How to Make Bagels without Bread Flour

Hey Everyone! During my travels in Australia, I have noticed a deficit in traditional bagels, despite the high demand for the chewy perfections often accompanied by a cup of coffee (not in the bagel of course). I came across a fantastic recipe by ChefSteps, but have made some adjustments after a few trial batches. I will say out of all of the bagel recipes conveniently available, this one was my favorite to revise. So I want to ensure that initial credit goes to them. 🙂 For YouTube, I will be baking some fresh bagels using bread flour, but for this recipe, which came out nicely, I am using All Purpose flour and some bread improver as it is more available and affordable here in Australia. That’s how to make bagels without bread flour to be honest; dough improver. It helps with the gluten structure which is vital for a proper bagel. 

How to Make Bagels without Bread Flour

Here in Australia, a lot of places I’ve visited use the steam baked method, or they don’t use proper flour. I haven’t come across many bagel places, but the ones I have are pretty much bagel shaped bread. That is including the minimal selection that occasionally makes its way to supermarkets. They just aren’t bagels. Moving abroad has inspired me to share things people here would like to see more of, so perhaps some of them can be inspired to make their own at home! 

How to Make Bagels without Bread Flour

Some of my revisions for this base recipe included making the bagels a bit larger. My first test batch I portioned each bagel to about 50g each, but as I continued on my quest for large sandwich worthy bagels, I decided to portion the next batch to 75g each. I haven’t made bagels since culinary school, which was MANY MOONS ago. So I’m really inspired to get great at making them. First batch were… okay. They weren’t very photogenic, and definitely weren’t the supreme bagels of life, but I thought I’d share with you anyway because I think it’s important to share with others my trials and errors, even as a professional cook and blogger. Besides, practicing is the best part of baking. People often get discouraged because they want to their first attempt to be perfect. Just enjoy the process and hey, you can, most of the time, still enjoy tasty treats from your ventures. 😀 

How to Make Bagels without Bread Flour

The first, and most important step in making bagels, is the sponge. The sponge contains SOME of the flour, in this case 250g out of 650g, the yeast and warm water. Simply mix together these ingredients, wrap bowl with cling film, and let rest for about 4 hours. I know, I know, it seems like an awful lot of waiting time, but if you’re into binge watching anime, time will go by quickly! 

After it’s time to add the remainder ingredients, do so, which at this point is the rest of the flour, a little sugar and salt. you will… dare I say… NEED to knead your dough for about 15-20 minutes. This can seem really tasking to novice bakers, unless you have a stand mixer and dough hook, then by all means use that, but you could always consider this as part of a workout right? 

Your dough should feel nice and relaxed. If it’s really tight then it hasn’t been kneaded long enough. It should feel a bit soft. Now cover it again and let it prove for about 30 minutes. Then, you’ll weight and portion and form your bagels, and let them prove some more for another half hour, then let them rest overnight/ or about 10-12 hours minimum until they’re ready to par-boil and then bake the next day. 

How to Make Bagels without Bread Flour
Golden bagels come from Rice Malt or Barley Malt Syrup in the boiling solution!

The chef steps tutorial suggested that you portion the dough balls, place in fridge for a while, then take them out, form bagels, then prove and then place back into the fridge. I found this step respectfully unnecessary to be honest so I went ahead with a previous test batch and skipped that step. 

So the next morning, you will par-boil your bagels for about a minute each side in 4 liters of water, 10g of baking soda (or bicarb) and I used 35 grams of rice malt syrup. Then bake at 220 for about 15 minutes, rotating the pan somewhere in between for even baking, and BOOM! Bagels. You’re done and your hard work paid off. 

How to Make Bagels without Bread Flour

All of that hard work has paid off. Doing this a few times I am definitely in the groove of things, and we will be continuing our bagel journey here on AmbyCakes. My partner Ben and I had so muc fun this week testing, tweaking and baking yummy bagels. This was, by far the best revised version (using the dough improver). Next week we will be using bread flour and I’m sure they will be even chewier and more delectable! Oh yea, and for the top, the ChefSteps site suggested garlic flakes, onion flakes, white and black sesame seeds and poppy seed and a little sea salt. I had all of those things on hand so we went ahead and topped off our bagels with this yummy mixture as soon as they were done boiling and ready for the oven! I will certainly be experimenting with more flavors very soon so stay tuned fam! 

Bagels without Bread Flour
Serves 12
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Prep Time
15 hr
Cook Time
20 min
Prep Time
15 hr
Cook Time
20 min
For Sponge
  1. 250g All Purpose Flour
  2. 2.5g Dough Improver
  3. 350g Water
  4. 3g dried yeast
Remainder ingredients for Bagel Dough
  1. 400g All Purpose Flour
  2. 4g Bread Improver
  3. 25g Sugar
  4. 10g Sea Salt
For Boiling Solution
  1. 4 liters Water
  2. 10g Baking Soda
  3. 35g Rice Malt Syrup
For Sponge
  1. In a large bowl, add 250g AP Flour, 2.5g Dough Improver, Warm Water and Dried Yeast.
  2. Allow to bloom for about 4 hours at room temperature. Cover your bowl with cling film or a damp tea towel.
For Dough
  1. Add in remainder AP Flour, more Dough Improver, Sugar and Sea Salt and knead for dough for 15-20 minutes. Dough should feel a bit relaxed and stretchy. Not tight and tense.
  2. Allow to prove for half an hour at room temperature. Cover bowl with tea towel or cling film.
  3. Portion dough into small 75g dough balls and gently puncture a hold in between them (if desired). using your fingers, gently rotate the dough until you get a nice bagel shape.
  4. Allow portioned bagels to prove at room temperature for another half an hour on parchment lined baking sheet.
  5. Spray baking parchment with a gentle spritz of oil, along with the cling film used to cover bagels otherwise they WILL stick to both cling film and parchment paper the next morning.
  6. Place proved bagels into the fridge overnight, around 10-12 hours at least. Give or take a few hours it will not effect your bagel other than how developed the taste is.
  7. Create your boiling solution with 4 liters of Water, Baking Soda and Rice Malt Syrup. Bring water to a simmer.
  8. Gently boil bagels for about a minute on each side. Then place on fresh parchment lined baking tray. Top with yummy toppings if desired.
  9. Bake bagels at about 220C or 400F for about 15 minutes. Rotate the pan at around 7 minutes to ensure even baking and coloring.
Amby Cakes




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