Homemade Bagels With Za’atar and Old Bay



We had two really snowy days last week. And it was heaven. The weekend’s snow started with hours and hours of rain-turned-to-sleet-turned-to-snow. The next morning, I woke up and realized that we had a giant blanket of snow! It was everywhere. My first thought? We don’t have enough savory breakfast items in this house! Instead of doing the normal thing of just driving to the store, when you aren’t really snowed in, I decided to take it upon myself to make savory items! What better than bagels? 


I vividly remember never wanting to sleep at the end of high school – and would just bake through the nights. My parents woke up to pastries, and I went to school. I tried to be super-extra quiet so they couldn’t hear me working in the kitchen through the night. The most vivid memory I have of this time in my life, was bagel-making. Their smell is intoxicating. Usually after being in the kitchen with your baked things, you can’t really tell if they smell good in the oven, or not. But you can with bagels. I remembered that smell and the feelings of baking all night when I made these again last week. It’s a really fresh, yeasty smell (my favorite smell).

And I love tapping the exterior of the bagels to hear how crunchy they are – and the hollow “I’M DONE!” sound of perfectly cooked bread.


For this particular batch of bagels, I wanted them to be salty. To cure all of my salty cravings for the snow day so I wouldn’t have to leave the house. You could really put almost any toppings on your bagels, as bagel chains have shown us through the years. My ideal bagel is covered in everything toppings, but with extra garlic, extra onion, and extra salt. So much salt. I didn’t have any dried garlic or onion, so I used the next saltiest, umamiest (umamiest??) thing I could think of: Old Bay. Because when you live in Nebraska and don’t have crab boils, you gotta think of ways to use this salty goodness. I also put za’atar on top of some. Za’atar is amazing spice blend of thyme, sumac, sesame seeds, cumin, salt, and oregano. I, of course, added more salt to mine.

Get creative, and have fun. This makes a ton of bagels. You will have to share with your friends, or – share some and freeze the rest. I recommend cutting them in half the long way first, then freezing They are tough to cut when frozen and having them pre-cut means they can go in the toaster easier and faster.

Homemade Bagels With Old Bay and Za'atar
Chewy, crunchy, dense bagels.
Prep Time
30 min
Total Time
2 hr
Prep Time
30 min
Total Time
2 hr
  1. 7 g active dry yeast
  2. 2 Tbsp sugar
  3. 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  4. 500 mL warm water (about 110 degrees Fahrenheit)
  5. 1 Tbsp salt
  6. 1kg of bread flour
  7. 2 Tbsp sugar
  8. Old Bay
  9. Za'atar
  10. Flaked salt
  1. Mix together the warm water, yeast, sugar and oil. Let it sit for five minutes for the yeast to activate. Add this, plus the flour and salt to a stand mixer with the hook attachment. Mix until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add more flour if it seems too wet. Your machine may have trouble working this dense dough. If it doesn't have trouble, you either have an amazing mixer, or your dough needs more flour. I kneaded mine on the counter for about five minutes to finish it up.
  2. Let rise in a greased bowl, covered, for about 30 minutes - or until doubled in size.
  3. Divide the proofed dough into three sections, then each of those into five sections. Roll each of the 15 pieces into a log about 6-7" long and wrap around into a circle. Pinch the ends together and place on a lined or greased baking sheet. Continue with the remaining dough. Let raise for about 20 minutes, covered, while you do the next step.
  4. Preheat your oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, or as high as it will go. Start a large stock pot filled with water on high heat. Add the 2Tbsp of sugar and bring to a boil.
  5. Once your bagels are proofed and puffy, boil them in the water. You should be able to do two at a time. Boil them for 30 seconds, then flip, and boil for another 30 seconds. Transfer back to the baking sheets and sprinkle liberally with your desired toppings. Continue this until you have a filled baking sheet. Bake one sheet a time in your preheated oven. It should take about 20 minutes. The finished bagels will be nice and golden brown and, when you tap them, they will sound hollow.
Adapted from Nigella Lawson
Adapted from Nigella Lawson
Goldenrod Pastries http://www.goldenrodpastries.com/

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