Recipe by Cathy Barrow

The Gluten-Free Bagel

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Dairy Dairy
Easy Easy
8 Servings


- Dairy - Egg

Some great things have been happening with gluten-free options for traditional bakery items, yet friends with celiac disease complain vociferously about GF bagels. I have little experience with gluten-free baking, but I happen to know a pastry chef who does: Alexandra Mudry of DC’s Buttercream Bakeshop worked with me to make this recipe tasty and accessible. These GF bagels have a particularly remarkable chew and crust.   For the most dependable results, use King Arthur Gluten-Free Measure-for-Measure Flour for its high ratio of rice flours that provide starch and benefit the crust. The other major brand, Cup-4-Cup, will produce a slightly softer bagel. Use instant, not active dry or RapidRise, yeast. Two other ingredients (available online and in stores) contribute to the structure and cannot be substituted: To emulate the high protein content of high-gluten flour, you’ll need whey protein powder (just like the weightlifters use, and make sure it’s unflavored) and modified tapioca starch, often labeled Expandex, which can only be found online (not the tapioca flour in the grocery store). You’ll get the best results when these ingredients are measured by weight, not volume.   [Editor’s note: Because of the whey protein powder, these bagels are dairy. Ensure that your GF flour does not contain oat flour to avoid baking dairy bread; the bracha on these is shehakol.]   Makes 8


For the Bagels

  • 445 grams (3 and 2/3 cups) gluten-free all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

  • 314 grams (1 and 1/3 cups) warm water, 100 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees Celsius)

  • 115 grams (scant 1 cup) modified tapioca starch (Expandex)

  • 70 grams (2/3 cup) unflavored whey protein powder/Isolate

  • 42 grams (2 tablespoons) wildflower honey or other light-colored honey, such as Gefen Honey

  • 2 and 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons Gefen Instant Yeast

For the Water Bath

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

For the Egg Wash and Toppings

  • 1 egg beaten with 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

  • toppings, optional


Prepare the Bagels


To make the bagels, place the bowl of a stand mixer on a kitchen scale and tare the weight to zero. Measure in the gluten-free flour, water, modified tapioca starch, whey protein powder, honey, salt, and yeast. Place the bowl back on the mixer and fit it with the dough hook. On medium-low speed, mix the ingredients together for three to four minutes, until the dough just comes together.


Stop to scrape down the bowl once or twice, bringing any dry ingredients up from the bottom, and increase the speed to medium-high. Mix for five minutes, stopping to scrape down the dough from the sides midway through; it will be cohesive, puffy, and tender.


Use cooking spray to coat a bowl or container large enough to accommodate the dough once doubled in size. Gently transfer the dough to the bowl, being careful not to deflate the dough. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap that has been lightly coated with cooking spray and refrigerate for at least 12 hours and no more than 24 hours.


Dust a work surface with flour. Gently scrape the rested dough onto the floured surface and very gently work the dough for a full three minutes using a soft fold-and-turn motion rather than actively deflating the dough with vigorous kneading. Under-kneading will result in a disappointing bagel.


Line a baking sheet with a 9 by 13-inch (23 by 33-centimeter) piece of Gefen Parchment Paper dusted with flour. Divide the dough into eight equal pieces, each weighing 120 grams (about 4.25 ounces). Lightly dust the work surface with more flour, as needed. Return to the first portion you weighed and flatten it into a disk, then lift and pull in the edges toward the center to form a ball. Place it seam-side down and roll the ball under your cupped palm to form a snug, smooth exterior. Repeat with the remaining portions, working in the same order in which they were weighed. Place the balls of dough on the parchment-lined baking sheet, spaced about two inches (five centimeters) apart.


Fill a medium bowl with cool water. Dip your fingers into the water and use it to smooth the exterior of each dough ball. With your two dampened index fingers, poke a hole in the center of a dough ball, stretching the hole until it is about one inch (2.5 centimeters) across. Dip your fingers again and smooth the surface of the formed bagel. Cover the bagels with plastic wrap that has been lightly coated with cooking spray and let rest at room temperature until doubled in size, about one hour.


In the meantime, place a pizza stone, Baking Steel, or inverted baking sheet on the oven’s center rack and preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius).


To make the water bath when ready to boil and bake, in a five-quart (4.7-liter) or larger pot over high heat, combine the water, honey, baking soda, and salt and bring to a boil, then lower the heat to maintain a simmer. Place a 9 by 13-inch (23 by 33-centimeter) piece of parchment paper on a pizza peel, large cutting board, or an inverted baking sheet. (You need to be able to easily slide the bagel-laden parchment paper from this surface into the oven.)


Using two hands, gently lift one bagel at a time and carefully lower it into the simmering water. Repeat with another one or two bagels only if they fit in the pot without crowding. It’s likely they will sink before rising to the surface. Simmer for one minute, then gently turn the bagel over using a slotted spoon or spider. Simmer for another 45 seconds to one minute, then gently lift the bagel and place it on the parchment paper. Repeat with the remaining bagels. Brush the bagels gently with the egg wash and sprinkle with toppings, as desired. Slide the parchment paper with the bagels directly onto the hot surface in the oven and bake until deeply golden brown, 16 to 18 minutes. To remove the bagels from the oven, slide the parchment paper right onto the peel. Transfer on their paper to a wire rack to cool.


Freshly baked gluten-free bagels need plenty of time to cool so the crumb sets properly. Allow them to rest for 30 to 45 minutes before eating. These bagels are best served the day they are made. Eat within four hours or store.


Reprinted from Bagels, Schmears, and a Nice Piece of Fish by Cathy Barrow with permission from Chronicle Books, 2022. Photographs © Linda Xiao. 

The Gluten-Free Bagel

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