I finally bit the bullet and baked up some terrific, dense and chewy Whole Wheat Bagels. Until reading the recipe, I didn’t realize the unique process that making bagels entails. But it was worth it!

Whole Wheat Bagels in a white ceramic basket

Whole Wheat Bagels from Scratch

I have been wanting to make my own bagels for years and years. Finally, my friend, Annie, of From the Bookshelf, and I decided to do another challenge where we both made the same dish and posted on the same day. Bagels immediately came to mind.

I had a recipe for egg bagels…which have always been a favorite…but I eat almost exclusively whole grain/whole wheat breads these days, so I found this healthier, whole wheat bagels from scratch recipe on the King Arthur Flour site.

Whole Wheat Bagel Sliced open

How to Make Bagels at Home

This bagel dough was made from a mixture of bread flour, for extra gluten, and whole wheat flour, for a less processed, healthier component.

The dough was mixed and kneaded in a stand mixer, then shaped, and finally proofed overnight in the fridge.  Using a dough hook and a stand mixer makes quick, easy work of the kneading process.

What I found most intriguing was the boiling process which I did after letting the shaped bagels proof overnight in the refrigerator.

The next morning, I briefly boiled these raw bagels in water spiked with baking powder before popping them in the oven. The boiling helped set the size as well as thickened the crust. The baking powder addition encouraged browning when these whole wheat bagels baked in the oven.

Whole Wheat Bagels on a white tray with smoked salmon and capers

How to Serve Bagels

I sent Bill out for some smoked salmon from Whole Foods so I could test my first bagel with my favorite bagel topping.  As he was checking out, the clerk asked him if he was stopping next door to pick up some bagels to pair up with his seafood purchase. As my biggest supporter, he was happy to brag that his wife whipping up homemade bagels.

These were chewy and fabulous…Bill loved them as did my oldest. They ate theirs with cream cheese and butter, where I love adding smoked salmon and a sprinkling of capers to mine. Shaping was my biggest challenge, but I was pleased with the results of my first attempt. Check out how to make a Smoked Salmon Platter to go with these whole wheat bagels. And if you’re not a fan of whole wheat breads, check out these Homemade Bagels made with bread flour.

Whole Wheat Bagels in a white ceramic basket

Whole Wheat Bagels

Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Yield 14 bagels

Dense, chewy whole wheat bagels made from scratch in your own kitchen!
Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour.


  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 2 cups (16 ounces) water, warm, between 105-115º
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon barley malt syrup (I ordered from Amazon.com) or honey
  • 3 cups (12 3/4 ounces) unbleached bread flour3 cups (12 3/4 ounces) whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • Cornmeal, for dusting baking sheet
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder, for boiling water


In the bowl of a stand mixer fit with dough hook dissolve yeast in warm water with sugars and barley malt syrup.  Add one cup of the bread flour and let sit for about 10 minutes.  Yeast should start bubbling.

Add the whole wheat flour and mix well.  Add the salt, then the rest of the bread flour one cup at a time, mixing till the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

Continue mixing till dough is smooth and satiny.  Cover with damp towel and and let rest at room temperature for 20 minutes.

Divide dough into 14 equal pieces. Roll each piece into an 8-9 inch rope.  Form each rope into a circle overlapping the ends. Press joined area with the heal of your hand, rocking to seal.  Place dough rings on a cornmeal dusted baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray.

Place in refrigerator for 12-24 hours.

Remove from refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 450º.

Bring large pot of water to a rolling boil with 1 tablespoon baking soda added.  Place a few bagels in the pot at a time and cook for about 1-1 1/2 minutes.  Remove with slotted spoon and place on parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned.  Allow to cool on racks.


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