Cinnamon and Raisin Bagels

Cinnamon and raisin bagels
I love bagels for breakfast. Cinnamon and raisin ones are my favourite.

Funny, though, I had never tried making them before. I'd thought about it once or twice, decided it might be too faffy and never given it a go.

Well, it's not too faffy. Not really. I've baked a lot of bread since those d'you-know-what-I'll-just-buy-them days. I've learnt a lot about technique and I've read a lot about bagels.

The final nudge came from a friend, wondering if bagel-buying was an unnecessarily pricey affair, and if she couldn't make a nicer, cheaper bagel by herself.

So, I've created a bagel recipe.

This one's for you, Charlee.

The Recipe

500g/17 oz/3⅓ cups strong plain flour
1 tsp instant dried yeast
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp ground cinnamon
85g/3 oz/½ cup raisins
290ml/9½ fl oz/1¼cups water

1. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl, squishing them together firmly with your hand.

This does make a very firm dough. When I was experimenting with this recipe, I tried taking my own advice that bagels need only 50% hydration. Well ha! I could hardly move the dough, let alone knead it, so I added more water. And more. This '290ml' of water is the minimum hydration level at which I could actually work the dough without breaking my hand. Feel free to try less water, if you're very strong.

2. Tip the dough out onto the worktop and knead it.

Now here, you need to know that my recent training suggested that it is necessary to knead for 10 minutes. You could try that, for optimal results, but, since we're all busy people, I'd say a few minutes will do. You're aiming for a smooth dough.

Oh, and if you try to work with only 50% water, prepare to utterly pulverise the raisins.

3. Pop the mixing bowl (upturned, obviously) over the dough and leave it to ferment for 45 minutes, give or take the odd unexpected nappy change or two.

4. When you return to the dough, it's time for some pre-shaping. I know, I know. I've been promising to explain about pre-shaping but I've had a few unexpected nappy changes to attend to. And the rest. There are three of them, you know(!)

In this case, the pre-shaping involves cutting the dough into 10 pieces (equal sized ones - but you guessed that, didn't you?) and making them round, like bread rolls.

I do the bread-roll shaping by flattening out my chunk of dough, then working round in a clockwise direction, bringing the edges into the middle. Then, turn it over so that the messy bit is at the bottom.

Leave the pre-shaped dough to rest for about 15 minutes.

Fresh Bagels For Breakfast...

It's worth adding, at this point, that I did a successful batch of bagels last week leaving them at this pre-shaped stage in my (very) cold kitchen overnight. In the morning, all I had to do was boil and bake them - and hey presto! We had fresh bagels for breakfast.

5. Now the fun bit.

Bring a large pan of water to the boil and add 2 tablespoons of sugar. Get your baking tray ready. Preheat the oven to 180oC/360F. That's not the fun bit. I'm coming to that.

Use the handle of a wooden spoon to poke a hole through the middle of each bagel. Twirl it round a bit and stretch it out to be about 3cm wide.

6. Plop the bagels into the boiling water. You can probably get two or three in at a time. The bagels will sink, initially, then bob to the surface. You should boil them for one or two minutes. Certainly don't remove them before they float. Leaving them slightly longer will result in a chewier bagel.

The bagels will puff up slightly and form a skin.

7. Take the bagels out of the pan with a fish-slice to allow the water to drain away. Perhaps blot them dry on a clean dish-cloth, otherwise your baking tray will become flooded. Place the bagels on the baking tray.

8. Bake at 180oC/360F for about 15 minutes or until nicely browned.

9. Eat.

I like to toast bought bagels. Homemade bagels taste delicious without toasting (although do well toasted, too). We ate ours with lashings of butter (of course) and they went down well.

But were they cheaper?

The price breakdown:

Flour ~ 27p
Yeast ~ negligible
Salt ~ negligible
Cinnamon ~ 10p, if that.
Raisins ~ 24p
Water ~ negligible

Total cost of ingredients: 61p. For 10 bagels. 10 really delicious, no-added-rubbish bagels.
That's 6p per bagel.
You could add something on for the salt, the yeast and the water, if you want. And the cooking.
But it's unlikely that you'd get a figure of 32p per bagel, which is what that supermarket beginning with T and ending in 'esco' charges for New York Bakery Co cinnamon and raisin bagels.

Even if you get two packs for £2 (the current offer), that's still 20p per bagel.

That other supermarket (the one beginning with A and ending with 'sda') charges £1.28 for a 4-pack* of New York Bakery Co cinnamon and raisin bagels. That's 32p a bagel.
*Eh?! How come one supermarket sells 5-packs and the other 4-packs? Who knew?!

So, there you have it. Much waffling and mind-boggling maths. It seems that paying more than 10p per bagel is comparatively expensive, but how much do you value your time?

Can we make nicer, cheaper bagels ourselves?



  1. Tempting - and not yet tried........

  2. I am definately going to try these!

  3. Did you really mean 2 tbsp of cinnamon? Seems a lot, so I wonder whether 2 tsp was meant.

    1. Definitely tablespoons, but feel free to adjust to your personal taste :)

  4. I made these and loved them. So many recipes also add sugar but I found the sweetness of the raisins compensated.

    1. Yes it's true :) No need to go adding unnecessary extra sugar. Glad you liked them!


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