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Gluten-Free Bagels

Why This Recipe Works

All too often, the best part of a gluten-free bagel is the cream cheese smeared on top. We knew developing a really good gluten-free bagel with a crisp crust and substantial chew was setting the bar high since even traditional bagels rely on lots of tricks. To start, we compiled a variety of recipes and substituted our all-purpose gluten-free flour blend. The first round of bagels were like small, dense hockey pucks. Despite their problems, bagels that were boiled before baking had a nice crisp crust. The slightly alkaline water (due to the baking soda) cooked the exterior starches on the bagels, giving them a glossy sheen, while the baking soda also helped the bagels brown. We got rid of the multiple proofing steps because with ­multiple rising steps we were deflating the dough, so we shaped the bagels right out of the mixer and proofed them for just 30 minutes. We then drastically increased the amount of water in the dough from the traditional 55 percent hydration (in glutenous bagels) to 85 percent in hopes that it would open the crumb. The bagels rose high, but when they hit the boiling water they started to fall apart. Psyllium husk powder and xanthan gum made the dough easier to work with and keeping the boiling time to 10 seconds also helped. Next we swapped some of our flour blend for high-protein oat flour, which produced a uniform interior crumb. We missed the nutty flavor that malt syrup usually adds to bagels and found that molasses was the perfect substitute.

Ingredients

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13.3 ounces (1 2/3 cups) warm water (110 degrees) for dough, plus 4 quarts for boiling bagels
1 tablespoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon molasses
13 ½ ounces (3 cups) ATK All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour Blend
2 ounces (2/3 cup) gluten-free oat flour
1 ½ tablespoons powdered psyllium husk
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon xanthan gum
1 tablespoon baking soda

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Instructions

Makes 6 bagels

We learned that baking the bagels at 425 degrees for the first half of the baking time ensured a nice rise, then turning down the oven to 350 degrees dried out the interiors without the exteriors getting too dark. To make these bagels dairy-free, substitute Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks for butter and reduce salt to 1 teaspoon.

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200 degrees. As soon as oven reaches 200 degrees, turn it off. (This will be warm proofing box for dough. Do not begin step 2 until oven has been turned off.) Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with vegetable oil spray.

2. Combine 13.3 ounces warm water, yeast, and sugar in bowl and let sit until bubbly, about 5 minutes. Whisk in melted butter and molasses. Using stand mixer fitted with paddle, mix flour blend, oat flour, psyllium, baking powder, salt, and xanthan gum on low speed until combined, about 1 minute Slowly add yeast mixture and mix until combined, about 1 minute, scraping down bowl as needed. Increase speed to medium and beat until dough is sticky and uniform, about 6 minutes. (Dough will be quite stiff.)

3. Divide dough into 6 equal pieces (5 1/4 ounces each). Working with 1 piece of dough at a time, roll into 9-inch-long rope (do not taper ends). Bring ends of rope together to form circle, overlapping ends by 1 inch. Gently pinch ends of dough together to seal. Pick up bagel, and using two fingers, gently roll seam against counter to reshape; transfer to prepared sheet.

4. Cover loosely with plastic wrap, place sheet in warmed oven, and let rise for 10 minutes; do not let plastic touch oven rack. Remove sheet from oven and let sit on counter until dough is puffy and has risen by 50 percent, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, heat oven to 425 degrees. Bring 4 quarts water and baking soda to boil in Dutch oven.

5. Working with 1 bagel at a time, place in boiling water and cook for 10 seconds, flipping them over halfway through cooking. Using wire skimmer, return bagels to sheet, right side up, with flat bottoms against pan.

6. Set sheet with bagels inside second rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees, rotate sheet, and continue to bake until bagels are evenly golden brown, about 20 minutes.

7. Remove bagels from oven and let cool on sheet for 5 minutes. Transfer bagels to wire rack and cool for at least 20 minutes before serving. (Cooled bagels can be stored in zipper-lock bag at room temperature for up to 3 days. They can also be sliced, wrapped in double layer of plastic wrap, and frozen for up to 1 month.)