Soft yet chewy and bready, these delicious Vegan Bagels are incredibly delicious and so easy to recreate at home with minimal equipment.
- 3.5 - 4 cups (455g ish) bread flour (I recommend King Arthur Baking Company)
- 2 ¼ tsp (or 1 packet) active dry yeast
- 1 ½ tbsp organic cane sugar
- 2 tsp sea salt
- ½ cup warm water
- ⅓ cup - ½ cup canned coconut milk (this enriches the dough)
- 1-3 tbsp unsweetened non-dairy milk, for a golden & shiny crust
- Any toppings for bagel crust (like Everything seasoning, poppy seeds, etc.)
- Note: These instructions are for hand mixing--you can use a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook if you like; run at medium speed for 5-6 minutes until the dough becomes springy.
- Activate the yeast: In a bowl or measuring cup with the indicated amount of warm water (should be 105°F - 115°F (or 41°C - 46°C); not hot enough to bother the skin on the inside of your wrist, but warm), add the yeast and sugar and stir gently for a few seconds. Leave it alone for 5 minutes and stir again until everything is dissolved. In the 5 minutes it sits, it should become quite foamy. If it does not foam, you might need new yeast. Active dry yeast can become inactive if left for too long.
- Make the dough: Whisk the salt into the flour in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and pour your yeast mixture and ⅓ cup of the coconut milk into the dough. You may need an additional few tablespoons (up to about ½ cup, I’ve found sometimes) depending on where you live, how accurately you measured, your stirring tool (wooden tools absorb moisture), etc. The dough should be firm, yet moist and not sticky.
- Knead the dough: On a well-floured (use the same bread flour you’re using for the dough) surface, knead the dough for around 10 minutes, sprinkling more flour as you knead (after it absorbs each layer of flour, I repeated once every minute or two), as this makes a firmer dough which results in a nice chewy and structured bagel. You’re looking for the dough to become smooth and elastic yet still quite firm and stiff (but not dry).
- Rise the dough: Boil a small pot of water. Grease a large bowl with coconut cream (or oil if you like) and plop the dough in there, then flip it so both sides are coated. Cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel, place it in the oven on the middle rack, and place the pot of boiling water on the rack below it. Close the door and turn on the oven light. Let it rise for 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in size. Do not let it prove for too long.
- Rest the dough: After an hour has elapsed, punch the dough down and allow it to rest for about 10 minutes.
- Divide the dough: Divide the dough into 8 pieces. I prefer to use a kitchen scale for this so all my bagels are about the same size. You can just plop the dough on the scale, divide the number of grams by 8, and cut them with a knife or bench scraper, adding little bits from other portions until you get 8 equal portions. This step is not necessary--you can just eyeball it if you prefer.
- Shape the dough balls: Shape each piece into a ball and press it gently against a lightly floured surface, rolling it in a circular motion, almost pulling the dough into itself, until you have a perfect ball without much of a crease at the bottom. Repeat this process until you have 8 nice round dough balls.
- Make the balls into bagels: Coat your finger in flour and press into the center of each dough ball to form a ring. Stretch the hole till you get a nice open ring, They will spring back a little during the cooking process; your bagels will look like bagels and not weird loops.
- Rest the bagels: Place each bagel on a silicone mat or parchment lined rimmed baking sheet, leaving a few inches space between each bagel. I used 2 cookie sheets for this. Cover them with a damp kitchen towel and rest for 10 minutes.
- Boil the bagels: This is an easy but crucial step for a shiny, beautiful, chewy bagel. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and preheat your oven to 425° F (220° C). Use a skimmer or a large slotted spoon to very gently lower each bagel into the pot. I did 3 bagels at a time. You’ll want to boil these for about 1 minute and 10 seconds on one side, and between a minute to 2 minutes on the other. I did 2 minutes, because I like chewy New York bagels, but do less if you prefer softer bagels. Your bagels are very impressionable (like little bagel children) at this point, any little knock can mar them. It doesn’t compromise the flavor or texture though, only the look. So be gentle if the appearance of the bagel is important to you.
- Brush with non-dairy milk and add toppings: After removing the bagels from the boiling water, use a pastry brush to gently brush each bagel with unsweetened non-dairy milk and add your toppings if any. The non-dairy milk acts as an egg wash, making the tops of your bagels golden brown and a bit shiny when baked.
- Bake the bagels: Bake the bagels right on their trays, leaving a few inches space between each bagel. I used 2 cookie sheets for this. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until nicely browned. 23 minutes is perfect for my oven. I usually switch the trays halfway through since the lower rack of my oven is a different temp than the middle.
- Cool the bagels: Let them cool for at least 30 minutes on a baking rack before slicing them with a serrated knife; the crumb will be better. Though nothing compares to fresh warm bagels.
- Serve: Top with a schmear ( vegan cream cheese) and vegan lox (smoked salmon), available in my Plant-Based Jewish Recipes e-book or whatever else you like, and enjoy!
- Store: Store leftover bagels up to 3 days in an airtight container (I always just throw them in my cake carrier!) Bagels freeze exceptionally well; wrap in plastic wrap and then freezer paper. Freeze up to 3 months. Defrost, throw in the toaster oven, then slice with a serrated knife and enjoy!
- Note 1: All purpose flour will not be able to produce a nice firm chewy bagel, though if you’re OK with a much softer and inferior (sorry not sorry) bagel, go right ahead and use AP flour.
- Note 2: Could you use whole wheat flour? Yes, I actually think you could, and it might taste pretty good. It might be not quite as deliciously chewy as a bread flour bagel, but it’s certainly worth a try, especially if you’re interested in eating more whole grains. You could also experiment with spelt flour. I actually recommend you wait and try experimenting with the flour until AFTER you’ve made this recipe as written once or twice.
- Note 3: I’ve tested and retested this recipe to make it awesome for you all and I also think that it can be challenging to really know how you can alter a recipe without ever having made it. I speak from experience as a recipe developer (hi, you’re reading my blog, obviously). Make my recipe as written, learn how the dough should feel, then experiment with flour type. You’ll know whether to add more liquid or more flour based on the feel of the dough rather than guesswork.
- Note 4: Experiment with toppings! You can use any toppings you like. I LOVE everything bagel seasoning so that’s what I use. Other toppings could be all poppy seeds, garlic, onion, flaky salt, a little black salt (to make it taste like an egg bagel), or you could go sweet and do cinnamon sugar (fold raisins into your dough if you like!).