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(Experiment 39) Montreal bagels

Obviously being from Montreal these have been an integral part of my regime for years. I was curious about its origin and why there is this “war” with the NY style bagel. My understanding is that in both cases, the bagel was introduced by Jewish immigrants coming over to the “new world”.

Bagels from Montreal are dense and sweeter, you can eat them on their own. Traditionally they are baked in a wood oven, contain no salt, and parboiled in sweet water.

You need 

  • 700g bread flour
  • 2-3tbsp honey or maple syrup
  • 8g dry malt or 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 egg
  • 50g sugar
  • 2tbsp oil
  • 8g active dry yeast
  • 350g warm water ( about 100F)
  • Seasoning: Sesame seeds and/or poppy seeds etc


**If you use a baking steel, heat it up after the first rise.

  1. In a stand mixer bowl(if you don’t have one, just do it all by hands), put the flour, yeast, dry malt ( if you don’t have it add honey in the next step), and sugar, give it a little stir. Put the bowl in the stand mixer along with the hook attachment then add the water, egg, and oil. Mix on medium-low for 2-3 minutes. This dough is very dense and your stand mixer will have a rough time kneading it. Once everything is mixed and you have somewhat of a dough ball go to the next step.
  2. Dump the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead it manually for another 5-7 minutes. Cover the ball either in an airtight container, I just put the mixing bowl on top of the ball, let it rest for 60 minutes.
  3. Take the dough and gently punch it down(like the name implies you punch it down, but do it gently. It releases the pocket of gasses in the dough)  and either cut 12 pieces and shape them or just wing it by cutting a piece out, shape and cut whatever is extra. Each piece should be about 100g.
  4. To shape the bagel, press down on it and roll in order to form a long roll, close each end, and give it a small roll ( putting your hand in the hole and give it a roll, this ensure you seal the seam). Continue with the rest of the dough. Let the bagel rest for 15 mins. 
  5. In a large pot, fill it about halfway with water, add the honey or maple syrup. Bring to a boil while mixing to ensure the honey/syrup is dissolved.  Now it’s time to parboil the bagel, add 2 at a time, and cook for about 60 seconds, flipping over halfway. Remove them from the hot water and dip them in your favorite seasonings right away as they will be sticky but not for too long. Line them on a baking tray covered with parchment paper. Reserve and continue with the remaining bagels.
  6. Bake them in the oven at 425F for 15 minutes or until they are golden brown. If you use a baking steel, put your baking tray right on top of the steel.
  7. Let them cool on a wire rack and eat within 3 days. You can freeze those up for about 2 months. Do yourself a favor if you freeze them and cut them in half before, you can then take them out of the freezer straight in the toaster,

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1 Comment

  1. Guy May 7, 2023

    Your article made me realize how lucky I live in Montréal. Best bagel!!

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