Montreal-Style Bagels

I was not a huge fan of bagels until I tried the bagels in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Until then, to me, a bagel was a vehicle to consume cream cheese or deli meat, and I don’t like either of those things! 

Enter the Montreal-style bagel, which, compared with the traditional New York bagel is sweeter, chewier and slightly smaller. The sweet taste and nice chewy texture of Montreal bagels makes for a delicious snack on their own straight out of the oven. When toasted, they are crispy and amazing with butter or cream cheese. Visually, this bagel is more rustic and less uniform in shape thus more forgiving for a home baker to make.

This recipe is the one used by bakers on CBC’s Great Canadian Baking Show. It’s published on the CBC website but I’ve added some additional details and tweaked the amount of honey used in the boiling water. The amount of honey below is enough to give it the sweet taste without having to waste it.

Makes 16 bagels
Time: 1 hr 30 min 

For the bagel dough:
350 gr or 1 1/2 cups warm water
60 gr or 1/4 cup white sugar
30 gr or 1/3 cup canola oil
10 gr or 2 tsp active dry yeast
1 egg
20 gr or 1 tbsp honey
6 gr or 1 tsp sea salt
550 gr or 3 1/4 cups flour, set aside another 150 gr (3/4 cup) to use if the dough is still very sticky and for flouring the working surface and hands to prevent sticking

In addition:
100 gr or 1/3 cup honey in 10-12 cups of boiling water
150+ gr or about 3/4 cup roasted sesame seeds

In a large bowl, combine water, yeast, sugar, oil, honey, egg and salt and whisk together. Next, slowly  add 550 grams (3 1/4 cups) flour and use an electric beater with dough hook attachment to mix until the dough forms, attaching to the dough hooks. This will take about 3 min.

Place the dough on a well-floured surface and knead. If the dough is still quite wet and sticky, add some of the flour that was set aside (the150 gr set aside, you don’t need to use it all, save some for later). Knead for 5-6 min, the dough will still be sticky but it should slowly come off your hands when you pull it.

Once the dough is kneaded, place in a bowl which has been brushed with a thin layer of canola or vegetable oil. Let it sit covered with a dry towel in your UNHEATED oven for 30 min to rise.
Set an alarm so you don’t overproof. Over-proofed dough will expand when boiled, thus closing the hole! Over-proofed dough also has a yeasty taste.
*See below photos.

Work quickly to divide the dough into 16 pieces evenly, approx. 65 gram each (this ensures an even cook when boiling and baking them).  Form a 10-inch rope with each by rolling it with your hands. Use the remaining flour to flour the surface and hands or use a silpat silicon sheet. The dough will be elastic-y and somewhat sticky but it should come off your hands.

Working quickly, wrap the rope around your 4 fingers and close the ends by rolling and pressing it together with your fingers. Be sure the ends are closed so that they will not come apart when you boil the bagels. Place the bagels on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silicone mat from left to right. The placement will help with the boiling process later. Start a 30 min timer once the first bagel is made.

Once all the bagels are made, cover them with the dry towel and let it sit on the counter for 30 min from when the first bagel was made. Again, set an alarm for 30 min.

Preheat oven to 450F.
Bring the water and honey to a boil in a large pot.

After 30 min, boil 3 bagels at a time starting with the left side of the tray since those were the first ones you made. Boil them for 1 1/2 mins on each side. Be careful not to crowd your bagels in the pot.

Remove the bagels with a slotted spoon and set them on a cooling rack.
When all the bagels are boiled, put the roasted sesame seeds on a plate and dip the bagels to coat both sides generously.

Bake in the oven on silicone mats or bagel boards for 20 min until golden brown.
Note, bagels can stick to parchment paper.

Enjoy fresh and refrigerate/ freeze leftovers for later.

A proper rise should leave a large hole in the bagel after proofing.
Over-proofed bagel dough results in a yeasty, overly bread-y taste.


  1. These look delicious! Will definitely try this recipe!


Post a Comment

Popular Posts