Whole Grain Honey Wheat Bagels


Guest post by Stephani, from The Cheapskate Cook.

I never thought I would make my own bagels. It seemed too time consuming, too complicated – boiling them? Baking them? Are we making pasta or bread here?

But we miss eating them.

It started with a desire to weed out the heavily processed food in our diet without increasing our grocery budget. This tossed store bought bagels out the window, but didn’t really allow for healthier bakery bagels because, well, I couldn’t find any that used less than 10 ingredients I could pronounce. And that were in my price range.

I still indulged in an occasional bag, but I forgot how much I missed bagels until this last store bought batch ran out.

So I thought, why not? My kids like baking with me. We’ll turn it into a mom-and-kids project.

Surprisingly, it was not as hard as I thought it would be. Even with kids clattering around in the kitchen. Certainly, they had more steps than a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but the directions were straight forward and simple.

And not surprisingly, they were delicious.


I’ll admit, I’m no bagel making expert. They turned out fantastic, but maybe I missed something. Maybe the bagel cooks in New York would shake their heads at this.

However, if you’re looking for a healthy whole grain recipe that worked beautifully for a never-made-bagels-before home cook, look no further. You have arrived.

bagels15      bagels17

Whole Grain Honey Wheat Bagels

Inspired by this recipe

Makes 12 small bagels


  • 4-6 cups freshly ground whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (just warmer than body temperature)
  • 3 Tablespoons  plus 1 Tablespoon honey (can substitute maple syrup)
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt



If desired, proof the yeast by combining the 3 tablespoons honey, yeast and warm water in a small bowl. Stir together gently and set aside for 5-10 minutes, until frothy and bubbly. In a medium-sized bowl stir together 4 cups flour and salt. Add yeast mixture and stir to combine. This is what I did, and it worked great. However, I read that proofing the yeast isn’t necessary and not really preferable for bagels.

Alternatively, stir together 2 cups flour, salt and yeast in a medium-sized bowl. Stir in water and 3 tablespoons honey then add 2 more cups of flour.

Knead the dough (either on the counter or in a mixer) for 5-10 minutes, adding more flour as necessary until dough is smooth and elastic. Do not add too much flour or dough will become stiff.

Form dough into a ball, cover it with a clean towel and allow it to rest for 10 minutes.


Meanwhile, fill a large soup pot with water (leaving 2-3 inches from the top) and the last tablespoon of honey and set it on the stove over high heat. Let it come to a rolling boil. Lay a thick dish towel on the counter next to stove.

When the 10 minutes are up, divide the dough into 12 equal parts, each about half the size of your fist.

Lightly grease a baking sheet then set a timer for 20 minutes.

Form the dough into bagel shapes by rolling each piece into a smooth ball. Stick two fingers through the middle of the ball then pull it into a 2-inch hole and smooth/roll the dough using the other hand as a support. It’s nothing magical – just make sure the hole is about 2 inches across and the dough is fairly even (no big bulges – they won’t cook evenly).

bagels2       bagels3

bagels4       bagels5

Repeat with the rest of the pieces and allow them to sit on the baking sheet until the timer goes off.

bagels6       bagels7

Turn on the broiler in your oven, and when the timer goes off pop the baking sheet in. Allow the bagels to broil for 1 minute (don’t let them turn brown), then remove them from the oven, gently flip them over, and broil them on the other side for 1 minute.

Turn broiler off and set oven to bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

By this time the pot of water should have reached a rolling boil. Place 4-6 bagels in the water and allow them to boil about 30 seconds. Use a slotted spoon to flip them over and boil them another 30 seconds. Then gently remove them with that slotted spoon and place them on the dish towel to dry. Repeat with all of the bagels and allow them to dry on the towel until no longer sticky or even very wet, about 2 minutes. If desired, flip them over once during that time to ensure both sides dry evenly.

bagels8       bagels9

Lightly grease the baking sheet again then place bagels back on it and bake them at 375 degrees for 20-35 minutes, until golden brown.

bagels11       bagels12

Slather with your favorite bagel spread and enjoy.

If desired, make a double or triple batch and freeze what you won’t eat in the next two days.

bagels16      bagels14

What’s your favorite bagel spread? I’m a cream cheese girl myself.


About The Cheapskate Cook

When Stephani and her husband got married, they lived in a renovated shed and had a grocery budget that matched. As a passionate whole-foodie, Stephani was determined to continue eating healthy, minimally-processed foods on their shoestring budget. So The Cheapskate Cook was born. You can follow the fun on her blog, where healthy meets frugal, or keep up with it via Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Grain Mill Challenge Experience: This challenged inspired me to try whole grain baked goods I'd never made before - monkey bread, french bread, bagels, and more. If you're used to the white flour counterparts, whole grain is hard to get used to. However, freshly ground flour makes all the difference. I've completely lost my taste for white flour - in fact, whenever I have to work with it, the smell makes me crinkle my nose. It's nothing compared to the scent of warm, freshly ground flour. Without my grain mill, I think I would lose a lot of motivation for making healthy baked goods from scratch. I have no intention of going back.

This entry was posted in Grain Mill Challenge and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Related Posts on the Grain Mill Wagon: