Sesame Bagels

Any kind of baking that involves yeast used to TERRIFY me. I know it may sound a bit silly, like how could a little powdery substance used to bake bread be scary? Well, I think it was more in the sense of the unknown, uncharted territory, the idea of having to be so exact in measuring and temperature, ultimately the fear of messing up. This concept can relate to our lives in many ways, the fear of taking chances, the fear of doing something unfamiliar to us, and of course the fear of failure. It can be hard to come out of your comfort zone, a place where you feel grounded, feel as strong, feel safe. But then, when we exist in such a place how do we grow? How do we become better, wiser, or stronger? If we stay in that same place of comfort we simply just can’t.

Now I know you’re probably wondering where I’m going with all of this. How is THIS concept related to a bagel? Well, for me, it is. I have, for the longest time, played it “safe” with my cooking and baking. I, naturally, like so many of us, always stick to ingredients, methods, and combinations that I know, veering ever so slightly from my “safe space”.

But then one day I got the itch.

I started to wonder every time I caught a glimpse of that cobweb-growing yeast packet in my pantry if I could actually be successful with it. I started to realize the more it sat untouched maybe, just maybe, I was becoming my own worst enemy. I was scaring myself out of trying something new because it was unknown. How BAD could it really be? So what if I messed up, so what if I didn’t make something successful. It’s not like I hadn’t failed at other recipes in the past. Did any of those fails stop me? Of course not! I tried and then tried again until I achieved what I felt was success.

So, one afternoon, I brushed off the cobwebs, pulled out my mixer and went to work, with a deep burning desire to succeed (and to eat bagels). Man was I craving a sesame bagel!

Now I know you’re eagerly wondering if my first attempt was a success? Did I get to claim victory over that tiny little yeast packet? Sadly, no I didn’t.

But what I did take from it was how really un-scary the whole thing was. Okay, so it wasn’t PERFECT, and yes I had to toss the first round but it made me all the more eager to try again. I needed to do this. I could this. I had to make it work.

And I did. The second time (yes, second time!) I achieved exactly what I embarked upon. With eyes closed while sinking my teeth into the chewy, yet fluffy, sesame coated bagel I envisioned all of the moments I had crossed a finish line during a road/trail race. That moment when you step over the line and all that you can think of is, I did it. I, all by myself, achieved victory.

Okay, yes, I know it’s ONLY a bagel, but these aren’t just ordinary bagels. These sesame bagels are not only delicious covered in your favorite spread or made into a savory breakfast sandwich but this recipe truly has all of my heart in it. It is, in my eyes, one of my most successful recipes to date because of what it created for me. It created the simple idea that you can do anything you put your mind to.

Absolutely anything.


Sesame Bagels

Author: The Hungry Happy Mama


Yields: 8 bagels

Prep time: 2 hours 10 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes


  • 1 1/2 c warm water (between 100-110F)
  • 2 3/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 4 c organic bread flour, plus more for work surface
  • 1 tbsp organic brown sugar
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 c honey
  • 1 large organic egg
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds


  1. Prepare the dough by whisking together the yeast and warm water in the bowl of your stand mixer with the dough attachment. Cover with a dish towel and let stand for 5 minutes.
  2. Once ready, add the flour, brown sugar, and sea salt. Beat on a low speed until the dough begins to form (it will look somewhat dry).
  3. Remove the dough from the bowl and and knead using your hands on a lightly floured surface for about 5 minutes until it comes together.
  4. Add the olive oil to a large clean mixing bowl and swirl around to coat. Place the dough ball into the bowl rolling it to coat with the oil. Cover the bowl with the dish towel and let rise at room temperature for one hour. It should double in size once ready (see picture above for reference).
  5. One the dough is ready, line a large baking sheet with parchment or a silicone liner.
  6. Uncover the dough and punch into it to release any air pockets. Divide the dough in half, then half again, and half again to create 8 small dough balls (see picture above). The balls don’t have to be exactly the same size, just eyeball it.
  7. Carefully press your finger into the center of each ball to create a small hole. You can use your hands to help shape them a bit as well. Place the bagels onto the prepared pan and cover with the towel once again while you prep the water.
  8. Preheat your oven to 425F.
  9. Fill a large pot with water and whisk in the honey. Cover and bring to boil on high heat. Once boiling reduce the heat to medium so it’s just a light boil.
  10. Gently drop in the bagels. You will have to do this in batches. I added 3 at a time so as to not crowd the pot. Let cook for 1 minute then flip and cook the other side for 1 minute. Remove the bagels with a slotted spoon and place back on your baking sheet. Repeat this step for the additional bagels.
  11. Whisk the egg and water together to create the egg wash. Using a small pastry brush, brush the wash over the top and around the sides of each bagel.
  12. Sprinkle each with sesame seeds.
  13. Bake the bagel for 20-25 minutes or until golden. Allow them to cool before transferring to a cooling rack.
  14. Once completely cool, slice and serve with your favorite spread.

Storing: bagels will keep freshest for up to a week in the fridge. You can also freeze for up to 3 months.

*Note: These bagels use organic ingredients. You can, however, substitute non-organic if desired.

Nutrition (per bagel): 230cal/ 0.2g fat/ 45g carbs/ 2g fiber/ 0g sugar/ 9g protein


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