Whole Wheat Sesame Bagels

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I’ve finally made it to New York City. Well that’s not true. I actually landed on Saturday, but it’s been go, go, go since then, and I’ve had little time to think, and shop, and make some FOOOOOD. I never really thought about how hard it probably was for my parents to make dinner and do laundry and listen to my brother and me whine about absolutely nothing after a really long day at the office….until now. I’m working at the Whitney Museum this summer, which is pretty far uptown, but I’m living in lovely Park Slope, Brooklyn. It takes me about an hour each way, but I don’t mind because Brooklyn has become one of the food centers of the universe. If only I had some more time and energy to go scouting about.

Nine or ten weeks just isn’t enough time for me to really get to know the food megalith that is NYC and its five boroughs of fantastic flavor. I barely have time to go to the store. Anyway, this recipe is the last thing I made at home before I flew out here to hang out (read: work and sleep) in Brooklyn and spend 8 hours a day in a place where there’s more estrogen in the air than at Victoria’s Secret. But hey! Everyone at the office is great and work is interesting and the trainers at my gym know all of us members by name!

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These bagels are nutty, delicious, and a great placeholder for a “real” New York bagel out there. They’re a hell of a lot better than those fluffy things they sell at the supermarket. The dough takes a while to rise if you’re using active dry yeast instead of instant, but if you’re like me, you have plenty of things to do while you’re waiting for that dough to double, so it should work out.

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Recipe for Whole Wheat Sesame Bagels (adapted from Tammy’s Kitchen)
1 1/2 cups warm water (112-115 degrees F)
2 tablespoons active dry yeast
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt
4 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour
8 cups of water, for boiling
1 egg white, lightly beaten
3/4 cup sesame seeds for sprinkling


1. In a small bowl, mix yeast, sugar and warm water together and let stand 5 minutes.

2. Mix 2 cups of flour with the salt in a large bowl; then add the yeast mixture. Stir until combined and slowly mix in the rest of the flour.

3. Knead dough on a floured surface for 5 minutes, adding additional flour if necessary. Dough should be fairly smooth and somewhat firm. Place dough in a greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled.

4. Punch dough down. Divide and shape into 12 balls. (For larger bagels, make only 8 balls.) Allow to rest for 20 minutes.

5. Preheat the oven to 400 degreees.

6. Bring 2 quarts of water to boil. Make a hole in each ball of dough and pull open about 2 inches, making a bagel shape. Boil for about 2 minutes, flipping them halfway through. Place the shaped dough onto a cookie sheet and cover for 10 minutes.

7. Brush the bagels with the egg white, and sprinkle them with sesame seeds.

8. Bake for 30-35 minutes, rotating the baking pan about halfway through.

Best eaten after they’ve cooled! You can store them in an air-tight container (good for about 3 days) or freeze them and stick them in the oven to warm them up.


3 thoughts on “Whole Wheat Sesame Bagels

  1. Oops, you missed the boiling step. =)

    Just mentioned to heat water to boiling but not how long to boil the bagels after shaping them.

    Thank you for sharing the recipe!

    • hi michele, thanks for visiting!
      i used traditional yeast so it took about 2 hours in the warm california sun. if you’re working somewhere cooler, i would suggest heating your oven to its lowest setting and letting the dough rise in the oven. be sure to oil the top of the dough well, and to cover the bowl with a damp cloth to keep it from drying out.

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