Bibi’s Bites - Bagels

by Bibi Ebel on October 26, 2023

It all started with Reka’s post about bagels. Where does one get bagels in Budapest? The truth is you can buy them in Starbucks, some bakeries, and grocery stores. But I am lazy – I’d rather make my own. So on a lazy Saturday morning I opened the email that Hilary Potosnak (thank you, darling!) sent with the recipe and got busy.

Some trivia about bagels: even though they became a signature North American baked good, they were invented here, in Europe, and very close to Budapest – in Poland. And had Budapest Moms existed in XVII century Poland, bagels would be very relevant to us – they were a gift to women in labour. And mini-bagels were and still are a common treat for teething children – crispy, easy to hold and de-li-cious.

Now, coming back to the recipe.

Ingredients: You can buy them in any store in Budapest

1 teaspoon granulated sugar (kristálycukor)
1 cup (250 ml) warm water
1 tablespoon active dry yeast (száraz élesztő)
2 eggs (tojás)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (olaj)
3 1/2 cups (appx. 440 g) all-purpose flour (approximately) (buza finomliszt)
2 tablespoons granulated maple syrup (that’s my Canadian touch) or plain sugar (kanadai juharszirup vagy kristálycukor)
2 teaspoons salt (só)

Dry cranberries (szárított vörösáfonya)
Raisins (mazsola)
Sunflower seeds (napraforgómag)

Poaching Liquid:
16 cups (3.785 liter) water
2 tablespoons maple syrup or granulated sugar (juharszirup vagy kristálycukor)

Glaze and Topping:
Beaten egg (tojás)
1/3 cup (appx 40 g) poppy seeds (mák)

If you don’t have a bread-maker, you will have to do it by hand. But if you do have one, life’s so much easier.

1. In a large bowl, dissolve 1 teaspoon sugar in water. Sprinkle in yeast; let stand for 10 minutes or until frothy. Whisk in eggs and oil. With wooden spoon, beat in 2 cups of the flour, maple syrup (or sugar) and salt until smooth. Gradually stir in enough of the remaining flour to make soft but not sticky dough.

2. Turn out dough onto lightly floured surface; knead for 8 to 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic, dusting with enough of the remaining flour to prevent sticking. Place in greased bowl, turning to grease all over. Cover with plastic wrap; let rise in warm draft-free place until doubled in bulk, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. (I have a bread-maker, so I frothed the yeast with water and sugar and then let the machine do it’s magic).

3. Punch down dough; turn out onto lightly floured surface. Knead several times. Divide into 12 portions. Here is the time to add anything you want to the bagels. This time I chose dried cranberries and sunflower seeds.

4. Now here you have two options. You can roll the dough into a 12-inch rope, bring the end s of the rope together, overlapping by about 1 inch and stretching overlap around other end to meet underneath; pinch firmly to seal. Option 2: punch a hole in the dough, spreading the hole into ~4-5 cm (2 inches).

5. Place on lightly floured baking sheet; cover with tea towel and let rise for 15 minutes.

6. Poaching liquid: In wide saucepan, bring water to boil; add maples syrup or sugar. Slip bagels into water, 3 or 4 at a time (3 work better for me); cook over medium heat for 1 minute. Turn and cook for 1 minute. Using slotted spatula, transfer bagels to well-greased baking sheets.

7. Glaze: Place poppy seeds in separate dish. Brush egg over bagels. Using hands, dip egg side into seeds; return to baking sheets. Bake in 400°F (200°C, gas mark 6) oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until tops are golden. Transfer to the rack and let cool.

8. Enjoy them, they taste divine - especially, of course, with cream cheese.


I am Bibi Ebel, Kazakh by birth, living in Canada with my wonderful husband and two adorable daughters Hannah (3 years) and Lara (7 months). We moved to Budapest in August 2011 and love-love-love it here. My attitude to life is like my attitude to our house: must be clean enough to be healthy and messy enough to be happy.

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