This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, please visit the disclosures and privacy policy page.
Jun 15, 2021

Montreal-Style Bagels

These Montreal-style bagels are chewy and tasty, and perfect with a little cream cheese, smoked salmon, and dill for breakfast. 

Montreal Bagels with sesame and poppy seeds


Bagels were introduced to Canada by Yiddish immigrants who settled in an area of Montreal called "The Main." According to the book, Inside the Jewish Bakery, the first bagel bakery opened in 1919. 

Montreal bagels are round like New York bagels, but they are smaller, sweeter, and baked in a wood-fired oven. They have larger holes in the middle (which I didn't quite achieve). 

They tend to have a little more yeast for a quick rise, and include a little egg and oil in the dough. They are also boiled in sweetened water before baking. 

Montreal-Style Bagels in a basket

While I don't have a wood-fired oven, to create a super hot baking environment, I followed the suggestion of King Arthur Baking to bake them in a 475 degree F oven with a baking stone, resulting in a crispy and shiny exterior. 

Some recipes for Montreal bagels omit the salt. They do that so that they will proof faster. I just couldn't bring myself to leave out the salt, although if you serve them with lots of salty toppings like lox and capers, it might work. 

To sweeten these bagels, you can use honey, sugar, barley malt, or maple syrup in the dough. This recipe calls for maple syrup, but feel free to substitute. 

Montreal bagels on plates

Montreal bagels are usually topped with sesame seeds or poppy seeds. Right after you boil them, dredge them in the seeds and then place them on your baking sheet while you continue to boil the rest. 

How to shape bagels:

There are two ways you can shape bagels. The more traditional method is to shape the portioned dough into ropes and then wrap the ropes around your hand and seal the two overlapping ends by rolling them together under your palm on your work surface. 

If you use this method, be sure to dampen the ends so that they stick together in the poaching water. 

You can also form the dough into balls and poke your finger through the middle. Then, stretch the round out with your fingers to shape the bagels. This method is much easier. 

For this batch, I shaped half the traditional way and half by poking a hole in the middle and stretching them out. Let me know if you can see the difference. 

Montreal-Style Bagels with sesame seeds

The poaching liquid for these bagels is sweetened with a good amount of barley malt syrup. The syrup is pretty easy to find in most grocery stores these days, but if you can't, you can use brown sugar or honey. 

These bagels were amazing and I love that they are smaller. Plus, this recipe makes just eight bagels, perfect for the two of us. 

Once they've cooled, wrap them individually, place them in a freezer bag, and stick them in the freezer. You can also split them before freezing. I usually take one out to thaw the night before for breakfast. 

bread bakers logo

Welcome to this month's Bread Bakers. This month’s event is Breakfast Bread hosted by Zesty South Indian Kitchen

#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.

Montreal-Style Bagels in a basket

This recipe was inspired by a combination of sources, mostly King Arthur Baking. I added the egg and oil to the recipe so that the Quebec food police wouldn't come after me. 

On a fun note, there was lots of drama a few years ago over whether or not Montreal would ban wood-fired ovens within the city limits, putting these bakeries out of business, or at least taking away the authentic nature of these bagels. Would they have to make them outside the city and then truck them in?  

A giant sigh of relief was felt citywide when, evidently, the existing bakeries were grandfathered in. 

Montreal-Style Bagels

Montreal-Style Bagels
Yield: 8 bagels
Author: Karen's Kitchen Stories
Prep time: 30 MinCook time: 20 MinInactive time: 2 H & 30 MTotal time: 3 H & 19 M
These Montreal-style bagels are chewy and tasty, and perfect with a little cream cheese, smoked salmon, and dill for breakfast.


For the Bagels
  • 227 grams (1 cup) lukewarm water
  • 2 teapoons maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 tablespoon beaten egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 390 to 418 grams (3 1/4 to 3 1/2 cups) bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup sesame or poppy seeds for topping
For the Poaching Liquid
  • 3 quarts water
  • 85 grams (1/4 cup) barley malt syrup


  1. Add all of the ingredients to the bowl of a stand mixer, starting with the smaller amount of flour.
  2. Mix with the dough hook to form a dough.
  3. Mix on medium speed with the dough hook for 8 minutes, adding some of the reserved flour if necessary by the tablespoon. The dough should be smooth and not sticky. It should feel elastic and flexible.
  4. Put the dough in an oiled bowl or dough rising bucket, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm spot for about 90 minutes, until almost doubled.
  5. Deflate the dough and divide it into eight equal pieces.
  6. Roll the dough pieces out into 9 inch ropes on a slightly damp work surface, and then wrap the rope around your hand and join the ends, overlapping them, in your palm. Roll the ends together with your palm on the work surface to join them together.
  7. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the shaped bagels on the parchment. Cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap and let rise while you heat your oven and bring the poaching liquid to a boil.
  8. Heat your oven, with a baking stone on the middle rack, to 475 degrees F. 
  9. Place the seeds in a shallow bowl and set aside. 
  10. Bring the water and barley malt syrup to a boil in a 4 quart saucepan. 
  11. The bagels are ready to boil when the shaped bagels are slightly puffy, but still springy. 
  12. Boil the bagels, in batches of four, one minute per side (they should easily float on the top of the water and not sink at all). Remove them with a slotted spoon and dredge them in the seeds before placing them, seeds side up, on a piece of parchment that has been placed on an unrimmed cookie sheet, pizza peel, or an upsided down baking sheet. This is so you can slide the bagels, parchment and all, onto the hot baking stone. 
  13. Slide the bagels onto the baking stone with the parchment paper and bake for 20 to 23 minutes, until golden brown. 
  14. Cool the bagels on a wire rack. 
  15. These bagels can be served warm from the oven as soon as they are not too hot to handle. 

Nutrition Facts



Fat (grams)


Sat. Fat (grams)


Carbs (grams)


Fiber (grams)


Net carbs


Sugar (grams)


Protein (grams)


Sodium (milligrams)


Cholesterol (grams)

Montreal bagels, bagels
Montreal, Jewish
Did you make this recipe?
Tag on instagram and hashtag it #karenskitchenstories
Created using The Recipes Generator

Would you like to comment?

  1. Karen, the Bagels look gorgeous. That basket full of seeded bagels steals my heart!

  2. Montreal bagels are the only bagels in my humble (Canadian) opinion! I'm making some cinnamon raisin ones today :)

    1. Ha ha! The New York vs. Montreal battle continues!

  3. I love bagels, this Montreal style bagels looks perfect I need to give it a try. I am going to make this for this weekend.

  4. Mmmmm, beautiful chewy bagels! And I'm out of barley malt, boo hoo!

  5. I had never heard of Montreal bagels before today. Interesting post Karen, thanks for all your research. That cookbook sounds like a keeper.

    1. I love it. There are so many stories behind the recipes in the book!

  6. These look like golden chewy bagel perfection! Love the heavy seed toppings. Yumm!

  7. Wow! these look gorgeous and beautiful with the seed topping!

  8. I want to try making these bagels but I don't have a baking stone. Can I bake using a baking sheet meant for cookies?


I would love to hear from you! If you comment anonymously, be sure to leave your name in your comment.