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Bagel Recipe: The Hole Story

An optimist sees the bagel.  A pessimist sees only the hole.

Gluten free bagels made with amaranth and mesquite flour

Want to make chewy bagels at home? Here’s a basic gluten free bagel recipe along with a few variations.

Amaranth and mesquite flour enhance the flavor, crust, and nutritional profile of gluten free breads. Because the bagels get a major browning boost from the baking soda bath, amaranth and mesquite flour are not absolutely necessary for the flour blend. If you have access to these flours and want to add a lovely golden color to any gluten free bread, you might want to consider using amaranth and mesquite in the future.

Gluten Free Bagels

Blend the liquid ingredients together in a bowl:

1 cup water

2 eggs

2 TB oil

Blend the dry ingredients together first then add to bowl:

3¼ cups flour*

3 TB sugar

1 TB instant yeast (aka rapid rise or bread machine yeast)

1 TB xanthan gum

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

After mixing well, let dough rest in a covered bowl for about 20 minutes.  Use a #10 disher to scoop 8 dough balls, using flour to help shape bagels. Flatten slightly and use your thumb to make a one inch hole in the center. After forming all bagels, let them rest at room temp until almost doubled in size.

And here’s a way to quicken up the whole process  –

Turn oven on to 150 degrees and let the cold bagels rise for about 20 minutes. After removing proofed bagels from oven, turn oven temp up to 400 degrees.

Back to the conventional method –

While bagels rise at room temp (could be an hour, depending on conditions), bring 2 quarts of water to a boil and add 1 TB baking soda. Use a spatula or slotted spoon to place bagels in water.  Boil for about 20 seconds on each side. Let bagels drain on a towel before placing back onto cookie sheet.

After you place bagels in oven, turn oven temperature down to 375 degrees. Bake 22-24 minutes.

Variations –

Cinnamon raisin bagels: cover 2/3 cup raisins with water to plump, drain excess water, then add 2 TB cinnamon and 4 TB sugar. Fold raisins into dough before shaping bagels.

Like garlic?  Add some for a savory bagel.

Refrigerate dough overnight to enhance texture of bread.  Bagels can be shaped before baking the next day.  Unbaked, shaped bagels can also be covered and refrigerated overnight before boiling and baking the next day.

Pumpernickel/rye style? Use coffee in place of water and add 2 TB cocoa powder to dry ingredients before mixing.  Stir caraway seeds into dough before shaping.

Make mini bagels for appetizers

Substituting 3 egg whites in place of 2 whole eggs will make a chewier bagel

Use dough for pizza crust: drop dough balls into cornmeal or flour and flatten. Bake individual sized crusts (7”) for about 12 minutes at 375 degrees. Remove from oven and top as desired. Return to oven and heat until toppings are warm and bubbly (approx. 10 min. at 375-400 degrees). Baked crusts can also be frozen and used as needed.

Got leftovers?  Make bagel pizzas, slice into thin pieces and dry in oven for bagel chips, freeze and defrost bagels as needed, or just feed the birds.

*A combination of flours gives the best result for gluten free baked goods.  Make your own gluten free flour blend by combining in a large container:

4 cups brown rice or sorghum flour

4 cups tapioca starch

 2 cups potato starch

 2 cups almond meal

Optional:  ½ cup each amaranth flour and mesquite flour

Thanks to Tracy for sending a pic of bagels made by students at Kitchen Conservatory!


  1. Hi…I just discovered your website…I am so excited to start experimenting! I just became gluten free this year and it has helped me tremendously. I’m wondering if there is anything I could use to replace the potato flour as well as the almond in this flour recipe, as I can’t have either. Also, do you know of where I could get some of these products that you use in your recipes for a reasonable price? Gluten free living can be so expensive, and so frustrating at times…

    • Gluten free flour blends can be made many ways. Here’s some info on blending your own flours at home. Tapioca starch or cornstarch would be fine to use in place of potato starch. As for an almond meal sub – I would just leave it out. Same thing goes for amaranth and mesquite. I love both, but they aren’t absolutely necessary for good gluten free bread. Make no mistake about it, baking gluten free is a lot more expensive than traditional baking. There’s no way to sugar coat it. One of the best new products on the market is a ready to use blend from Pamela’s. The gluten free artisan blend already has guar gum in it, so no extra binder is needed. Use it as a cup for cup replacement in recipes. I’ve even used it in this gluten free loaf bread recipe with good results, pictured here. You might find this post helpful as well. Those are notes from the most recent bread class I taught.

      I understand your frustration. My advice is to concentrate on naturally gluten free items when you shop, basically the perimeter of the store. Of course, the center aisles have plenty of good and cheap gf items as well – rice, beans, etc. Gluten free specialty products are expensive, no doubt, but a lovely option from time to time. And if you think of eating gluten free as something that keeps you healthy, it’s a much easier pill to swallow. Sorry for the pun! But for many of us, food really is our medicine. Hope that helps a bit!

  2. I just made these. I even tore one open fresh out of the oven (we’re talking mere seconds) and slathered it with butter. SO good. I used Pamela’s artisan flour, reducing the flour 1/4 cup because this flour really soaks up the liquids. Loved it, will definitely make them again.

  3. Can you use a GF 1:1 flour instead of this blend, such as the one made by Bob’s Red Mill?

    • You could, but the resulting texture will not be as springy as the blend noted. I’d recommend Pamela’s Artisan Blend (over Bob’s Red Mill) and if you do use that ready made blend, be sure to leave any additional binder (xanthan, guar) out as Pamela’s already includes guar gum. Sometimes, you’ll need to add just a bit more liquid than usual with Pamela’s. Hope that helps!


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