They're not quite as dense, and the crust is thin and crisp. I've got to say, in my mind, the flavor is perfect. I loved these.

What I'm trying to tell you is... make some bagels! And then make them again! And again! You'll get better at it, and the process will make you very happy.

After the recipe, check out all of the wonderful make-ahead breakfast breads from the fabulous #BreadBakers.

Onion Bagels

Adapted from Peter Reinhart's Artisan Breads Every Day, a great book for make-ahead bread. One of my all time favorites. 

Makes 6 bagels



1 tsp (7 grams) diastatic malt powder, or 1 tbsp barley malt syrup
1 tsp instant yeast
1 1/2 tsp (10.5 grams) salt
1 cup plus 2 tbsp (255 grams) 95 degree F water
3 1/2 cups (454 grams) unbleached bread flour
1/2 cup dried onions

To boil the bagels:

2 to 3 quarts water
1 1/2 tbsp barley malt syrup
1 tbsp baking soda
1 tsp salt


  1. Stir the malt, yeast, and salt into the water. 
  2. Measure the flour into the bowl of a stand mixer, and pour the water mixture over it. 
  3. Mix on low with the dough hook for three minutes. The dough should be stiff, but not super dry. Adjust the water if necessary. Cover and let sit for five minutes. 
  4. Mix again on low for another 3 minutes. 
  5. Form the dough into a ball and place it in a lightly oiled bowl or bucket. Turn the dough to coat with the oil. Cover and let rise for one hour. 
  6. Turn the dough out onto the counter and cut it into 6 equal pieces (about 4 ounces each). 
  7. Form each piece into a ball. 
  8. Line a baking sheet with parchment and spray it with spray oil or brush it with oil. 
  9. One at a time, roll each ball into an 8 to 10 inch strand. Wrap it around your hand, overlap the ends under your palm, and roll the ends together on the work surface. Sometimes a few drops of water helps glue the ends together. If the dough resists rolling, let it rest, covered, to relax the gluten. Alternatively, you can poke a hole in the middle of the ball of dough and gently pull the dough out into a circle with your thumbs. You're aiming for a 2 inch hole. 
  10. Place each shaped bagel on the parchment. When done, spray the bagels with spray oil. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, or up to 2 days. 
  11. On baking day, remove the pan from the refrigerator 60 to 90 minutes prior to baking. 
  12. Place the dried onions in a small bowl, and add water until just covered. 
  13. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. 
  14. At one hour, check to see if the bagels are ready by doing the "float test." Fill a small bowl with water and place one of the bagels in the water. If it floats, they are ready. If it doesn't, wait another 20 to 30 minutes.
  15. To prepare the poaching liquid, bring 2 to 3 quarts of water to a boil. Lower to a simmer. Add the malt, baking soda, and salt. 
  16. Simmer each bagel, two to three at a time, one minute a side. Place them back onto the oiled parchment lined baking sheet and sprinkle with the onions. 
  17. Place the baking sheet into the oven and reduce the oven to 450 degrees F. Bake for 8 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet, and bake for another 12 minutes. 
  18. Cool the bagels on a wire rack for about 30 minutes.
The #BreadBakers theme this month is Overnight Breakfast Breads. This includes yeasted breads that you prepare the night before then bake in the morning as well as quick breads that you prepare ahead of time then mix and bake in the morning. December is a busy time for celebrations and getting together with family and friends. It is always nice to think ahead and to make dishes ahead of time so that you-- the baker-- can enjoy the fruits (or breads!) of your labor with your loved ones. Here is what the group is sharing today, enjoy!
BreadBakers #BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to

Would you like to comment?

  1. I think I would love to reward myself with one of your bagels! Bloody Mary doesn't sound bad either!

  2. Wow Karen your bagels look so tempting. Your family is sooo lucky :) Yes I agree with Cindy Bagels and Bloody Mary...aaaah!

  3. Bagels and Bloody Mary - perfect start to a weekend day!

  4. Bagels with the crunchy onion on top was new to me.....Bookmarked .....

  5. I´ve never done the bagels ahead of time, thanks for sharing :)

    1. Thanks Carola. It really develops flavor, and makes it much easier.

  6. Oh, I like the idea of a Bloody Mary with some onion bagels for breakfast! Those are some mighty fine specimens, Karen. And I did get a little giggle from your first bagels but they are still way better (and less wrinkly) than the first ones I ever made.

    1. Ha ha. Thank you. Those wrinkly ones were really good, but the method was just different enough.

  7. Oh I wish someone would make such bagels for me..they look perfect!

  8. Wow!Wow!Wow again! Beautiful bagels with a great topping! I guess I should keep making bagels. Like you said I am bound to get better at them...I made some a couple of months ago and wasn't so happy with them but you inspired me Karen! Thank you!

    1. I'm smiling from ear to ear. Thank you Shireen!

  9. Yes! I'd love bagels on a weekend morning-- perfect way to start the day and onion bagel is one of my favorite flavors. I appreciate your progression of bagels that you shared-- it gives me the motivation to try making bagels at home again.

    1. It was fun for me to take a look, although I had to cringe a the photography! Thanks Holly. Great theme!

  10. I don't know Karen....I think it would take me a whole lot of practice to get bagels that look this perfect.

  11. They look amazing, but do I really have to share :-)

  12. These bagels look bakery perfect, and I love that you've worked out all of the kinks to find the perfect recipe. Plus, these would definitely go with a bloody mary! Cheers!

  13. Onion bagels look amazing. Making them ahead of them sounds just perfect for a busy breakfast.

  14. I made these and they were just like my favorite bagel bakery growing up, Brugers Bagels is Troy, NY. I love their onion, made like yours, and would get ham on it, cream cheese or a smoked salmon sandwich with it. Thank you so much for the recipe! I tried a few other recipes and these were simply the best.


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