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Whole Wheat Bagels - Any Tips?

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I can't find a satisfying whole wheat bagel so I thought I'd try making my own. The ones I can find don't seem to be 100% whole wheat and are a little too sweet for my taste. I thought I'd start with the bagel recipe in Rose Levy Berenbaum's "The Bread Bible" but use whole wheat flour instead of AP. Does that sound right? Does anyone have any advice or warnings?

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  1. I've always found that 100% whole wheat baked foods are a bit on the heavy side but that's just personal taste. You should make sure to use a wheat flour that's high in gluten but I guess that's all; personally, I would use 3/4 whole wheat and 1/4 AP flour.

    3 Replies
    1. re: digkv

      I agree, digkv. Usually, when replacing w/ w.w. flour, you need to leave some AP to maintain a palatable texture. I almost always sub some whole wheat flour in recipes that call for all AP flour. But have learned that if you do 100% WW you end up w/ a brick!

      1. re: lynnlato

        Do you guys think that using whole wheat pastry flour might work, to keep them 100% whole wheat but lighten them up?

        1. re: farmersdaughter

          The bagel recipes I've seen have all called for high-protein (high gluten) flour, which pastry flour is not. So it may not work very well, would be my guess (though it's only a guess). I recently made some bagels with about half-and-half white bread flour and 'white' whole wheat, King Arthur brand; it's a lighter whole wheat, and they turned out quite nice.

    2. We've been making bagels regularly for about a year now and are quite spoiled. I'm originally from NY and living in SF so just about impossible to find the real thing in stores. Everything we've tried is way too doughy.

      I've been using the bagel recipe in Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhardt using a mix of half whole wheat bread flour and half white bread flour. All whole wheat makes for a very dense mixture that is pretty hard to work with, IMO. Half seems to do the trick.

      1 Reply
      1. re: kevine

        Great suggestion! Peter is brilliant. He teaches at the J & W here in Charlotte and I've been dying to get into one of his classes but they sell out quicker than a Hannah Montana concert... ugh! But it seems that the equal parts white to wheat is the way to go.

      2. I'm a year late but if anyone is following this......How 'bout replacing 10% of the 100%
        whole wheat flour with vital wheat gluten. This will obviously put the flour into the high
        gluten category.
        any ideas?