Blueberry Bagels

There are few things in the kitchen that bring me a greater sense of satisfaction than baking with yeast. Whether it’s bread, rolls, English muffins, pastries or bagels, I just adore it. I made my first batch of homemade bagels almost three years ago and still can’t get enough of them. I began with the plain variety and have tried a few variations since – Cinnamon Raisin (my favorite!), Asiago, and Egg. I got the urge for homemade bagels a few weeks ago and was thinking about a new flavor to try. One of my favorites has always been blueberry – lightly toasted and slathered in cream cheese. Delicious! So off I went on my blueberry bagel quest…

All of the bagels that I have made so far are variations off that first plain version, which is from Peter Reinhart’s book The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. All of his recipes are excellent, and he has always been so very helpful and generous with his time, responding to my emails when I ask how I would go about adapting the bagel recipe for things like Asiago bagels and egg bagels. This time was no exception, and Peter gave me some tips on creating the perfect blueberry bagel.

He recommended using dried blueberries since fresh blueberries will bleed into the dough and break down when you attempt to knead them into such a stiff dough. He said to use about the same amount of dried blueberries as raisins that is in the cinnamon raisin version (I actually reduced it by ½ a cup since the blueberries were larger than raisins), and again like the cinnamon raisin bagels, to increase the yeast in the final dough from ½ teaspoon to 1 teaspoon to compensate for the dead weight of the dried fruit. Since the dried blueberries are pretty sweet, he didn’t feel that any additional sugar needed to be added to the dough.

The result was everything I had hoped my blueberry bagels to be: chewy on the outside, soft on the inside and packed with an enormous amount of blueberry flavor. Perfect lightly toasted with cream cheese. Mission accomplished!

Two years ago: For the Love of Peanut Butter and Cinnamon
Four years ago: Homemade Soft Pretzels

Blueberry Bagels

Yield: 12 bagels

Prep Time: 45 minutes (active), 10 hours (inactive)

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes


For the Sponge:
1 teaspoon instant yeast
4 cups (18 ounces) high-gluten or bread flour
2½ cups water, at room temperature

For the Dough:
1 teaspoon instant yeast
3¾ cups (17 ounces) high-gluten or bread flour
2¾ teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons malt powder or 1 tablespoon dark or light malt syrup, honey or brown sugar
1½ cups dried blueberries, rinsed

To Finish:
1 tablespoon baking soda
Cornmeal or semolina flour for dusting


1. To make the sponge, stir the yeast into the flour in a 4-quart mixing bowl. Add the water, whisking or stirring only until it forms a smooth, sticky batter (like pancake batter). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for approximately 2 hours, or until the mixture becomes very foamy and bubbly. It should swell to nearly double in size and collapse when the bowl is tapped on the countertop.

2. To make the dough, in the same mixing bowl (or in the bowl of an electric mixer), add the additional yeast to the sponge and stir. Then add 3 cups of the flour and all of the salt and malt. Stir (or mix on low speed with the dough hook) until the ingredients form a ball, slowly working in the remaining ¾ cup flour to stiffen the dough.

3. Transfer the dough tot he counter and knead for at least 10 minutes (or for 6 minutes by machine). Add the dried blueberries during the final 2 minutes of kneading. The dough should be firm, but still pliable and smooth. There should be no raw flour - all the ingredients should be hydrated. If the dough seems too dry and rips, add a few drops of water and continue kneading. If the dough seems tacky or sticky, add more flour to achieve the stiffness required. The kneaded dough should feel satiny and pliable but not be tacky.

4. Immediately divide the dough into 12 pieces. Form the pieces into rolls.

5. Cover the rolls with a damp towel and allow them to rest for approximately 20 minutes.

6. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper and mist lightly with spray oil. To shape the bagels, poke a hole in a ball of bagel dough and gently rotate your thumb around the inside of the hole to widen it to approximately 2½ inches in diameter. The dough should be as evenly stretched as possible (try to avoid thick and thin spots).

7. Place each of the shaped pieces 2 inches apart on the pans. Mist the bagels very lightly with the spray oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let the pans sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes.

8. Check to see if the bagels are ready to be retarded in the refrigerator by using the "float test". Fill a small bowl with cool or room-temperature water. The bagels are ready to be retarded when they float within 10 seconds of being dropped into the water. Take one bagel and test it. If it floats, immediately return the tester bagel to the pan, pat it dry, cover the pan, and place it in the refrigerator overnight (it can stay in the refrigerator for up to 2 days). If the bagel does not float, return it to the pan and continue to proof the dough at room temperature, checking back every 10 to 20 minutes or so until a tester floats. The time needed to accomplish the float will vary, depending on the ambient temperature and the stiffness of the dough.

9. The following day (or when you are ready to bake the bagels), preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil (the wider the pot the better), and add the baking soda. Have a slotted spoon or skimmer nearby.

10. Remove the bagels from the refrigerator and gently drop them into the water, boiling only as many as comfortably fit (they should float within 10 seconds). After 1 minute flip them over and boil for another minute. If you like very chewy bagels, you can extend the boiling to 2 minutes per side. While the bagels are boiling, sprinkle the same parchment-lined sheet pans with cornmeal or semolina flour. (If you decide to replace the paper, be sure to spray the new paper lightly with spray oil to prevent the bagels from sticking to the surface.)

11. When all the bagels have been boiled, place the pans on the 2 middle shelves in the oven. Bake for approximately 5 minutes, then rotate the pans, switching shelves and giving the pans a 180-degree rotation. (If you are baking only 1 pan, keep it on the center shelf but still rotate 180 degrees.) After the rotation, lower the oven setting to 450F and continue baking for about 5 minutes, or until the bagels turn light golden brown. You may bake them darker if you prefer.

12. Remove the pans from the oven and let the bagels cool on a rack for 15 minutes or longer before serving.


63 Responses to “Blueberry Bagels”

  1. Baking Serendipity on February 21, 2011 at 12:13 am

    These look delicious! I’ve never made my own bagels before, but they are definitely on my list and blueberry is one of the best flavors to start with 🙂


  2. Eliana on February 21, 2011 at 12:36 am

    These look like they would make for a perfect breakfast. Wish I had one of these to enjoy on my day off from work tomorrow. They look awesome.


  3. Blog is the New Black on February 21, 2011 at 1:24 am

    LOVE the idea of making your own bagels- genius!


  4. notyet100 on February 21, 2011 at 1:32 am

    this looks so delicious,..


  5. Brittany on February 21, 2011 at 3:51 am

    Blueberries are already on my current breakfast list so this would be an easy – not to mention delicious – transition from my normal breakfast routine!


  6. Lisa (Dishes of Mrs. Fish) on February 21, 2011 at 5:21 am

    Delicious! I’d love to give homemade bagels a whirl once I have a big kitchen, aka more than one feet of counter space. 🙂


  7. Lori @ Girll Meets Oven on February 21, 2011 at 7:09 am

    These look incredible. I have been wanting to try to make homemade bagels. Can you use all-purpose flour instead of bread flour?


    • Michelle on February 22nd, 2011 at 8:14 pm

      Hi Lori, Eh I don’t know that I would use all-purpose flour for these; you really won’t get the same texture. Bread flour, in fact, is the second choice here, with high-gluten flour being the best. I order high-gluten from King Arthur Flour and when I’ve run out I’ve subbed bread flour in a pinch, and even with that I can tell a definite difference in texture. Bagels really need that extra protein/gluten.


      • Lily on May 25th, 2014 at 1:42 pm

        I used all-purpose flour (by accident) and they turned out just fine. Not as smooth as bread flour, but the texture wasn’t obnoxiously grainy or anything.


  8. Jannett on February 21, 2011 at 7:23 am

    I have not tried to make bagels…but I think I should after seeing these. I love blueberry bagels…


  9. Lauren at KeepItSweet on February 21, 2011 at 7:39 am

    Blueberry bagels were my favorite kind growing up. My husband keeps asking me to make bagels so I might have to try one of your recipes!


  10. Jil @ Big City, Lil' Kitchen on February 21, 2011 at 8:07 am

    These look delicious – I’ve never made bagels – though I did work in a bagel bakery for a while!


  11. Kathleen @ Kat's Health Corner on February 21, 2011 at 8:33 am

    Delish! 🙂 I love how you added blueberries to this! 😀


  12. Happy When Not Hungry on February 21, 2011 at 8:37 am

    Wow these bagels look delicious! Blueberry bagels are my ultime favorite type of bagel, but you can’t always find them everywhere. I love the idea of using the dried blueberries too. Definitely have to try this recipe!


  13. Katrina on February 21, 2011 at 8:44 am

    I just had blueberry waffles for breakfast and now I’m wishing I had bagels! I’ve got to make these!


  14. jen @ the baked life on February 21, 2011 at 9:42 am

    Yum! Bagels are on my must bake list. Maybe I’ll try blueberry….


  15. Lori on February 21, 2011 at 9:45 am

    These look absolutely amazing. I am going to have to try my hand at making bagels. You have convinced me to take the leap. Just want to let you know…I made your lemon burst cookies again….I used an icecream scoop for a nice size cookie. Was met with rave reviews. My friend’s husband brings us freshly caught fish and I make sure I hold up my bargain with one of his favorites.


  16. Jen on February 21, 2011 at 10:17 am

    Drool-worthy. Like everything else on your site! :)~~~~~


  17. Nuts about Food on February 21, 2011 at 10:34 am

    I have been dying to make bagels, but still haven’t plucked up the courage. Perhaps after seeing this…


  18. Maria on February 21, 2011 at 11:02 am

    They look perfect! I am craving one now!


  19. Lori @ RecipeGirl on February 21, 2011 at 11:12 am

    I can’t believe you made bagels. My family would love me more if I made these on a Sunday morning. They look fabulous!


  20. carri on February 21, 2011 at 11:23 am

    I’ve been wanting to make bagels for so long!


  21. Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking on February 21, 2011 at 11:47 am

    Wow, these look just perfect! Bagels are my once in a while breakfast treat, but if I could make them myself they’d be 100X more delicious than storebought… I bet the aroma from the oven is something else, too. Thanks for sharing! I’ll have to roll up my sleeves and give these a try sometime.


  22. Liz (Little Bitty Bakes) on February 21, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    Blueberry bagels are in my top 5 favorite foods of all time! I love them so much. Yours look fantastic!


  23. Amanda on February 21, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    These look wonderful!


  24. doughmesstic on February 21, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    I really need to try my hand at bagels. Yours look delish!


  25. Paula on February 21, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    You’ve made some wonderful looking bagels. I have yet to try to make my own and to be honest, don’t know if I have the nerve to attempt.


  26. Sharlene on February 21, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    Yeast scares me. It’s so hit or miss for me. But these blueberry bagels (my favorite) look too wonderful not to try out!


  27. Sabrina Smeraldini on February 21, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    I made my own bagles once and they surely didn’t look so good, maybe I have to try again. These really make you feel like it’s worth trying! Thanks, Sabrina.


  28. Tessa on February 21, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    I have always wanted to try my hand at making homemade bagels. You definitely make it sound doable!


  29. Amy on February 21, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    I think dried fruit bagels are my favorite sweet bagel. I’m going to make these!


  30. Tracy on February 21, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    Love this adaptation to Peter’s recipe! Blueberry bagels are my absolute favorite!


  31. Lauren from Lauren's Latest on February 21, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    I totally agree that baking any sort of yeast dough brings a great sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. It also makes your kitchen smell divine! YUM. I’ve been meaning to make my own bagels for a while, so I’m excited to try these!


  32. bakingaddict on February 21, 2011 at 6:54 pm

    I love blueberries and I love bagels. I’m not sure I’d be brave enough to attempt making my own. Yours look amazing!


  33. Julia on February 21, 2011 at 11:26 pm

    omg! these look delicious! Makes me sad because there is no decent bagel shops in New Orleans. Makes me miss the North


  34. Kim - Liv Life on February 21, 2011 at 11:37 pm

    I have had bagels on my list to make for some time now, but just haven’t done it. With this week off of school we will hopefully make our first set. I would have used the fresh blueberries, glad to read the tip here. Nicely done!


  35. Cookin' Canuck on February 22, 2011 at 12:04 am

    Each time I look at one of your bagel recipes, I wonder why I haven’t tried making them yet. Here’s another one for the list!


  36. all the pretty little things on February 22, 2011 at 8:17 am

    Those look great! I have made bagels before to kind of ease my longing for NYC and although they were delicious… they didn’t look that pretty.
    They always turn out rather flat. Do you have any tips how they keep their well rounded shape?


    • Michelle on February 22nd, 2011 at 8:19 pm

      I think it kind of takes practice; mine turned out flat for awhile too. I just try to keep the dough as round and plump as possible when shaping, and not pulling it too much.


  37. Jenny Flake on February 22, 2011 at 9:33 am

    LOVE blueberry bagels, I can just imagine how good your homemade ones are!


  38. Michelle on February 22, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    I love that you said “There are few things in the kitchen that bring me a greater sense of satisfaction than baking with yeast.” I totally agree. Making more yeast breads from scratch is one of my goals for 2011. Now I’m going to add bagels to the list!


  39. The Farmers Wife on February 22, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    You had to post this AFTER I went shopping for the week!! lol! I was so thinking about making my own BB bagels but couldn’t find a recipe that looked worth trying! I can’t wait to give these a try NEXT week. 😉


  40. Liz on February 22, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    I’ve wanted to make my own bagels for a few months…all your great tips have inspired me to do it sooner than later~


  41. Lindsey at Burn Me Not on February 22, 2011 at 7:59 pm

    Oh what I would give to wake up to one of these bagels in the morning… they look scrumptious! I haven’t tried homemade bagels yet, but I think these are going to have to go on my to bake list. These and the Cinnamon Raisin ones. Yum!


  42. Sandra on February 22, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    Big Apple Bagels has nothing on you. These look fantastic!


  43. Jun on February 23, 2011 at 3:27 am

    What a great way to start the day!


  44. RavieNomNoms on February 23, 2011 at 9:10 am

    Blueberry bagels are my favorite kind of bagels, these look fresh and delicious!


  45. Brian @ howtobaker on February 23, 2011 at 11:48 am

    I love freshly made bagels. In fact, I’m making bagels this weekend to go with the homemade cream cheese I’ve got fermenting in the refrigerator.


  46. Carolyn Jung on February 23, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    OMG, these would be heaven smeared with cream cheese and blueberry jam. Blueberry upon blueberry — it doesn’t get better than that. 😉


  47. Emily on February 23, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    YUM! I can’t wait to give these a try. DELISH.


  48. Christina Marsigliese on February 23, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    Ummm…HELLO! Lookin’ good.

    I haven’t made bagels in years…


  49. sheila @ Elements on March 1, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    They look wonderful! It’s been a few months since I made bagels, but you know, as much as I love them, I’ve never made blueberry bagels. Wonder why? I have dried blueberries. Time to make some! 🙂


  50. Jaclyn on March 5, 2011 at 10:31 am

    Ok… this may be a dumb question but for the sponge you listed 4 cups flour( 18oz). According to my measuring cup 4 cups is 32 oz…. The batter for my sponge is a bit thick. Should I use the 18oz instead? Thanks in advance!! I’m super excited to try these!


    • Michelle on March 8th, 2011 at 1:19 pm

      Hi Jaclyn, If you have a scale, I would always, always go with the weight measurements – they are definitely more precise.


  51. Joy on March 8, 2011 at 10:38 pm

    That looks wonderful. I have been meaning to try bagels.


  52. Shannon on April 4, 2011 at 12:44 am

    Yum! I used this recipe to make bagels on the weekend for the first time. I altered the recipe to make some plain and some cinnamon and sultana. Both were delish! It’s really, really hard to get good bagels in Australia so I was super-impressed with myself when I had salmon & cream cheese on chewy, tasty bagels for lunch on Sunday. Thankyou! Will definitely make these again.


  53. Lori F. on June 9, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    Thanks so much for this recipe. I have made the water bagels from BBA many times and my family loves them. My son’s favorite is blueberry and I really needed a recipe. I’m tired of buying over-priced blueberry bagels from the grocery store with very few real blueberries. I will be mixing the sponge tonight and baking them tomorrow. I’m hoping to leave the supermarket bagels behind!


  54. Grace Park on March 14, 2014 at 5:58 am

    Where is the recipe for this blue berry bagel?


    • Michelle on March 15th, 2014 at 10:48 am

      Hi Grace, My apologies, there was a hiccup with the code for the recipe, it is there now!


  55. Grace Park on March 16, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    Do you by any chance know how to make the blue berry and strawberry cream cheese from einstein bros bagels?


    • Michelle on March 17th, 2014 at 10:35 am

      Hi Grace, I’ve actually never had those, I’ll have to check them out!


      • Grace Park on March 17th, 2014 at 11:01 am

        Please try it!! It is amazing! I love the blueberry, strawberry, and honey nut almond!! If you can figure out how to make it, that would be amazing!


  56. Kristine on June 15, 2015 at 9:38 am

    I am challenging myself to try new cooking endeavors this summer. I think homemade bagels will be on the list!


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