Whole Wheat Pumpkin Bagels

Baking bread from scratch may seem like a daunting task, especially the thought of making bagels.  Call me crazy, but I find it totally fulfilling in every way.  By working with the simplest of ingredients, flour and water, and adding a living organism, yeast, you can watch it bubble and rise into the freshest homemade bread.   It’s not that I make bagels often as it does involve a two-day process and a commitment of time.  So when I do commit to making bagels, it’s normally on a weekend.  Saturday involves the major part of the process and I busy myself with catching up on other things while the dough rises and rests.  Sunday is the fun day, waking up to boil and bake those gorgeous bagels!!

Pumpkin, of course, is just fitting for this time of year and probably not a surprise to anyone who knows me that I’d be adding pumpkin to my bagel recipe!  For baking breads I follow Peter Reinhart’s recipes from Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread.  His bagel recipe does not include pumpkin so I tweaked it a bit to make it work.  I also added in vital wheat gluten, which is optional but I learned this from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day that whole wheat flour needs to have extra gluten added. 

Being prepared, taking it one step at a time and using a stand up mixer with a dough hook will make the process easy and the end result…fresh from the oven bagels!!  I did a quick calorie calculation on these as we all know bagels are not low in calories.   But by making 16 bagels out of this recipe, the calories came in at 220 per bagel.  Plus there is no fat, 4 grams of fiber and 7 grams of protein!  Not so bad for a bagel!  As shown in the photo, I made a pumpkin hummus spread to top on the bagels, basically adding about ¾ cup of pumpkin puree to my basic hummus recipe.   

The bagels freeze well so when my daughter finally comes home to visit for Thanksgiving, I will have pumpkin bagels for her!!

Pumpkin Bagels

Adapted from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice

For the sponge:

1 teaspoon instant yeast

4 cups white whole wheat flour

4 teaspoons vital wheat gluten, optional

2 1/2 cups water, room temperature

For the dough:

1/2 teaspoon instant yeast

4 cups whole wheat flour

6 teaspoons vital wheat gluten, optional

1 cup pumpkin puree

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon cloves

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

3 teaspoons Kosher salt

2 teaspoons malt syrup, honey or brown sugar

For boiling and finishing:

1 tablespoon baking soda

Cornmeal or semolina flour for dusting

Sesame seeds, poppy seeds, kosher salt optional for sprinkling on top

Day One

To make the sponge:  Stir the yeast into the flour and vital wheat gluten in a 4 quart mixing bowl.  Add the water, whisking only until it forms a smooth, sticky batter (like pancake batter).  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for 2 hours or until mixture becomes very foamy and bubbly and double in size.

To make the dough:  Using a stand up mixer to knead the dough, dump the sponge and the additional yeast into the large mixing bowl.  If making by hand, add yeast to the same bowl containing the sponge.  Stir yeast into the sponge.  Add 3 cups of the flour, the vital wheat gluten, pumpkin, spices and malt syrup.  Mix on low-speed with the dough hook or stir by hand until the ingredients form a ball, slowly working in the additional cup of flour.  Transfer the dough to the counter and knead by hand for 10 minutes or continue kneading with the dough hook for about 6 minutes.  The dough should be firm but still pliable and not tacky or sticky.  If the dough seems tacky or sticky add a bit more flour.

Shape the dough into a large ball and cut in quarters.  Cut each quarter into 4 so that you have 16 balls of dough.  Place the balls of dough on a large baking sheet and cover with a damp towel.  Allow to rest for 20 minutes.

Line two sheet pans with slipat or parchment paper and lightly spray with oil.  Shape the dough ball into a bagel by pressing your thumb in the center to form a whole and gently widen it with your hands to the shape of a bagel.  Make sure the dough is evenly stretched.  Place the bagels on
the sheet pans and lightly spray the tops with oil.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rest for another 20 minutes. 

After 20 minutes, check the bagels to make sure they are ready to be refrigerated by dropping one bagel in a bowl of water.  If it floats to the top within 10 seconds, they are ready to be refrigerated up to two days.  If not, allow the bagels to rest another 10-20 minutes and test again.

Baking Day

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees having two racks set in the middle of the oven.  Prepare the baking sheets by spraying the slipat or parchment paper with oil and sprinkling on the cornmeal to prevent sticking.  Bring a large wide pot of water to a boil and add the baking soda.  Drop in only 1-2-3 bagels at a time that will fit the pot without crowding.  They should float immediately.  Boil for 1 minute and then flip over and boil the over side for 1 minute.  For a chewier bagel, boil for 2 minutes each side.  Using a slotted spoon, lift the bagels from the boiling water and place on the prepared baking sheets.  If topping the bagels, so do as soon as they are taken out of the water and placed on the sheet.

When all the bagels have been boiled, place the sheets into the oven.  Bake for approximately 5 minutes then rotate the pans, switching shelves and turning the pans.  Reduce the oven to 450 degrees and bake another 5 minutes or until they turn a light golden brown or darker if you

Remove the pans from the oven and let the bagels cool on a rack for 15 minutes or longer before serving.  Makes 16 bagels. 

37 thoughts on “Whole Wheat Pumpkin Bagels

  1. I’m giving myself a personal challenge to make these! I’ve made some breads, but never bagels. And, I have to say, most of the bagels we get in Australia are not fresh, and not decent (compared to the ones I tried in America). There look yum!

  2. WHOA. You actually made your own bagels? And pumpkin bagels, yet? I bow to thee.

    As a Montrealer, I take my bagels seriously 🙂 and these look fantastic! I little sweetness in a bagel is perfection; I’m diggin’ the honey.

    1. Thanks Kelly. I take my bagels seriously too. I normally pull out the insides of the bagel as I like to toast my bagels and don’t need all that doughy insides! But these are smaller, so no scooping is needed!

  3. Oh wow, I’ve always wanted to tackle homemade bagels! I worked at a bagel shop, but not in the baking area, so I can’t even claim to have helped there. These look delicious, and heck, 220 cal is GREAT for a bagel! You have one lucky daughter, can I come visit you for Thanksgiving and bagels, too? Haha.

  4. Wonderful!!!! I made bagels only once, when I was baking the whole Bread Baker’s Apprentice book, a couple of years ago. I suffered through them, they were not easy, and mine didn’t turn out very good.

    loved your use of pumpkin, so appropriate for upcoming Thanksgiving… great job!

  5. I could grow to love these! I love the mild spicing in this recipe. These would be a great way to greet the day. I hope you have a wonderful day. Blessings…Mary

  6. I’ve yet to face my fear of making bread from scratch. I’m just afraid I’ll fail miserably. But, I guess I’ll have to try eventually or else I’ll never learn! These look awesome, Linda!

  7. These are great, Lynda. You’ve broken down the process into easy-to-follow steps and the end-result is low-cal !!! You can’t ask for more than that. I’m glad you included the note that these freeze well. More than anything, that will tempt me to bake them otherwise they’d just be another bunch of bagels growing hard on a counter.

  8. My wife Liz, a NYC gal, made this bagels a while back and thought it was as close as she has tasted to the real thing outside of the city. Time consuming, but oh so satisfying. Love your adaptation here!

  9. That’s awesome you made your own bagels. I haven’t made bagels in years b/c I tend to eat them all in a couple of days! They turned out so perfect, in color and texture too. I am loving your pumpkin recipes!

  10. Wow Linda! These look so good. Try as I might, making bread is just not something that I find relaxing or fulfilling. I keep trying too. 😉 If I ever get the hang of it, I’ll have to give these a try. I have no doubt we’d all love them here!

  11. So it is true: bagels need to be boiled first! I am impressed you have made them on your own and they look so neat and delicious! Whole wheat and pumpkin use sounds like a very creative and healthy modification.

  12. I’m truly impressed that you made your own bagels! Knowing all the wonderful things you have made, I guess I have to admire your achievements a little more.

  13. Oh the bagels look perfect! Perfect shape, perfect rise and perfect flavor with the pumpkin. Now I will take a few please? I love the idea of using whole wheat too- so they are flavorful, yummy and healthy! YEAH

  14. Oooh, this reminds me – my wife made bagels a while back and they were wonderful… at least, for the first ever attempt at making them! Love the things!

    Now you’ve got me in bagel-mood again! Will have to give something like this a try methinks!

    1. You can certainly use it for both. I did use whole wheat for this recipe for the dough and the blend inthe sponge, but I’ve made it using the blend (white/wheat) for both. Hope you like it!!

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