Homemade Whole Wheat Bagels

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There are some foods I believe are worth buying rather than making yourself. If you asked me two years ago, I would have said bagels were one of them.


However, over the past year, I’ve been trying to master the art of whole-grain bread baking. Baking yeast breads (not quick-cooking) is very time consuming, so I don’t do it all that often, but when I make the time for it, the results are always marvelous.


These bagels did not take nearly as long as some breads I’ve made in the past. They really only require one hour of “hands-on” time. You can handle that, can’t you?


I first attempted making bagels one time about a year ago, but this recipe turned out much, much better. I think having completed the process once before (errr…learning from my mistakes) really helped. Additionally, this time around I used White Whole Wheat flour, which makes for a lighter and less dense bagel than regular Whole Wheat flour.


If you make the dough the night before, like I did, all you have to do it pull it out of the fridge the next morning and allow it to come to room temperature (about 30 minutes). Before you know it, you will have freshly baked bagels within the hour!


You can top your bagels with whatever you like. I opted for sesame seeds and rolled oats. Next time I am going to take a stab at Cinnamon Raisin bagels – my childhood favorite.


After baking, these bagels are crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. They are the perfect size for my liking (slightly smaller than the typical bakery bagel). We ate these as soon as I pulled them out of the oven alongside scrambled eggs. It was the perfect protein and whole-grain packed breakfast to keep us going until lunch.


If you are a beginner bread-maker, I urge you to try this recipe. It is simple, involves very little kneading, and doesn’t require the patience of a saint.

Go, get to it! The carbs are screaming your name!



Homemade Whole Wheat Bagels
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 8
  • 1 package active dry yeast (about 1 TBSP)
  • 1⅓ cups (11 oz) warm water (not hot), divided
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 3.5 cups White Whole Wheat Flour (16 oz)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
Toppings (Optional)
  • 1 whole egg + 1 teaspoon water, beaten
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Rolled Oats
  • Poppy Seeds
  • Minced Garlic
  • Asiago Cheese
  • Sunflower Seeds
  1. In a small bowl combine the yeast with ¼ cup of the warm water and 1 teaspoon of the sugar. Stir to combine. Allow to sit for 10 minutes until the yeast mixture becomes foamy (if it does not foam then something is wrong with your yeast).
  2. In a large bowl combine the white whole wheat flour, yeast mixture, remaining water, remaining sugar, and salt. Knead for 10 minutes by hand or 5 minutes in a stand mixer. If the dough seems too dry, add an additional Tablespoon of water. Place the dough in a large clean and lightly greased mixing bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel and allow to rise in a warm place for 2 hours*. The dough should approximately double in size.
  3. Place the dough on a clean counter space or large cutting board. Divide the dough into 8 equal sized pieced. Roll each piece gently into a ball. Using your index finger, poke a hole in the middle of each ball. Gently pick up the dough and swirl it around your index finger a few times to make the hole a bit larger. Repeat with all of the balls of dough. Allow to rest for 15 minutes.
  4. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Grease the parchment paper (to prevent any possible sticking). While the dough is resting, bring a large pot of water to a low boil. Add 1 Tablespoon of sugar to the water. Drop half of the bagels into the pot. If they sink, allow them to float to the top (you may need to use a spoon to push them to the top). Once floating, boil the bagels for 1 minute and then flip and boil for an additional minute on the other side. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bagels. Place them on the baking sheet. Repeat until all bagels have been boiled.
  5. If you are using toppings for your bagels, liberally coat the tops of each bagel with the egg wash. Sprinkle the toppings onto the bagels. Bake for 15 minutes, then rotate the pan 180 degrees and bake for an additional 10 minutes. The bagels should be golden brown on top. Allow to bake a few additional minutes longer for crispier bagels.
*Alternatively, you can put the dough in the fridge overnight for up to 12 hours and allow it to rise in the fridge. If you choose this option, make sure to allow the dough to come to room temperature before baking in the morning. Be cautious because the longer it sits, it will become sour (think sourdough).


  • The Cookie Writer
    June 24, 2014 - 11:51 am | Permalink

    These look awesome! I have made my own bread and should really expand to bagels, English muffins, etc. Ever since making homemade tortillas, I cannot go back to store-bought!

    • Rachel (littlechefbigappetite)
      June 24, 2014 - 12:19 pm | Permalink

      I hope you make them and love them as much as I did!

  • RealCheapFood
    January 28, 2015 - 5:53 am | Permalink

    Thanks! I’m glad I found this recipe, along with the pictures. I’ve started experimenting with making bagles, and this recipe — I can see already — is going to help me an awful lot!

    • Rachel (littlechefbigappetite)
      January 28, 2015 - 8:21 pm | Permalink

      I am so glad to hear it! Let me know how they turn out for you!

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