Whole Wheat Bagels

Before you brush me off as a crazy bread-making food blogger and tell me you could never make your own bagels, hear me out:

I’ve never been good with baking things that involve rising.  I’m one of those girls who can’t stick to a recipe if my life depends on it.  I like to swap things out and healthify things to the greatest degree possible – which doesn’t always work when yeast and chemistry are involved. 


I don’t even eat bagels.  Well, that is, unless they’re gluten-free.  Don’t get me wrong, they’re delicious!  My body just doesn’t respond well to wheat or yeast, so bagels are sort of out the question for me.  Ben – on the other hand – would scarf down multiple bagels every day if he could. 


[If I could give Ben an endless supply of bagels, he’d never leave… Winking smile]

Good quality bagels can get pretty pricey, and there are often strange ingredients involved, so when I saw what looked to be a simple recipe for them in this month’s issue of Cooking Light, I thought, I wonder… 

As always, I adapted the recipe to our liking [read: I made them healthier] by using 100% whole wheat flour [if you’re not so daring you can also use a mixture of whole wheat and white], swapping a heaping 3/4 c of white sugar for 2 Tbsp of raw sugar, and knocking out half the salt. 

I know the thought of making your own bagels is overwhelming, but I encourage you to try this recipe!  They really don’t take as long as you’d expect to make and they’re really good.  I woke up with Ben at 5:30am to make these bagels, and by 7:15 he was telling me how much he loved them on his way out the door… not bad for baked goods!  Still, I know what you’re thinking: as if adapting recipes and taking photos of everything I eat doesn’t make me weird enough, I woke up before the sun to make these bagels? 

What can I say?  I wanted to surprise Ben with fresh, hot bagels for breakfast! [I’m kind of obsessed with him…]

Needless to say, he was pleasantly surprised! He’s eaten at least two bagels a day since I made this batch, which means I better get started on the next… Winking smile


Whole Wheat Bagels


  • 2 c warm water [warm to the touch, or 100-110 degrees]
  • 1 tsp active dry yeast
  • 28.5 oz [or about 6.5 c] whole wheat bread flour – divided [I used 365’s 100% Whole Wheat Flour – you’ll want to weigh this out if at all possible]
  • 1 Tbsp brown rice syrup [I used this in place of barley malt syrup, but it can be omitted]
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt

  • Cooking spray
  • 12 c water
  • 2 Tbsp raw sugar


Combine 2 cups warm water with the yeast in a large bowl [if you’re lucky enough to own a stand mixer + dough hook, set it up in there].  Let the mixture sit for about five minutes, or until bubbles rise to the surface. 

In the meantime, weigh out 28.13 oz [about 6.25c] of whole wheat flour and place it in a bowl with the salt and syrup.  Reserve the extra .12 oz [or .25c] of flour for later. 

Once your water and yeast mixture is ready to go, mix the flour, salt, and syrup into the bowl using a dough hook on low speed for about six minutes [I used a hand-held mixer that had a small dough-hook attachment and it worked wonderfully, but you could also go old-school and mix by hand!]. 

Place dough onto a floured surface and knead for a couple minutes [the dough should be smooth and elastic], adding a Tbsp at a time of the remaining .25c of flour to keep your hands from sticking. 


[told you it was still dark out]

Form dough into a big ball, coat a large bowl with cooking spray, and place the dough into the bowl – flipping the ball to coat both sides with spray. 

Cover and let rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes [I warmed the oven, then turned it off and placed the dough inside to rise]. 

Once 30 minutes have passed, turn your dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide it into 12 equal portions [I split it in half first, then into sixths]. 

Roll each portion into a ball, then press a hole through the middle with your finger and gently pull/roll the dough into a bagel shape with about 1 1/2’’ hole in the middle. 


Coat a cookie sheet with cooking spray and place bagels onto the sheet as you finish them.  Lightly spray the tops of the bagels with spray as well, then cover your bagels with cooking spray and let them rise for another 10 minutes [this time they won’t rise much]. 

While the dough is rising, bring 12 cups of water and the raw sugar to a boil in a dutch oven or wide pot. 

I found it easiest to do this process in two 6-bagel batches since I have a small oven, so we’ll just worry about making six bagels at a time from here…

Preheat oven to 450 degrees, line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and prepare for the cooking process:

Lower three bagels at a time into the boiling water and cook for about 30 seconds [the bagels should float], flip and allow to cook another 30 seconds. 

Place the boiled bagels onto a wire rack lightly coated with cooking spray [now’s the time to add poppy/sesame seeds if you so desire] and repeat for the other three bagels. 


Transfer the six bagels onto your parchment-lined baking sheet, and bake at 450 degrees for about 7-10 minutes, or until golden [you don’t want them to be too crispy just yet because they’ll still get toasted before eating]. 

Repeat the process for the second half of bagels. 

Let cool on wire racks, then store in an airtight baggy in either the fridge or freezer.


Enjoy!  Makes 12 delicious, whole grain bagels.  No creepy additives or unnecessary salt/sugar. 

Do baked goods scare you too?  I’m fine with cookies and even pies, but things that have to rise make me nervous! 

Aloha Pumehana. Whether you’re here to find balance, wholesome recipes or inspiration, I hope you enjoy the posts.  Please subscribe to Green Plate Dinners to receive automatic updates and be the first to read new posts for free!


4 thoughts on “Whole Wheat Bagels

  1. Angela @ The Chicken Scoop says:

    Oh wow!!! Thanks for sharing! I had seen the Cooking Light with the Bagel recipe at Home Depot and pouted about not getting it so I bought it the next time we were there. Just for the bagel recipe! How funny. I love your modification suggestions though and will keep this blog for reference! My hubs promised me he would make them for me. Maybe I will just email him a link to here 😉

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