Wholemeal Cinnamon & Raisin Bagels

The first time I ever had bagels for breakfast was 6 years ago in New York, where the buffet breakfast at our hotel was the most incredible spread – from savoury sausage, bacon and eggs to baked goods like doughnuts, bagels and muffins, alongside less exciting options like toast, fruit, cake, cereal.  I like to get my moneys worth at any buffet, but particularly at breakfast, because it’s my favourite meal of the day.  So I did my best at the buffet, particularly enjoying the sesame seed bagels slathered with cream cheese.  I think that was probably when my love of a good breakfast started, and now I like having at least one “treat” breakfast a week, generally on a Sunday.

When I’m back at home, my mum usually serves me baked eggs (with soldiers, naturally), and last year I got into the healthier habit of poached eggs on toast, but I’m starting to branch out into other possibilities too, such as apricot pancakes, croissants, and bagels.

Over the summer I made these bagels following the BBC Good Food recipe.  They’re as much fun to make as they are to eat, needing to be cooked in a big pot of boiling water before baking.  What fun!

This week I decided to adapt the recipe to produce some wholemeal cinnamon and raisin bagels, and they turned out so tasty that my plan to keep them frozen for emergency pick-me-ups has been abandoned, and they’re already gone!  (In my defence, I halved the recipe below.)  Here they are:

Wholemeal Cinnamon And Raisin Bagels


7g sachet dried yeast

6.5tbsp sugar

2tsp salt

450g wholemeal bread flour

1.5tsp cinnamon

generous supply of raisins


1.  Put the yeast and 1tbsp sugar in a bowl and pour in 100ml warm water.  Leave for 10 minutes until frothy.

2.  Mix together the salt, flour, cinnamon and 2.5tbsp sugar.

3.  Pour another 200ml warm water into the bowl, along with half the flour mix.  Stir together, and keep adding the remaining flour, mixing with your hands until it forms a soft dough that’s not too sticky to handle.  (You may not need all the flour, or you may need more as I did.)

4.  Turn out onto a floured surface, scatter some raisins on top and knead for 10 minutes, working the raisins into the dough and adding more if you like.  Then roll the dough into a ball, pop it into a lightly-oiled bowl and cover with cling film.  Leave it to rise for at least 1 hour.

5.  Heat the oven to 220oC, and bring a large pan of water to the boil, adding the remaining sugar to it.

6.  On a floured surface, divide the dough into equal pieces.  The original recipe says it yields 10 bagels, but I can get a maximum of 8 – I don’t know if that’s a reflection on the recipe or on my own greedy portion sizes though!  Anyway, roll each piece of dough into a ball, flatten it in a little, and make a hole in it with a wooden spoon.  Stretch the hole out a bit.  The bagels hold their shape, so make sure it looks how you want it at this stage.

7.  Now the fun part – using a palette knife or fish slice, lower the bagels into the boiling water (1 or 2 at a time, depending on the size of your pan).  They will sink to the bottom.  After a few minutes they will rise to the top.  This means they are ready, and you can remove them and drain them – I generally stick them in a sieve over the sink while the next one is cooking.

8.  When they’re all done, put them on a baking tray and heat in the oven for 25 minutes.  Because they’re wholemeal, they didn’t really change colour when baking so you need to make sure you don’t leave them in for too long and let them burn.  I’m sure it goes without saying, but they smell absolutely gorgeous when they’re baking!  When they’re done, let them cool on a wire rack and then they are ready to be eaten.  Yum yum.

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