Fife Wholemeal Bagels


by Louise Oliver

It seems the New York bagel is something kids and adults alike adore for packed lunch or breakfast. The Fife wholemeal bagel is tastier and not as hard to make as you may think. It does take time but if you have other things you need to do, take a longer break between each kneading stage. Time, more than kneading, is necessary for a good bagel. You can play around with the sizes that you need. Make a batch for later as they freeze well and quickly defrost. They also taste delicious topped with oats, pumpkin seeds or salt. That’s before the fillings are even thought of.

This recipe has been adapted from Dan Lepard’s white bagel recipe, found in his book ‘Short and Sweet’.  If you want to make this version just use strong white flour in place of the wholemeal and an extra teaspoon of salt.

Makes 8


1 teaspoon fast action yeast
250g strong wholemeal flour
250g strong white flour
1 teaspoon sea salt or 2 teaspoon of salt.
1 tablespoon of caster sugar
300ml warm water
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
oil for kneading
5 tablespoon of malt sugar or brown sugar
a 2 litre saucepan of boiling water
pumpkin seeds/oats for the topping


Mix together the flour, yeast, salt and caster sugar in a bowl and then add the warm water and vinegar. Give this a mix with a spoon until a firm dough is formed. The dough will be quite dry but this will result in a chewy bagel. If you prefer a fluffier bagel, add some more water. Cover the bowl with a tea towel or cling film and put in a warm part of the house for at least 10 minutes.

Knead the dough for 10 seconds on a very lightly oiled surface. This light kneading process needs repeating twice more, again with 10 minute intervals.

One this is done put the dough back in the bowl, cover and leave for an hour, again in a warm part of the house.

Divide the dough into 8 pieces, roughly 90g each and roll them into smooth balls.  Place them on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper and cover again with a tea towel and leave for 20 minutes.

When you are ready to shape and cook the bagels, pop on a large pan of water to boil and heat your oven to 220ºC/ Gas 7.

Next comes the shaping! A simple way to do this is to stick a finger in the middle and use your other fingers to stretch the dough away.

Add the malt/sugar to the steadily boiling water and add 1 or 2 bagels at a time.  Poach them in the water for roughly 30- 60 seconds, then use a spoon or tongs to turn them over and cook for a further 30- 60 seconds.  Then put them back on the greaseproof lined tray and sprinkle a handful of seeds or oats on each bagel.

For smaller bagels bake for 25 minutes whilst larger ones need 30. They should be a lovely golden brown colour. Let the bagels cool on a tray.

They can be sliced and gobbled up with a good spreading of butter/ hummus/ cheese or whatever takes your fancy.