Darling Sister:

I hope you’re having a lazy Sunday afternoon. I’ve been putting little effort into homemade bagels, and reaping great rewards. Sundays are made for baking, when you can knead up some rich dough and wander off for several hours while a warm oven works a rising magic for you, then pop back by to shape and bake off something just lovely.

I needed a couple dozen treats to share at work tomorrow, so I doubled the recipe below.

I’ll bring some by to share with you, just as soon as I get off the couch!


french toast bagels with maple syrup spread

french toast bagels with maple syrup spread

French Toast Bagels with Maple Syrup Spread

Adapted from this recipe, by Girl Versus Dough.

In a measuring cup, stir together and let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes:

  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons yeast (1 envelope)

In the bowl of your mixer with the bread kneading attachment, combine:

  • 3 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons table salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • a dash of cloves (a pinch, no more! they go far)

When the yeast is foamy, add the yeast mixture to the contents of the mixer, with the mixer running on low speed. Quickly add in:

  • 1/4 cup additional warm water
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (the real stuff here – this isn’t the place for your favorite fake-out!)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Keep an extra 1/4 cup warm water on standby, adding in this water by tablespoons until the dough just comes together, about 2 minutes. Continue kneading in the mixer until a smooth, tacky dough forms, about 5 minutes (or 10-12 minutes if kneading by hand).  Turn the dough out into a large bowl with 1 tablespoon corn oil in the bottom, turn the dough to coat all sides with oil. Secure the bowl with either a snugly fitting lid or a piece of plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 90-120 minutes. Note: while I’m gathering my ingredients, I turn my oven on to 200 degrees and let it get warm. I turn the oven off when I begin kneading the dough, and rest the covered bowl in the oven, on a towel, with the door ajar to rise. You can also create a nice warm environment by microwaving a measuring cup of water until steaming hot, then placing the covered bowl into the microwave along with the hot water and closing the door.

After the dough has risen, turn it out onto a clean cutting board or countertop, punch it down, and cover with a damp kitchen towel.  Let the dough rest for about 10 minutes while you fill a large shallow pan with 2″ of tap water and bring to a simmer. Line a sheet pan with parchment or a silicone cooking mat, and bring your oven to 425 degrees fahrenheit.

french toast bagels, risen dough

french toast bagels, risen dough

Return to your dough. If the dough is too sticky, a little flour can help keep things moving, but I found this dough is rich enough that it wasn’t needed.  Using a large knife or bench scraper, divide the dough, covering the pieces with a damp dish towel. For this amount of dough, dividing into 8 equal pieces will make large, bakery-proportioned bagels. For more reasonable appetites, divide the dough into 12 or even 16 pieces.  Note the dough will rise by about an additional 1/3 during the remaining steps.

french toast bagels, dough divided

french toast bagels, dough divided

Take each portion of dough and roll it into a ball on a clean, unfloured surface: place a cupped hand down over the dough and work your hand in a circular motion, using the friction of the unfloured counter and the pressure from your hand to drag the dough into a lovely, smooth ball.  Without mercy, use your thumbs to create a hole in the middle of the dough and pull it into a ring, pulling and stretching until the hole is about as wide as the ring of surrounding dough.  Place the ring onto your prepared baking sheet, and continue to treat the rest of the dough likewise. When all are prepared, cover with your damp towel and admire yourself.

In batches, you will simmer each bagel in the pan of water for 1 minute, fifteen seconds on each side, flipping each bagel once. The bagels will puff up and appear somewhat alarming, but press on. Remove the boiled bagels back to your prepared baking sheet, and again cover with your towel. Note: if you like chewier bagels, boil them up to 2 minutes per side at your own risk!

Once all the bagels are boiled, let them cool slightly while you whisk up

  • 1 egg and
  • 1 tablespoon of tap water.

Use a pastry brush to brush all the exposed surfaces of your beautiful bagels with egg wash, then sprinkle the tops generously with a cinnamon sugar mixture of

  • 2 tablespoons white sugar,
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg.

Again, admire your handiwork, then straight into the oven for 25 minutes in the upper third of the oven!

When they’re done, the tops will be deep golden brown and the bottoms will be browned gently, as well. Cool on a wire rack as long as you can wait, then top with butter (delicious) or Maple Syrup Spread (glorious). Store as you would bakery bagels: in a paper bag on the counter or wrapped tightly in the freezer.


Maple Syrup Spread 

In your mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk together the following until fluffy. Add more maple syrup until it’s to your liking. Store in a sealed container up to 1 week (good luck with that).

  • 1 package cream cheese, preferably at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup softened unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (or more, to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


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