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Dec 2, 2020

Marbled Rye Bagels

These marbled rye bagels, with their wonderful hearty flavor, are the perfect vehicle for deli meats, smoked salmon, and delicious cheeses. 

Marbled Rye Bagels

I love bagels. I've posted lots of bagels here, including New York Water Bagels, Egg Bagels, Asiago Cheese Bagels, and Onion Bagels. Bagels are a wonderful bread with lots of tradition. They are typically made from a lean, stiff dough. 

According to Sift Magazine, Fall, 2018, bagels originated as a street food from Krakow, Poland. They became ubiquitous in the U.S. in the 1950's, after Murray Lender began introducing New York bagels to the freezer section of grocery stores across the country (the magazine has 5 bagel recipes, and i want to try them all). 

Then there are Montreal bagels, which are smaller, sweeter, and baked in a wood-fired oven (which I understand are at risk of getting banned in the city of Montreal). I still need to try replicating them. 

Then, there are Turkish simit and Jerusalem bagels, which are coated in sesame seeds with the help of pomegranate molasses. 

Marbled Rye Bagels with smoked salmon

I somehow ended up with a large amount of rye flour in my quest to master the art of baking with rye. I've made lots of rye breads and even rye cookies! This is my first attempt at rye bagels and I'm super happy with them! 

After baking and cooling these bagels, I split them and froze them to keep them fresh. I've been enjoying them toasted for breakfast just about every morning for the past week. They're great with avocado and tomatoes, or the traditional cream cheese, smoked salmon, onions, and capers. 

Marbled Rye Bagels breakfast

The first time I made marbled rye, I was surprised to find out that, instead of using two kinds of rye, you actually use one type, and then work in some ingredients to color half of the dough. 

There are a lot of options for coloring the dough. I've actually used Gravy Master (which is basically caramel color with some flavorings) along with a few drops of brown food coloring successfully. You can also use liquid caramel coloring (purchased from a restaurant supply store), cocoa powder, carob powder, or instant coffee dissolved in water. 

For these bagels, I used a homemade liquid caramel color plus some black cocoa powder. 

Marbled Rye Bagels ingredients

I enjoyed making the liquid caramel color, but I'm pretty sure that I'd just go with the Gravy Master in the future, once I run out of it, or even skip it altogether because the black cocoa is so super dark... or, I'll use the Gravy Master along with a few drops of brown food coloring. I have yet to try using instant coffee or carob powder.

If you're so inclined to make your own liquid caramel color, here is how you make it. It's a great ingredient for coloring gravies and sauces too:

First, place a cup of sugar into a sauce pan and heat it over medium heat. Swirl the pan from time to time but do not stir. The sugar will melt and darken. Once the sugar is a medium-dark color, remove the pan from the heat. Slowly and carefully add a 3/4 cup of water. 

Let the pan rest for 15 minutes, and then stir the ingredients. If the mixture is gloppy, reheat to melt and continue to whisk. Pour the ingredients into a jar and store at room temperature. 


Marbled Rye Bagels proofing

If you don't care about the marbled look, you can completely skip the coloring and they will still taste the same. Still, I love the look of these bagels! 

The hardest part is the fact that you can smell chocolate as you mix in the cocoa. I promise, once they are baked, they won't smell or taste like chocolate. 

Because these bagels are formed from strips of dough, play close attention to the instructions for joining the ends of the dough so that they don't separate during the boiling process. 

Ingredients in Marbled Rye Bagels:

These bagels consist of about 2/3 bread flour and 1/3 whole rye flour, plus some instant yeast. They are flavored with barley malt syrup (you can substitute brown sugar), salt, and dill pickle juice. Caraway seeds are optional, but add that deli rye flavor. 

For the boiling liquid, add either some non-diastatic malt powder or brown sugar plus granulated sugar. 

Don't be intimidated by the boiling process. I used to get a little freaked out and feel pressure, but it's actually pretty easy peasy. If you're worried that your bagels aren't ready to boil, just add one to the water and see if it floats. If it does, then your bagels are ready. 

Foodie Extravaganza logo

Thanks to Sue of Palatable Pastime for hosting national "Have a Bagel Day" event. 

Foodie Extravaganza is where we celebrate obscure food holidays by cooking and baking together with the same ingredient or theme each month. Posting day is always the first Wednesday of each month. 

Marbled Rye Bagels

Marble Rye Bagels

Marble Rye Bagels
Yield: 8 bagels
Author: Karen Kerr
These marbled rye bagels, with their wonderful hearty flavor, are the perfect vehicle for deli meats, smoked salmon, and delicious cheeses.


Bagel Dough
  • 1 cup water
  • 11 3/4 ounces (2 3/4 cups) unbleached blead flour
  • 2 3/4 ounces (1 cup) whole rye flour
  • 1 tablespoon barley malt syrup
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon dill pickle juice
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 tablespoon caraway seeds (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons burnt sugar syrup or Gravy Master
  • 2 teaspoons sifted black cocoa powder
For the Boiling Liquid
  • 3 quarts water
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar


For the Dough
  1. Combine everything together in the bowl of a stand mixer, with the exception of the sugar syrup and cocoa powder. 
  2. Knead the dough in the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook on medium-low for 10 minutes. 
  3. Divide the dough in half and place one half into an oiled bowl and cover. Add the burnt sugar and cocoa powder to the rest of the dough and mix with the dough hook until everything is incorporated and evenly colored.
  4. Place the colored dough into another oiled bowl and cover. 
  5. Let the doughs rise until doubled, about 60 to 90 minutes. 
  6. Pat the uncolored dough out into an 8" by 12" rectangle. Pat the colored dough into the same size and place it on top of the uncolored dough. 
  7. Divide the dough into eight pieces by cutting it into quarters lenghtwise to make 2 inch wide strips. Next, cut the strips in half widthwise, and then stretch and roll the strips into 8 inch logs. 
  8. Stretch and twist the logs 3 times and then overlap the ends. Dampen the ends and then roll them under your hand against your work surface to seal them together. 
  9. Line a baking sheet with parchment and place all of the shaped bagels on the parchment. Cover with oiled plastic wrap. Let rise for about 20 minutes. 
  10. Heat the oven to 450 degrees F. 
  11. Bring the water bath to a boil and add the sugars. Reduce the heat to a simmer. 
  12. Add three bagels to the pot and let boil for 1 minute. Flip the bagels over and boil for 2 minutes more. Transfer them back to the pan. Continue to boil the rest of the bagels.
  13. Bake the bagels for about 22 minutes, until golden. 
  14. Let cool on a wire rack. 



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bagels, rye, marbled rye
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Created using The Recipes Generator
This recipe was adapted from Sift Magazine, Fall 2018, by King Arthur Baking Company

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Would you like to comment?

  1. Wow....what absolutely gorgeous bagels. You never cease to impress me Karen.

  2. The rye bagels are always our favorites. I am glad you made these- they look beautiful.

  3. Oh my goodness these are absolutely STUNNING and look delicious!

  4. They look so perfect Karen! I just want to grab one from the picture.

  5. MASTERPIECE!!!!!!!!!!!! love them! so much nicer than the version they had in the Great British this year.... yours are classy and elegant!

    what a great post!

    1. Ooooh. I can live with classy and elegant =) xoxo

  6. Such stunning bagels and pics too Karen!

  7. I always assumed that marbled rye bread was different colors of flour too so I've learned something today. Actually, two things! I will be making my own caramel coloring as well. Thank you, Karen!

    1. Awesome Stacy. It sure surprised me when I first learned it!

  8. Can you show pictures of the way you twist the doughs together. I am struggling to understand steps 7 and 8. Thanks. I made them and they taste great. I just don't love my twist.

    1. I'm glad you liked them! I don't have any photos. If you hold one end in one hand and the other end in the other hand, twist the ends in opposite directions. Or, just twist one end, holding the other one steady. They two colors should be twisted around each other. They won't looks smooth, but will smooth out as they rise.


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