What’s Cooking Good Looking? No-Prove Plain Bagels

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon, or not at all.” ~Harriet Van Horne

Baking bagels with Nargis

Any kind of bread baking can be a daunting task, but these no-prove bagels are easy to master, with the help of instant yeast. And let’s be honest, it doesn’t matter if your first batch is a disaster, what matters is that you have fun and try again next time! We all make mistakes along the way, but baking is always fun and smells so good in the home!

Golden brown bagels baking

Now, I make this recipe with gluten-free and non-dairy ingredients, but that’s not so important. I love to share my baking, and I have friends who have food allergies, so I cater for their needs very often. You can substitute regular ingredients, like butter and flour, as you please.

Just a few simple ingredients

This is a fairly simple recipe, which is made easier with a food processor that has a knead blade. You also have to consider that real bagels should be boiled and baked, so this is really a three-step prep.

Check your pantry for the following ingredients

Check your pantry for the following ingredients:

For the boiling liquid:

  • 6½ cups water

  • 1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses (unsulfured)

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

For 8 bagels:

  • 3½ cups gluten-free non-dairy bread flour

  • (Approx. 2 tablespoons extra flour for the work surface)

  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast

  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt

  • ! cup + 1 tablespoon warm water (approx. 98ºF at the start of prep)

  • ⅓ cup + 1 tablespoon coconut oil (solid but scoopable)

  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened almond milk

  • 1 egg

Enough for eight deliciously chewy bagels

Pre-heat your oven to 400º, and pre-line your large baking tray with parchment paper ready for later. Beat the egg and almond milk for your egg-wash and leave to one side. Put the boiling ingredients on to heat, in a medium-sized pot or saucepan, while you prep your bagel dough.

Using the food processor with the knead blade is easiest

Blend together the bread flour, yeast, sugar and salt, in your food processor with the knead blade (if you have a stand-mixer, use the dough hooks). First on a slow speed, add the water and oil, then increase speed for another 4 to 5 minutes, until the dough all comes together, and looks smooth and thick. Chill the dough in plastic wrap, in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.

Dust the surface and shape bagels by hand

Lightly dust your work surface with flour (a wooden chopping board works well), and sprinkle a little flour onto the dough and knead by hand a few times. Then, cut the dough into 8 equal sections and roll into balls. Press each a little with the palm of your hand, to obtain the bagel shape (about ½-inch in height). Next, stick your finger or thumb into the middle and press all the way through, to create the signature bagel hole and make a circular motion, to ensure the hole is wide enough (about a 1½-inch diameter).

Bagels after being in boiling liquid

Place four bagels at a time into the boiling liquid (make sure they aren’t crowded) and, after 25 seconds, turn over to ensure an even boil for 25 more seconds. Drain the liquid off each bagel as you remove them from the pan and place all 8 onto your baking tray at least 2 inches apart. Brush over both the top and sides of your bagels with the prepared eggwash and place the tray in the middle of the oven for 18-20 minutes.

Nargis putting the bagels in the oven

The bake is finished, once the core temperature reaches 180º and the dough is cooked thoroughly. Your bagels should have a light golden brown colour and that famous slightly chewy texture. Transfer your perfectly baked bagels onto a wire cooling rack and please don’t burn your fingers!

The finished bagels will have risen in the oven

If you’re unsure if the bagels are cooked all the way through, take one out to test and slice it open – you’ll soon see if the bake is finished.

Leave to cool, then turn out onto a wire rack

Finish the bagels with your favourite toppings and fillings. These bagels are delicious with butter and manuka honey, or with cream cheese, dill and smoked salmon! Whatever your pleasure, they disappear fast, so be sure to stock up on ingredients for the next batch!

Bagels are delicious with butter and manuka honey

Once you’ve mastered this technique, you can try other sweet and savoury bagel recipes and top with poppy or sesame seeds too.

Nargis enjoying her bagels

Happy baking & eating!


  • Choose organic ingredients, whenever possible.

  • Use any kind of bread flour you like.

  • Substitute coconut oil for regular unsalted butter, if you prefer, but coconut oil is a fantastic source of nutrients.

  • Ensure your baking tray is large enough to fit 8 bagels with room for them to spread and rise a little during baking.

  • Add a few dots of oil to the baking tray before putting on the parchment paper – this will help hold it in place while you prep.

  • Cover the bagels, during part of the bake, with foil, if you feel the bake needs longer, so they don’t burn

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