In the bagel world, there’s quite a divide between the classic New York bagel and the sweeter, Canadian counterpart — the Montreal bagel.
Montreal bagels are denser, sweeter and traditionally made in wood fired ovens as opposed to the fluffy-on-the-inside, crisp-on-the-outside, baked bagels made south of the Canadian border.
Both varieties of bagels are made using yeasted dough and are boiled before being baked. NY-style bagels are dipped in boiling water that has baking soda or lye, whereas Montreal bagels get dunked in boiling water that has honey or malt, creating a sweeter, denser dough.
The sweet and chewy nature of Montreal bagels lends them to eating them plain. So put away the cream cheese, jam and butter because once you make a fresh batch of Montreal bagels, you’ll want to enjoy them just as they are!
In a large bowl, mix together warm water, yeast and sugar. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
Mix in egg, vegetable oil, salt and ½ cup honey. Gradually add flour until mixture comes together to form a dough. Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8-10 minutes.
Pop the dough back into the bowl (no need to clean) and cover with a damp tea towel. Let the dough rise until about doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Fill a large pot with 8-10 cups of water and add remaining ½ cup honey. Bring to a boil while you shape your bagels.
Divide the dough into 12 equal sized balls. Shape into bagels by either rolling into long logs and joining the ends together or shaping into rounds and poking holes in the middle using a wooden spoon. Stretch the dough around the spoon handle to make large holes. Make the holes quite large as they will rise and shrink considerably when baked.
Preheat oven to 450°F. Put the bagels onto the baking sheets and let rise for about 10 minutes. Place your poppy or sesame seeds onto a plate.
Using a slotted spoon dip your bagels, about 2 at a time, into the boiling honey water and leave for about 30 seconds per side. Scoop them out with a slotted spoon and dip them straight into the seeds and then back onto the baking sheets, seeds side up.
Once boiled, bake the bagels for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through