Montreal Bagels

Recipe by Susan Reid

Traditionally shaped by hand, and smaller and thinner than New York bagels, Montreal bagels get a hint of sweetness from honey or maple syrup in the dough. They're boiled in sweetened water before being baked in a wood-fired oven. Our take on this Quebec classic successfully substitutes a home oven with baking stone for the wood-fired oven.

1 hr 30 mins
18 to 23 mins
3 hrs 20 mins
8 bagels
Montreal Bagels


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  1. For the dough: Combine all of the ingredients, using the lesser amount of flour, and mix until a firm dough forms.

  2. Use the remaining 1/4 cup flour as needed to knead the dough by hand for 10 to 12 minutes, or at medium speed in your mixer with the dough hook for 8 minutes. The dough should be smooth and elastic and not stick to your fingers. When poked with your finger, it should bounce back.

  3. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise for 1 1/2 hours, until almost doubled in bulk.

  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Place the sesame (or poppy) seeds in a shallow bowl.

  5. After the first rise, deflate the dough and divide into 8 equal pieces.

  6. Roll each piece into a 6" rope. Wrap the rope around your fingers and overlap the ends. Roll your palm over the seam to seal.

  7. Place them on the baking sheet, cover, and let rise while you set up the boiling liquid and preheat your oven with a baking stone in it to 475°F.

  8. To boil: Fill a large saucepan with 3" of water. Add the honey (or barley malt syrup). Place over medium-high heat and bring the water to a boil.

  9. The bagels are ready to cook when they've risen very slightly (the surface should still bounce back when lightly touched).

  10. Reduce the water to a simmer, then slip two or three bagels into it. Cook on one side for a minute, then flip over and cook for another minute.

  11. Remove with a slotted spoon and dredge in the seeds. Flip the baking sheet over and put the parchment on the back; place the boiled bagels on the parchment.

  12. Once all of the bagels are boiled, slide the parchment with the bagels on it onto the baking stone and bake for 18 to 23 minutes, until deep golden brown.

  13. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack before serving.

  14. Store in a paper bag on the counter for one day; or slice and freeze for up to two months for longer storage.

Tips from our Bakers

  • This dough can also be made in the bread machine, using the Dough cycle.
  • The maximum temperature rating for most parchment paper is below 500°F, and at temperatures between 450°F and 500°F parchment’s exposed edges begin to char. To be safe, keep a close eye on anything being cooked at temperatures above 450°F (especially anything on an upper rack). Burned edges can also be minimized by trimming away excess parchment before baking.