Mini Bagels

Monday, August 15, 2005

Cute Mini BagelsMaking mini portions of a recipe is such a fun little trick! You feel like you’re being good by having a smaller portion, when in actuality you probably eat three times as much, because little food items are sooo scrumptiously cute.

Bagels are a fun item to make small because then they seem similar to those mini gem donuts! Well, except for the chocolate and sugar, and sprinkles… well, maybe not so similar. However this situation does help explain a special food principle: sometimes, it’s all about the hole. Angel food cake, pineapple rings, donuts, (um… I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that I actually just googled “food with holes,” glad to see no Courtney Love results yet…), yes: swiss cheese, lifesavers, cherrios, I think you get the point, err I mean the hole! Holes can be a huge part of the personality package that a food item comes wrapped up in.

So, where does that leave me in my bagel discussion? Getting that bagel hole just right is a tricky science! I tried three different ways to get my bagel shapes, and I’m still searching… any East Coasters willing to help out a West Coast gal with her bagel holes?

Method one: actually following the bagel recipe I found in Best American Recipes 2003-2004, roll out your chunks of dough into snakes with tappered ends. Roll your snake into a circle, and “join the ends to make a doughnut shape, overlapping them by about 1 inch, and form into a smooth perfect circle”.

Method two: after bagels of method one came un-smooth in the cooking, take the ends of your snake, and form a doughnut shape. Now really smash the bejeebers out of the ends, pinching and mashing them together really well, thus resulting in an un-perfect looking circle when the cooking process is finished :(

Method three: ditch the snakes and make little balls of dough. Poke a hole in the center with a chopstick and force your finger in there good. Now, force a second finger and stretch out that little hole really well. Thus resulting in bagels that look more like little buns with a slight hole. Hrmmmm.

Well, pretty or not, these mini bagels are a cute chewy breakfast treat that really take well to being dressed up with a number of flavors. My favorite variety was roasted garlic mixed into the bagel dough and topped with dehydrated garlic crunchie bits. Other variations: rosemary parmesan, sesame seed, poppyseed, chedder jalapeno… you name it! Cuting a recipe down to make only 8 bagels, like this one, means you can experiment with all sorts of bagel flavors to wow your co-workers with. That is, if you feel like sharing…

Cute Mini BagelsCute Mini Bagels

This recipe is based on a much larger and slightly different bagel recipe in the Best American Recipes 2003- 2004.

Makes a batch of 8 smaller-than-palm-sized bagels.

Preheat the oven to 425F.

Combine together:

  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1 tsp of olive oil
  • 1 tsp of molasses
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1 1/4 tsp of active dry yeast

And briefly set aside.

In a food processor, combine:

  • 2 cups of high gluten flour (or use regular flour mixed with 3 Tbs of gluten flour)
  • any dry flavoring ingredients for inside the dough, such as herbs or parmesan cheese

Stir up your liquid yeasty mixture and slowly pour into the dry ingredients while the food processor is running. Check the feel of the dough for proper flour to moisture level and adjust accordingly (the dough shouldn’t be sticky but kind of shiny and plastic looking). Allow the dough to sit covered for 5 minutes.

Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces, and shape into bagel shapes using your choosen method of shapping (see above note on methods). Allow the formed bagels to sit for 5 minutes, covered loosely with a cloth.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and prep your last bagel playground. Assemble ingredients to press into the top of your bagels on a plate (sesame seeds, poppy seeds, garlic crunchies, seasoned salt, cheese…). Each batch uses approximately 2-3 Tbs of topping.

Boil each bagel individually for 10 seconds, or until they float to the water’s surface. Immediately remove and place on to the plate of dry toppings. Shake off excess toppings and place your bagel on a baking sheet, topping side up. Finish the batch of bagels in this manner.

Place the bagels in the oven and bake at 425F for 10 minutes or until they are golden brown. If bagels won’t be consumed in the same day as they are being made, cook them for only have the time and then freeze in this par-baked state. The frozen bagels can be defrosted and baked or toasted to golden brown as needed.

23 Comments

posted August 15th, 2005 at 6:51 pm

So, so adorable! *laugh* I’d probably go with method three. I don’t have the patience.

posted August 15th, 2005 at 8:31 pm

haha! i always think that making miniature baked goods will help me eat less but it works out exactly the opposite, every time! alas, i have no will power.

ps. these look yummy! method 3 works the best for me, since with the other two always fall apart on me when im boiling the bagels before cooking them.

  • I’m feeling relieved that I’m not the only one. I think I’m going to go chat up a couple of our local bagel stores when they aren’t swamped with the morning rush.

    –McAuliflower

posted August 15th, 2005 at 8:32 pm

Great intro to bagels – I have always wanted to try and make them!

  • Nice to meet you Joe. You’ve got some great recipes up at your site… still thinking about your pear brie quesadillas with honey lime drizzle…

    –McAuliflower

posted August 15th, 2005 at 11:29 pm

I am with you on the shaping method, that whole “sealing the rope into a ring” thing eludes me. I do boil the bagels quite a bit longer though, 2-3 minutes…but I also like my bagels fairly chewy.

  • Ahhh… good to know! I like chewy bagels too and was wondering about the boiling step. I assume the heat kick starts the gluten formation?

    Happily planning her day to make bagels for dinner…

    –McAuliflower

posted August 16th, 2005 at 12:26 pm

I think that methods 1 and 2 are actually the same thing. I have never been able to smooth any bread ends together nicely. In my baking class, I asked the instructor how to do it cleanly and she basically told me to smush them together.
But it’s ok because I like method 3 for bagels and I have come to terms with ugly round braided loaves.

- Nic
posted August 16th, 2005 at 1:36 pm

Getting the hole in the bagels is THE issue, why I didn’t try it myself yet ;) But yours look so perfect! I love every kind of food produced as miniature versions…

posted August 17th, 2005 at 7:46 am

You know, as an east coaster, I never thought about the hole in the bagel, I just thought about the bagel. In Jersey we always say that its the water that makes them taste so good. Which might be true, we have some of the worst tap water you could ever want to drink, but something about it, makes the bagels and pizza just right. As for your holes, I have seen them pierce the bagel with your finger, and keep rotating the dough until the hole forms. The technique is a lot like your number three, so your defiantly on the right track. I have never had a mini bagel before, I’ll have to give that a shot sometime, because yours just look deliciously adoriable.

- Lea
posted August 17th, 2005 at 5:58 pm

Those are absolutely adorable! And you know as obvious as the method might sound, the whole rolling the ball and poking a hole in the middle way of making them is something that just never occurred to me before! I’m going to have to try that out next time.

posted August 17th, 2005 at 7:26 pm

My tricks for chewy bagels are:
* High-gluten bread flour
* A couple extra tbsp of pure gluten per batch
* 3-5 min of boiling

I am not sure about the exact chemistry, but I am thinking it is a sort of gelatinatizing of the gluten, combined with adding a ton of moisture to something that’s baked relatively briefly.

I blogged a batch of bagels from starter to lox at my blog. If you’re interested, it’s here. As you might have noticed, I am a huge fan of Peter Reinhart, and I use the recipe from Bread Baker’s Apprentice (which is a marvelous book if you want to kick your bread baking up a dozen notches and actually understand what is going on inside that loaf…)

posted August 19th, 2005 at 3:01 pm

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posted August 28th, 2005 at 12:25 pm

I had problems with the whole ‘shiny’ dough. I think it was a bit too dry, but I didn’t use a mixer, so maybe that was my problem?

Anyways, I had a lot of luck with hole method 1. I used some water as a glue to join the ends together and it worked out great. I also tried the pushing a hole with your finger method, but I didn’t think the resulting bagels looked nearly as nice as the bagels where I made loop.

Thanks for the recipe!


  • I think not using a mixer is fine. I use my food processor out of laziness! Hand mixing your dough would allow you to have a more direct feel on your water:flour ratio. It seems to be easier to add flour to a mixed dough, than to re-adjust the water, so hand kneading it wetter into a light dusting of flour will help set you in a good dough direction.

    –McAuliflower

- Aran
posted August 31st, 2005 at 5:33 pm

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posted September 3rd, 2005 at 2:16 pm

I’ve watched Montreal bagel guys making bagels, and they start with an 8inch snake of dough. Then they put the ends together under the palm of their hand (four fingers in the hole of the bagel) and roll until the ends are joined. The rolling makes for a nicer shape than just smushing the ends. I’ve had success with this method of forming regular bagels, though I’m not sure how well it would work for the minis. Switch for just two fingers in the hole?


  • Thanks Paige- great technique description. I will try it, as the poke a hole it method… just doesn’t look right. I was surprised at how easy it was to form the dough around the hot dogs in the bageldog recipe- it was quite a contrast to making these.

    –McAuliflower

posted September 11th, 2005 at 11:48 am

If you have a traditional ‘tapered wooden pin’ rolling pin, or even a very thick wooden dowel (any kitchen object with about a 2 inch diameter) , you can make a bagel as follows:
1. Start with your basic round dough ball.
2. Using ‘chopstick method’ or just a finger, pierce the center of the dough ball and stretch wide enough to fit on end of the object you are using.
3. Roll the dough ring up and down on the rolling pin, so you form a nice round ring. (sort of like you would place a ring on or off of your finger, but rolling it)
4. Boil and proceed as follows.

  • Excellent! Thanks for adding another technique to the list Zach.

    –McAuliflower

- Zach W.
posted January 8th, 2006 at 10:04 am

Where do you find high gluten flour?

  • In the grocery store, baking section…
    look for flour labeled as “bread flour”. This tends to have a higher perentage of gluten than ap flour.

    –McAuliflower

- tra
posted July 8th, 2006 at 1:01 pm

you’ve got it all wrong!!!!!!!!!

  • Well fill in my bagel hole… or are you all about the biz and not about sharing?

    –McAuliflower

posted December 6th, 2008 at 9:07 pm

What, no rise time? Do these bagels have decent air holes in them? Usually for yeast breads you’d need to leave the dough in a warm place for at least an hour to allow the yeast to do it’s thing…

- Julian
posted June 24th, 2010 at 12:26 pm

Okay… stupid question, but i have never made any bread items before… do I add the active dry yeast dry, or do I mix it with water and whatnot to activate it first then add the 1 1/2 tsp? Thank you!

- bonnie
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