Cracked Black Pepper and Parmesan Bagels

I have been practicing my bagel making this week.  In fact, this is the first batch of bagels I have made on my own from start to finish.  As a kid, my Mom would make bagels from time to time, and I would help her form them.  Unfortunately, I also remember there being a lot of cursing involved in the process and the bagels resembling some sort of cardboard/rock hybrid.  My Mom was a stickler for whole wheat being 100% whole wheat, and the quality of the whole wheat flour where we were living at the time was really, just, not good. This and the general “ugh, you have to boil them! that’s another complicated step, and way too much work” had thus far discouraged me from even attempting the endeavor, but my set goal of baking all of my own bread this winter, and a craving for the amazing cracked pepper, parmesan bagels sold at the local bagel shop, has worn down my resolve.

As luck would have it, making homemade bagels is not that hard, and now that I have made my first batch, I’m sure that there will be many more to follow.  Yes, the boiling is an extra step, but it’s surprisingly easy and fast.  Bagels also need less rise time and kneading then regular bread which speeds up the process slightly.  The recipe below makes 30 bagels, which is a lot to go through in a week, so I froze half of them after I formed them.  When I’m ready to bake the rest of them, it is only a matter of removing them from the freezer, and allowing them to thaw out for a few hour or overnight, before boiling and baking them.


Recipe makes 30 bagels.


  • 2 1/2 cup warm Water
  • 1/4 cup Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp cracked Black Pepper
  • 5 tsp Yeast
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Salt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Honey
  • 6 oz grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 cup Spelt Flour
  • 6 – 6 1/2 cups Flour
  • 4 Eggs
  • Egg Wash (1 Egg + 1 tbsp Water)


  1. Beat together the water, olive oil, black pepper, yeast, salt, honey, spelt flour, and 1 cup regular flour.
  2. Stir in the eggs, one at a time.
  3. Stir in the cheese.
  4. Add the remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time until the dough pulls away form the sides of the bowl.
  5. Knead by hand for about 5 minutes or by machine until the dough is uniform and stretchy while still holding its form.
  6. Place the dough in a greased and sealed container to rise for a hour.
  7. Place a large pot of water on to boil.
  8. Preheat the oven to 425 F (~218 C).
  9. Line a couple of baking sheets with parchment paper or grease.
  10. Divide the dough into 30 equal pieces.
  11. Roll each piece into a ball, and poke a hole through its middle with your finger.
  12. Carefully widen the hole until it is over an inch in diameter.  The dough will bounce back slightly so the bigger the hole the better.
  13. Gently boil each bagel for 2-3 minutes on each side.  You can probably fit 3-4 bagels in the pot at a time.  They should sink at first and then rise to the surface.
  14. Use a large slotted spoon to transfer the bagels from the water to the baking sheets.
  15. Brush the bagels with the egg wash.
  16. Bake for 23-25 minutes.


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