Montreal Bagels

The bagels in Montreal are very different from those in New York City. Since honey and/or barley malt syrup were used, there is a discernible increase in sweetness. Much less airy and doughy. But what set them apart was a slightly burnt, speckled exterior resulting from serious heat in a wood oven.

We did put the leftovers in the freezer when we got home, but they didn’t survive very long. We set out to recreate Montreal Bagels at home and have been doing so ever since.

You’ve finally found the recipe for the legendary Montreal bagel! This dish is based on a 1987 New York Times recipe.


  • 2 packages of instant yeast
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 5-6 cups of bread flour
  • 1 1/2 cups of warm water
  • 1 ½ cup of lightly toasted sesame seeds
  • ½ cup of honey
  • ¼ cup of oil
  • 1/4 cup of barley malt syrup
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar


  1. Mix the yeast, sugar, and salt into the water in a large bowl. Mix in the oil, honey, egg, and egg yolk. Ensure a smooth mixture and whisk it all together.
  2. A dough can be made by gradually adding flour and then being kneaded for about 10 minutes, during which additional flour may be added if the dough is sticking.
  3. After the dough has become firm and smooth, it should rest for 15 minutes under a covered bowl.
  4. Take a punch and cut the void into 16 equal parts. Making a bagel is as simple as rolling out each piece into a 10-inch rope, wrapping it around your hand, and pressing the ends together. To join the two ends, gently bounce your hand back and forth across the seam.
  5. Bagels should have their bottoms dusted with flour, and parchment paper should be used for baking. Bagels need 30 minutes to rise after being covered with a towel.
  6. Prepare a 450F oven. Put the honey or malt syrup in a wide, shallow pot and boil it while you spread the sesame seeds on a platter. Bagels, once they’ve risen, should be boiled for around 30 seconds per side.
  7. Shake off any excess water and remove them from the pan. Spread sesame seeds over a baking sheet and pop it in the oven.
  8. Turn the pan over midway through baking, and bake for another 25 minutes or until golden.
  9. When the bagels have cooled, place them in an airtight plastic bag and place them in the freezer.

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