montreal bagels

Having never gone to Montréal, the largest city in Canada’s Quebec province, I can’t confirm that these are the real deal. Plus, I deviated somewhat from the recipe being that I didn’t have all the ingredients. I didn’t have wheat malt syrup, so made what I hope is a close enough approximation of it using a combination of molasses and maple syrup. I also decided to add a couple of tablespoons of malted milk powder in the dough. The main trait that separates this from New York bagels is the thickness. So I think the shaping makes all the difference. When rolling them into thin logs, roll them to about a foot long. You want these to be thinner and denser than New York style bagels, almost like authentic German style pretzels.

Montreal bagels (adapted from the book HomeBaking: The Artful Mix of Flour and Tradition Around The World, makes about 14-16 bagels)


1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 cup lukewarm water

1 and 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast

1 teaspoon maple syrup

2 teaspoons molasses 

1/4 cup warm water

1 small egg

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

2 to 2.5 cups all-purpose flour

2 Tablespoons malted milk powder (optional)

1/2 cup sesame seeds plus 2 Tablespoons poppyseeds


In a small cup or bowl, add the water, sugar, and yeast and stir to dissolve. Let sit to bloom the yeast. 

In another small bowl add molasses, maple syrup and 1/4 cup warm water, mix, then add egg, oil, and salt to it and stir again until blended together. Set aside.

After about 5 minutes when yeast water mixture is a little frothy or bubbly, add 1/2 cup of the flour and stir until all the flour is moistened. Add the molasses mixture and stir in as well.

Add another cup of flour. Also add the malted milk powder at this time, if using. Continue stirring. Add about 1/2 cup of flour and stir in, then add about 1/4 to 1/2 cup more flour if needed so that dough is not too wet and sticky.

Turn over dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead dough for 5-10 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic.

Place the dough into a clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight.

In the morning, punch down dough and cover top of bowl with plastic wrap again, then let sit for 2 hours to warm up dough and let rise again.

Heat oven to 450 and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

Divide dough into 14 to 16 equal pieces. Roll each piece of dough to a skinny rope about 12 inches long. Form each piece of dough into a bagel shape, letting ends overlap together and pinching together, then pressing down the pinched seam to stick together. Place each bagel on parchment lined baking sheets. I used two baking sheets lined with parchment paper and fit 7 bagels per sheet, making a total of 14 bagels. Let sit for about 15 minutes. You could fit about 8 bagels per standard baking sheet and make 16 slightly smaller bagels. You can use a scale to be exact. Mine were about 40 grams of raw dough per bagel.

Fill a large dutch oven or pot halfway with water. Add 1 Tablespoon molasses and 1 teaspoon maple syrup into the water and bring water to a steady simmer on medium to medium low heat.

Heat oven to 450 degrees F.

Place about 1/2 cup with sesame or poppy seeds or a combination into a bowl and set aside.

Gently place 4 bagels into the water. Once they have risen, use a slotted spoon to first gently flip over, then remove and place in the bowl with seeds, if using.

After lifting each bagel from the seeds, place it back on baking sheets, seed side facing up. Bake for about 8 minutes, then flip each bagel and bake bottom side up for 5-7 minutes, until golden brown.

During the second half of the baking process, after you’ve flipped each bagel and placed it back in the oven, prep the next set of bagels so that they’ll be ready to be placed in the oven as soon as they are ready, and as soon as the first set of bagels are removed from the oven.

Let cool until just warm before consuming, and consume preferably within 24 hours. Store in airtight container or wrapped in plastic for a few days. Can freeze leftover bagels as well.

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