Blueberry Bagels

I love blueberry bagels and cream cheese. They're probably ... no ... definitely my favorite food. If I was stranded on a desert island and could only take one food with me (nutritional value aside), I would take blueberry bagels and cream cheese. I've often joked (only somewhat kidding...) that I could go on an all-bagel diet (with some proteins beyond cream cheese thrown in for delicious bagelwiches). In fact, I'm eating a blueberry bagel with cream cheese right now (not even one I made in this recipe... while making this recipe, I ate a storebought blueberry bagel with cream cheese).

On a (slightly...) more serious note, I've often thought that if Jon and I ever live overseas, not having access to blueberry bagels and cream cheese would be a difficult thing for me to adapt to (okay, maybe not the end of the world, but still). So, I've decided to try and make them from home. I'd previously made bagels (courtesy of the recipe in my awesome bread machine cookbook), but they were just egg bagels and only turned out okay. But, not one to be deterred, I wanted to try again with blueberries.

This past weekend, Jon and I went berry picking as part of my annual jamming/canning activities and came home with a harvest of local blueberries. I was determined to make blueberry bagels. I scoured the internet for blueberry bagel recipes that use fresh blueberries, and found very few. So, I read a bunch (these two being my primary sources), along with the recipe in my bread machine cookbook, and came up with the following recipe.

Knowing that I needed approximately 1.25c of liquid, the first (and so far only) time I made these I smashed the blueberries up and strained the juices, so that I could measure their liquid content. Next time, I plan to put the blueberries in whole. (Note, many internet recipes recommend making blueberry puree and putting that into the dough instead; because the baker's primary reason for doing so seems to be to save himself from exploding blueberries during the kneading process, I don't think this is important if you're using a breadmaker for the kneading step.)

2 cups blueberries
1/4 cup warm water
1 Tbsp vegetable oil

4 cups bread flour
1 Tbsp gluten
1 tablespoon sugar
1.5 tsp salt
2 tsp yeast

Put all ingredients into bread machine and turn on "dough" setting. When kneading done (before rise), take out dough.

Break into approx 12 pieces. Form into bagels. Note - there are two recommended methods:
1. Make into ball. Punch hole into ball. Twirl around finger to make hole bigger (you want a big hole because it will close up during the cooking process).
2. Roll into long snake and bring around to form circle. Press ends together well.

We tried both ways - the first method makes an ugly bagel (lumpy and knotty), but one that stays together well, while the second one makes a pretty bagel, but the dough is prone to separate during the boiling. Jury's out on which is better for now.

Let formed bagels rest/rise for 30 mins.

While bagels are resting, boil water with a very generous dash of salt and sugar to flavor the crust during boiling (salt was in my recipes; I thought sugar would be a nice addition since we're making a sweet bagel). Also start preheating oven to 425 degF.

Boil each bagel for 1-2 mins per side. The bagels will turn a lighter color.

Transfer the bagels briefly to a wire rack (just to let excess water drip off).

Put bagels on greased baking sheet (or on parchment paper ... or on a baking mat).

Bake for 20 mins. Flip over. Bake for 20 more. Crust should be slightly golden brown and bagel should be cooked through (you'll just have to taste to make sure...).

Let cool for as long as you can before slathering with cream cheese and eating!!

Bagels done
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The Outcome

When done, the bagels had a delicious texture and chewiness. But... they weren't that blueberry-y. Next time, maybe add some dried blueberries for additional blueberry flavor? Or try adding an additional cup of fresh blueberries? Further experimentation is definitely needed.

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