Montreal Bagels: a recipe to keep you busy during isolation

Montreal Bagels: a recipe to keep you busy during isolation

Ahhhh Montreal Bagels! You’ve probably heard us talk about them a few times already if you follow us over on Instagram (@mapping.along - you definitely should be following us!). They’re chewy and delicious and best enjoyed toasted with a bit (read a lot) of butter, or peanut butter, or cream cheese & smoked salmon or honestly any which way you want!

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What makes them so special?

Well for starters, Montreal Bagels really remind us of home. While traveling around, they are always one of the first foods we start craving because you can’t really find Montreal bagels anywhere else than well, Montreal. They are a staple in our household and we love to get them fresh every week from our favorite bagel shop, just a few blocks away.

If you’re familiar with NYC style bagels, you’ll find these to be a bit different. Montreal bagels are denser, chewier, sweeter and have a bigger hole in them than your typical bagel. They are boiled in honey water for a few minutes which gives them their subtle sweetness and then tossed in sesame seeds before being baked in a wood-burning oven until golden brown.

Montreal Bagels Recipe
Nothing beats freshly baked Montreal bagels with a nice coffee!
Montreal Bagels Recipe
Did you know you can make these at home?
Montreal Bagels Recipe
Golden brown, chewy Montreal Bagels

The history of the Montreal Bagel

There are many debates surrounding the Montreal bagel in the city. Although the true origin may very well never be confirmed, the important thing to note when you’re visiting Montreal is that there are two very well-known bakeries providing us with the best bagels. St-Viateur Bagels and Fairmount Bagels are both located in our favorite neighborhood called Mile-End, just a short walk away from one another. And while we do have a personal preference for St-Viateur, we do think you should try both as they’re seriously delicious!

If you are looking for the best cafes in Montreal, click here to check out our list of seven of our favorites!

Montreal Bagels Recipe
Saint-Viateur Bagel is our favorite stop in Mile-End
Montreal Bagels Recipe
This wall of newspaper clippings gives you an overview of the history

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Making Montreal Bagels at home

Now by all means - I am not an expert baker. I bake for fun and because this worldwide pandemic has left me with a lot of time on my hands and needing a way to keep myself entertained (and keep Sam fed!). Recently, I’ve started experimenting with baking and have received such a great response over on Instagram and many people asking for recipes, so I decided to share my recipes on here so you can get baking at home too! This Montreal Bagel Recipe is based on many recipes I found online combined with a few adjustments.

If you have some time on your hands and a bit of patience, get ready to be amazed. I didn’t think it would be possible to make good bagels at home, but I was proven wrong. Are these as good as the ones from St-Viateur? No. Are they still extremely delicious? They sure are!

Montreal Bagels Recipe
Chewy, slightly sweet, perfectly browned and tossed in sesame seeds.. yum!

Here is our recipe for amazing Montreal Bagels!

Ingredients for the dough

  • 1 1/2 cups of lukewarm water (355g)
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons of active dry yeast (7g)
  • 1 tablespoon of light brown sugar (13g)
  • 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil (41g)
  • 1/4 cup of honey or maple syrup (85g)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons of salt (6g)
  • 4 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (562g)

Ingredients for boiling

  • 16 cups of water
  • 1/3 cup of honey or maple syrup (113g)
  • 1/3 cup of toasted sesame seeds (47g)
Montreal Bagels Recipe


  1. In a large bowl, mix water, sugar, and yeast and let sit for 5 minutes while the yeast blooms. You’ll know it is ready when the texture changes and there are bubbles forming at the surface.
  2. Once the yeast is mixture is ready, add the oil, honey or maple syrup, egg and egg yolk and salt. Combine well.
  3. Add one cup of flour at a time and combine until a dough starts to form, keeping 1/2 cup of flour separate.
  4. Transfer onto a floured work surface and start kneading the dough. If your dough is too sticky, add the remaining 1/2 cup of flour until you get a consistency that is easier to work with.
  5. Knead the dough for at least 10 minutes by hand or 5 minutes on low speed in a stand mixer, until it is stretchy and smooth.
  6. Cover and let it rest for 30 minutes.
  7. Preheat the oven to 460°F (238°C) with the rack in the middle position.
  8. Bring a large pot of 16 cups of water to a boil. Add honey or maple syrup and let it simmer.
  9. Transfer the sesame seeds onto a shallow dish (you will toss the boiled bagels into the seeds to coat them before baking.)
  10. Once the dough has rested, divide it into 14 equal parts. Stretch or roll each piece of dough gently into a 20cm rope. Join the two ends of the rope together by pinching the dough onto itself and rolling it back and forth using the palm of your hand to make the seam disappear.
  11. Place the shaped bagels onto parchment paper and cover with plastic wrap or a tea towel while you shape the rest of your bagels.
  12. Once all the bagels are shaped, boil the bagels 3 at a time, starting with the first bagels that were shaped. If you worked really fast during the shaping process, you will need to let these rest for a few minutes before boiling. You want your bagels to have rested for 15 minutes before hitting the hot water. **
  13. Boil the bagels for 3 minutes, flipping them halfway. Remove from the boiling water with a slotted spoon and toss into the sesame seeds, coating the bagels evenly.
  14. Place the boiled and coated bagels onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.**
  15. Bake the bagels one tray at a time for 12 minutes before flipping them over and baking for another 6-8 minutes or until they are perfectly golden brown.
  16. Enjoy!

Additional Tips

** Boil the second tray of bagels while the first tray is in the oven. It is okay if they rest after being boiled. This should not have too much of an impact on their texture.
** Parchment paper will prevent them from sticking to your baking sheet and burning on the bottom. Alternately, you could use silicone mats but make sure to check that your mats can withstand high temperatures.

You can store these in the fridge for up to one week or in the freezer!

If you make them, please send me a photo or tag us on Instagram so I can see your creations. Happy baking!

Not baking right now? Save the recipe to Pinterest for later! ↓

Montreal Bagels Recipe
Montreal Bagels Recipe

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