I tested vegan bagel recipes for months. I tried different flours, ratios, sweeteners and toppings. Experimented with overnight refrigeration and skipping it. Tested repeatedly with and without egg substitute washes. And fed my family and friends baskets full of vegan bagels throughout it all!
New York vs Montreal Style
There are 2 main types of bagels that people go crazy for: boiled and steamed. Or as they’re better known: New York Style and Montreal Style. New York Style Bagels tend to be chewier, denser and boiled. Montreal Style Bagels tend to be lighter, fluffier and steamed. Whichever style you prefer, I think we can all agree – bagels are downright delicious.
This recipe is sticking more true to the classic New York Style Bagel. With overnight refrigeration and boiling prior to baking, we’re going all-in on the chewy crumb.
Vegan Bagels, Vegan Bagels, Vegan Bagels!
These vegan bagels are by far everyone’s hands-down favorite. Light, chewy, and flavorful all on their own, these bagels are also perfect for slathering with my Vegan Cream Cheese for an even more decadent treat. A breakfast classic for any day of the week, bagels are a true favorite in our family. A slight change in delicious toppings though, and they’re a showstopper at any brunch.
I have tried these bagels with Instant Yeast as well as Traditional Active Dry Yeast. I must say, I prefer the Traditional Active Dry variety for this particular recipe. When proofing the yeast, the temperature of the water is important. Ideally, it should be 110 degrees. A candy thermometer can help get you close on temperature if you have one on hand. The trick here is the Malt Syrup.
If it’s the first time you’re using a brand new jar of Malt Syrup and it is at room temperature, then the usual water temperature for mixing will be fine. I keep my Malt Syrup in the fridge though, which is important to do once the jar has been opened the first time. Since it is refrigerated, it cools the water down significantly once it is mixed together.
The best way to handle this is to begin with boiling hot water straight out of the kettle. I find that the refrigerated syrup cools the water just enough that the yeast can proof and the bagels turn out perfectly. If you’re unsure of how much your refrigerated Malt Syrup has cooled the hot water, check it with your trusty candy thermometer again before adding the yeast – just to be sure 🙂
The Perfect Chewy Crumb
Bread flour is higher in protein that All Purpose Flour. If you have access to a high gluten flour – great! But most of us don’t keep that ingredient in the pantry. What I do keep in our pantry is bread flour. It has a higher gluten concentration than all purpose, and will help give bagels that extra “chew”.
In further pursuit of that perfect chewy crumb, I also spiff up the bread flour with some extra Vital Wheat Gluten. Bob’s Red Mill makes a nice little bag that I like to use, but whatever is readily available at your local grocery store will totally do the trick.
Boiling bagels is another essential step that is totally worth the effort. The key is to boil for 20-30 seconds on each side. The water doesn’t penetrate very far into the bagel, and it really sets that chewy exterior.
For the boiling solution, dissolve 1/4 cup of sugar and 1 tablespoon of baking soda into 2 liters of water. I usually boil 2-3 bagels at a time depending on the size of pot used. A spider strainer makes flipping the bagel easy. Just pull up gently on one side and the bagel basically flips itself. It’s also the easiest tool for getting the bagels out of the water quickly and in tact after the boiling stage.
Shaping the Bagels
After the first rise, it’s time to shape the bagels! This is my favorite part of the process. Well, it’s right up there with kneading the dough. I love any part where I get to be hands on working with the dough. If you’re a tactile person like me, I’m sure it will be your favorite part of the process, too.
There are basically two ways to go about shaping. The easy way is to roll the dough into a ball and poke a hole through the middle with your finger. From there, stretch the dough out into the size or bagel you want. And try to get all of the sides and even thickness all the way around. This is a great way to go about bagels if you’re just starting out, or if you’re not yet super comfortable working with dough.
Traditional Method for Shaping
The traditional way to shape the bagels takes a bit of practice. In this way, you divide the dough into eight even pieces. Take one piece and roll it into long tube about the length of a school ruler. Take the ends and overlap them to close the circle. Roll the ends together until they are smooth and as seamless as possible. It’s fun to play around with shaping until you get you’re bagels looking like they came fresh from the local bakery every time. It’s really a skill once you’ve got it down!
Whichever shaping method you decide to use, have fun with it. You’ll notice that each way gives you a far different look in the finished product. Each method will also take varying amounts of time. Sometimes I still default to the “poke and shape” method when the kids are needing my attention and time is short. Either way, after shaping it’s time for refrigeration. Lay the bagels on a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the fridge for 12-18 hours before boiling and baking.
Storing Vegan Bagels
Vegan Bagels are best eaten fresh out of the oven! They will keep at room temperature for the day. Keep them out of the fridge because that will dry them out quickly. The freezer is the best place to store any leftovers. In airtight bags or containers, cooled bagels will keep well for up to a month when frozen.
So now that we’ve gone over everything BAGEL.. here they are! These versatile bagels can be topped with anything you can dream up. They can handle a variety of mix-ins at the dough stage. And they come up winners every time! We hope you enjoy them as much as we do!
The BEST Vegan Bagels
- 2 tsp Active Dry Yeast
- 2 tbsp Refrigerated Malt Syrup 42g
- 1⅓ cup Hot Water 290g
- 435 g Bread Flour
- 65 g All Purpose Flour
- 1½ tsp Sea Salt
- 16 g Vital Wheat Gluten
- 2 L Boiling Water
- ¼ cup Sugar
- 1 tbsp Baking Soda
- Dissolve cold malt syrup in hot water (should leave water temperature still very warm to the touch)
- Add Active dry yeast and set aside for 10 minutes to activate
- Mix together dry ingredients
- Create a well in the center and add activated yeast mixture
- Knead with stand mixer or use hand to incorporate wet and dry ingredients
- Turn out onto floured work surface
- Knead 10 minutes
- Place ball of kneaded dough in an oiled bowl and cover with a damp towel to rise 1 hr
- Punch down dough, recover with towel and rest 10 mins
- Divide into 8 pieces and shape into bagels
- Refrigerate covered overnight
- Preheat oven to 400°
- Boil 20 seconds on each side in 2L of water mixed with 1 tbsp baking soda and ¼ cup sugar
- Use a pastry brush to brush water from the boiling pot over the bagels once they are laying flat on the baking sheet after boiling on both sides
- Immediately add coarse sea salt or other desired toppings to wet bagel tops
- Bake 20-30 minutes until golden brown