Jillian is a food-allergic adult and mama with years of personal experience to share with the greater food-allergic community.
For many with food allergies, fresh, store-bought bagels are off-limits. Not just for what they contain, but also because of potential cross-contamination risks with allergens such as milk, eggs, nuts, peanuts, soy, sesame, and even fish! Bake your own fresh bagels at home without any of that worry.
Inspired By My New York Roots
Growing up in New York City, I took for granted the fresh, hot bagels with just a hint of sweetness that can't be duplicated elsewhere. I no longer have this luxury now that we have moved. But also, with a sesame seed allergy, a bagel store is just not the place for me. Feeling inspired by my hometown and motivated to still enjoy my favorite foods, I set out to make some safe bagels.
My son, who has multiple food allergies including milk and eggs, had never even experienced a fresh bagel right out of the oven. Looking back now, I don't know how we went so many years without bagels. I happily bake them every week for my family.
My Allergen-Free Recipe
This recipe is free of most major allergens (no egg wash here!), with the exception of wheat. Hopefully you can share it with all of your loved ones. If you have a gluten-free alternative or flour mixture that works well with this recipe, please share your thoughts in the comments!
I take full advantage of my bread machine as much as possible to do the laborious kneading and rising of the dough, but alternatively, this recipe can be whipped up with a food processor (using the dough blade) or a stand mixer with the dough hook. You will need a nice warm spot for the dough to rise and a bit of patience.
Boiling Is Crucial
Regardless of how the dough is kneaded, the bagels must be cut and formed, briefly boiled, and then baked in an oven. Don't skip the boiling step, as tempting as that may be. The boiling/baking process is what gives them the chewy texture with a crisp outside that is the definition of a bagel. Start to finish, this process will take a few hours, depending on how you prepare the dough.
Preparation and Baking Times
|Prep time||Cook time||Ready in||Yields|
3 hours 20 min
About a dozen bagels
Ingredients for the Dough
- 2 1/4 cups water, 100 degrees F
- 1/2 cup oil of your choice
- 5 1/2 cups bread flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon rapid rise yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
Ingredients for Toppings
Whatever you like! I use:
- Coarse salt crystals (NOTE: A little goes a long way! Do not oversalt.)
- Dried minced onions
- Dried minced garlic
We have seed allergies, but poppy and sesame seeds are popular.
Step 1: Prepare the Dough
You have 4 options to prepare the dough: bread machine, food processor using the dough blade, stand mixer, or by hand.
- If using a bread machine, follow your specific model's instructions regarding the order of ingredients. Typically, the liquids go in first, and then the dry ingredients.
- Then set the machine to the dough setting, and let it run its course. My bread machine's dough setting is an hour and a half of kneading and rising.
- Once complete, you are ready to roll out the dough and no further kneading or rising is necessary. You can skip the points that follow in this section, and go straight to "Step 2: Forming The Bagels".
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Food Processor or Stand Mixer
- If using a food processor or stand mixer, start by proofing the yeast in the mixing bowl that comes with your stand mixer or food processor. Warm up the water, add the sugar and stir to dissolve. Then add the yeast, and do not stir. Allow it to sit for 10 minutes.
- Combine this with the remaining ingredients, starting with the oil, then slowly adding the flour and salt, and mix well. The food processor will only need to run for a few minutes. The stand mixer with dough blade will need to run 10 minutes.
If kneading by hand, it may take longer.
- First, proof the yeast as described above.
- Then add the oil.
- Then make a pile of dry ingredients on a clean surface, and slowly work in all of the wet ingredients. The dough should be stiff and not sticky. If it's too sticky, knead in more flour.
How to Let the Dough Rise
- Pre-warm and lightly grease a large bowl.
- Once the dough has been thoroughly kneaded either by hand or with the processor/mixer, form it into a ball and lightly grease it. Place it into the prepared bowl and cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap.
- Place it somewhere warm to allow to rise for at least 2 hours.
Step 2: Form the Bagels
- After the dough has risen, lay it out onto a floured surface. Separately, lay out some floured parchment paper to place the formed bagels.
- Using a large round biscuit cutter, cut the dough into balls. Roll the cutter in a circular motion with the cut dough inside to round it off all the way around. Remove the cutter. Holding the dough ball with both thumbs in the hole, rotate the dough with your hands, gradually stretching it to create a larger hole, roughly 2 inches in diameter. Do this about 12 times to form each bagel.
- Place the shaped bagels on the floured parchment paper to rest. Loosely place a towel over the top. Set a timer for 30 minutes.
This is a great opportunity to clean up, take out your toppings, and get a big pot of water ready to boil. Also, place a large wooden cutting board near the pot. You will rest your boiled bagels on this to dry slightly and add toppings before baking them.
Step 3: Boil
- Before you begin boiling the bagels, set aside 2 large baking pans with parchment paper. I typically fit 6 bagels to a standard large cookie sheet.
- Pre-heat your oven to 400°F.
- Once your water is boiling and the bagels have rested for half an hour, drop 2 or 3 bagels at a time into the boiling water (depending on how many will fit into your pot).
- Allow them to boil about 20 seconds, then gently flip them so the other side can boil.
- After about 20 seconds more, remove them from the water with a large slotted spoon or spatula. (Note that overboiling the bagels will result in flatter bagels.)
- Place them on the wooden cutting board to drain.
Step 4: Top the Bagels
At this point, you may drop in more bagels. But before you remove those, you should add your toppings to the bagels that are already resting while they are still damp. Allowing them to dry too much will prevent the toppings from sticking.
- I usually add the toppings to one side, then flip them over to a drier side of the cutting board. Then add toppings to the 2nd side.
- At this point, I also sometimes need to use my fingers to widen the hole a little bit after boiling. Be careful not to burn yourself, because the dough is hot.
- After a little bit, you can transfer the bagels with toppings to the large baking sheet covered with parchment paper. They are ready to be baked.
Step 5: Bake
- Bake the bagels for about 10 to 15 minutes, then rotate the trays and flip each bagel to ensure even browning.
- Bake another 10 minutes or so.
- The bagels should be a golden color, bounce back when pressed on, and should not be doughy in the middle. If the middles seem doughy still, allow them to bake a few minutes more and check again.
- Remove the bagels and allow them to cool thoroughly before handling. They are very hot!
- Slice and enjoy! They freeze well, too!
If you try this recipe, please rate it, and comment what you think of it. Thank you!
© 2018 Jillian Erin