Cinnamon Raisin Bagels


We’ve all tasted great bagels. We’ve tried them in New York City, Los Angeles, maybe even in Washington D.C. However, I’m here to say that homemade bagels beat out the rest. Seriously folks, if you have time — 1/3 of recipe takes place one afternoon, while the rest happens the following morning when you’re ready to bake — the effort is very, very well worth it. Let me try to break it down for you: these bagels are chewy, not dense, flavorful, textured and delicious. They’re particularly good when you spread a little bit of butter on them about 10 minutes after they come out of the oven.

cinnamon raisin bagels

Source: Smitten Kitchen
1 tsp. instant yeast or 1 packet active dry yeast dissolved, divided
4 cups unbleached high-gluten or bread flour
2 1/2 cups water, room temperature

1 tsp. instant yeast or 1 packet active dry yeast dissolved, divided
3 3/4 cups unbleached bread flour
1 T. ground cinnamon
5 T. sugar
2 3/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. honey, or brown sugar
2 cups loosely packed raisins, rinsed with warm water to remove surfact sugar, acid, and natural wild yeast

final assembly
1 T. baking soda
Cornmeal or all purpose flour for dusting

Day one
NOTE: If you’re using active dry yeast: after you dissolve the yeast according to package instructions, pour half of the risen yeast into dough. Save the rest for the next step by covering the glass with plastic wrap and store at room temperature.

1. Preheat oven to 200 then turn it off. To make the sponge, stir the yeast into the flour in your largest mixing bowl. Add the water, whisking or stirring only until it forms a smooth, sticky batter. Cover the bowl with a damp rag and place in warmed oven. Let rise for 2 hours, or until the mixture becomes very foamy and bubbly. It should swell to nearly double in size.
2. To make the dough, in the same mixing bowl, add the additional yeast to the sponge and stir. Then add 3 cups of the flour, cinnamon, sugar, salt and honey/brown sugar. With a wooden spoon, stir for about 5 minutes mixing everything; slowly working in the remaining 3/4 cup flour to stiffen the dough. In the last two minutes of mixing, add the raisins. (I ended up adding a bit of flour with them, as mine were still wet and made the dough a little sticky.)
3. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for at least 10 minutes (or for 6 minutes by machine). The dough should be firm, but still pliable and smooth. There should be no raw flour – all ingredients should be hydrated. If the dough seems too dry and rips, add a few drops of water and continue kneading. If the dough seems tacky or sticky, add more flour to achieve the stiffness required.
4. Immediately divide the dough into 12-16 rounds.
5. Cover the rolls with a damp towel and allow them to rest for approximately 20 minutes.
6. Line 2 sheet pans with baking parchment and mist lightly with spray oil or brush lightly with canola oil. Poke a hole in a ball of bagel dough and widen the hole to approximately 1-2 inches in diameter. The dough should be as evenly stretched as possible (try to avoid thick and thin spots.)
7. Place each of the shaped pieces evenly spaced apart on the pans. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let the pans sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes.
8. Check to see if the bagels are ready to be retarded in the refrigerator by using the “float test”. Fill a small bowl with cool or room-temperature water. The bagels are ready to be retarded when they float within 10 seconds of being dropped into the water. Take one bagel and test it. If it floats, immediately return the tester bagel to the pan, pat it dry, cover the pan, and place it in the refrigerator overnight (it can stay in the refrigerator for up to 2 days). If the bagel does not float. Return it to the pan and continue to proof the dough at room temperature, checking back every 10 to 20 minutes or so until a tester floats. The time needed to accomplish the float will vary, depending on the ambient temperature and the stiffness of the dough.

Day two
9. The following day (or when you are ready to bake the bagels, see head notes), preheat the oven to 500 degrees with the two racks set in the middle of the oven. Bring a large pot of water to a boil (the wider the pot the better), and add the baking soda. Have a slotted spoon or skimmer nearby.
10. Remove the bagels from the refrigerator and gently drop them into the water, boiling only as many as comfortably fit (they should float within 10 seconds). After 1 minute, flip them over and boil for another minute. If you like very chewy bagels, you can extend the boiling to 2 minutes per side. While the bagels are boiling, sprinkle the same parchment-lined sheet pans with cornmeal or all purpose flour.
11. When all the bagels have been boiled, place the pans on two middle shelves in the oven. Bake for approximately five minutes, then rotate the pans, switching shelves and giving the pans a 180-degree rotation. After the rotation, lower the oven setting to 450 degrees and continue baking for about 5 minutes, or until the bagels turn light golden brown. You may bake them darker if you prefer.
12. Remove the pans from the oven and let the bagels cool on a rack for 15 minutes or longer before serving.


3 Comments Add yours

  1. Margot says:

    I tried to make bagels many years ago and it was a disaster – your recipe looks MUCH better! I think I’ll give it another try. Thank! P.S. Hope you had a great vacation. 🙂

    1. Emily says:

      Yes definitely give these a try! And we did have a wonderful vacation. Have a good week!

  2. Tinky says:

    Emily, I’m sorry, but I do not recognize cinnamon raisin as a bagel flavor! I do like making bagels, however, and I’m always looking for a better recipe. I may adapt this. Thanks…….

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