Cinnamon Raisin Bagels

I love bagels.

When my friend Kat came from NY to visit she asked me if I wanted anything. Bagels, please! 

Back in October when I was home in NY I brought back half a dozen bagels in my purse. Every time I opened my bag on the plane, it smelled of everything bagels. It was awesome. 
I really love bagels you see.

Now that I live in California, I am 3,000 miles from really tasty, fresh bagels. You know, the kind that are light and airy, soft and chewy yet crusty and perfectly yeasty all at the same time.  Hmmm… 

So with my stomach in mind, I wanted to make bagels to enjoy this past weekend. I decided on cinnamon raisin bagels for my first attempt at bagel-making. It was exhausting but fun. My KitchenAid mixer was going haywire trying to mix all that dough.  I eventually had to knead the dough by hand to avoid having flour fly everywhere. 

Beware, this is a two day process. But so worth it. They came out really well and it was hard to wait for them to cool right out of the oven.
This recipe was easy to follow and produced great chewy and crusty bagels!
We had cream cheese but I was in a butter mood.

 It was just like getting a bagel from NY.

The next day, Chris scrambled up some eggs for a bagel sandwich. We at five bagels this weekend. 

Makes 12 large, 16 regular or 24 miniature bagels



  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 4 cups unbleached high-gluten or bread flour
  • 2 1/2 cups water, room-temperature


  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 3 1/2 cups unbleached high-gluten or bread flour
  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 5 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 2 cups loosely packed raisins, rinsed with warm water to remove surface sugar, acid, and natural wild yeast

To Finish

  • 1 Tbsp baking soda
  • Corn meal for dusting

Day 1
*To make the sponge stir the yeast into the flour in a large mixing bowl. Add the water, stirring only until it forms a smooth, sticky batter. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave it at room temperature for around 2 hours, or until the mixture becomes very foamy and bubbly.

*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. Stir (or mix on low speed with the dough hook) until the ingredients form a ball, slowly working in the remaining 1/2 cup flour to stiffen the dough. The dough will feel heavy, and it will take some time for all the flour to incorporate. In the last two minutes of mixing, add in the raisins.

*Transfer the dough to the counter 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. The kneaded dough should feel satiny and pliable but not be tacky.

*Immediately divide into 12 (4.5 ounce) pieces for large bagels, 16 (3.375 ounce) for regular-sized bagels, or 24 (2.25 ounce) for miniature bagels. Form the pieces into rolls.

*Cover the rolls with a damp towel and allow them to rest for approximately 20 minutes.

*Line 2 sheet pans with baking parchment and mist lightly with spray oil. Poke a hole in a ball of bagel dough and gently rotate your thumb around the inside of the hole to widen it to approximately 2 1/2 inches in diameter for a large bagel, 2 inches for a regular one, or just slightly more than one inch for a miniature. The dough should be as evenly stretched as possible.

*Place each of the shaped pieces two inches apart on the pans. Mist the bagels very lightly with the spray oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let the pans sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes.

*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 and cover the pan, and place 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 2
*The following day, preheat the oven to 500 degrees F with the two racks set in the middle of the oven. Bring a large, wide pot of water to a boil, and add the baking soda. Have a slotted spoon or skimmer nearby.

*Remove the bagels from the refrigerator and gently drop them into the water, boiling only a few at a time. After 1 minute, flip them over and boil for another minute. While the bagels are boiling, sprinkle the same parchment-lined sheet pans with cornmeal or semolina flour. Remove the boiled bagels to wire rack while finishing the remaining bagels.

*When all the bagels have been boiled, place the two pans on two middle shelves in the oven. Bake for approximately five minutes, then rotate the pans. After the rotation, lower the oven setting to 450 degrees F and continue baking for about 5 minutes, or until the bagels turn light golden brown.

*Remove the pans from the oven and let the bagels cool on a rack for 15 minutes or longer before serving.


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