NY Style Sun-Dried Tomato Bagels, Gluten Free

by Jenn on June 9, 2010

in Flops,Gluten Free,Pastas and Grains,Vegetarian

Bagels, Gluten Free

Yes, you read the title right.  Bagels.  Gluten free bagels.  Until last week the idea had crossed my mind a few times, and all I could picture are those kinds that come frozen in a bag that you have to microwave to defrost at which point they become a bit mushy for my taste.  My husband likes them.  He misses not having those frozen bagels available to buy.  But that’s because it’s been SO long since he’s had a truly good bagel.  I’m talking about one you can make a sandwich out of, sink your teeth into and let your tongue dance on the sweet and soft flavors as they cross over each part of your mouth – the kind where you lick your lips fast as you can after taking a bite because it would be a high crime to allow any crumb to fall to the merciless floor, wasted.

Unlike my husband, I spent a summer in NYC once, on Manhattan.  It was seriously one of my favorite summers in college.  I lived for all the picnics and concerts with my friends in Central Park – especially the jazz!  Some of the best jazz music I’ve ever heard has been in Central Park.  And while my kitchen skills were pretty atrocious back then, it was in NYC that I first was awakened to a world of new and exciting foods.  That summer was probably one of the most formative times for finding myself, and finding my love of food.

My roommate and I had this little teeny kitchen (maybe smaller than what I currently have, which certainly says something) – and neither one of us had a clue about how to cook anything.  But we did – maybe half of what we made was really edible, but we were poor so we ate our failed experiments anyways.  And then there were times when our meal attempts were so awful that even we couldn’t stomach them – ha yes, being a good cook takes practice!  And neither of us had had any.  On those days, sometimes we’d give up on dinner and the next morning head down a few blocks to one of our favorite little shops to get a latte before work – but by far our favorite breakfast out was from this particular bagel stand just 2 blocks away.

You had to be a bit smart about ordering bagels from this guy though.  Have you ever seen the Seinfeld episode about ordering soup?  This guy ran his bagel business in about the same way.  And forget about ordering more than one bagel per person – meaning that one of us couldn’t just run out to get them and bring them back to the apt.

“I’d like to order two plain bagels please with cream cheese.”

“No, you only get one bagel.”

“But I’m buying one for a friend too, I’d like two bagels please.”


“Two please.”

“One!  I have other paying customers besides you, you know.  What are they going to do when they come to my stand and I tell them that YOU are the reason I have no bagels to sell to them?!  You can buy ONE bagel.  Now go!”

Well, he did have the absolute best bagels around, so I followed his rules so I could keep coming back to buy my one bagel, and the subsequent trips my roommate and I always decided to go together, so that way we could justify buying two bagels.

Since moving to Suisse, bagels have been one thing I’ve really been missing.  And my husband didn’t really know it, but he’s been missing a good bagel for a lot longer than that.  So when Maggie of She Let Them Eat Cake posted a guest post on Amy’s blog last week with a gluten free bagel recipe, I just had to make it.  In fact, I went and made it the very next night.  There was just one problem – it didn’t work.  The bagels halfway dissolved in the poaching, and were so crumbly after baking that it was near impossible to slice them.

I was disappointed, but I wasn’t giving up.  I’ve learned enough through several trials and errors now to start to be able to think critically about my actions in the kitchen when it comes to gluten free baking.  I suspected the problem was due to my gluten free flour mix, which I made myself, and which did not include any binding agent.  This was not a deliberate choice on my part, but merely due to lack of finding any to buy.  However, we had heard a rumor of a certain natural foods store a couple towns over that might carry some, and so this weekend went to check it out.  And there it was, the ever elusive guar gum!!  I was so excited – not having this stuff has meant the needless failure of more than one bread attempt on my part since moving to Suisse.

This weekend I repeated the recipe – I made the bagels bigger this time, and made sure to include the guar gum.  What a difference that made!  They didn’t dissolve in the water, they baked beautifully, they sliced beautifully.  So moral of this story – when it comes to gluten free breads, a binding gum is critical to their success. Don’t believe me?  I took pics of them side by side – the bagel made with guar gum is on the right – which one looks more like a success to you?

Bagels, Gluten Free

Some things you just cannot make do without.  A gum like guar gum is one of those things in gluten free baking.  The end result was perfect.  They were thick, dense, chewy – the kind to make a sandwich out of that is a meal.  The kind that brought me back memories of awesome tasting bagels in NYC.  The kind that Ryan hasn’t been able to eat in years.  You can bet that we will be making these again.

Also submitted to – Friday Foodie Fix
Also submitted to – Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays
Also submitted to – Gluten Free Wednesdays


Gluten Free NY Style Sun-dried Tomato Bagels, adapted from Maggie at She Let Them Eat Cake, adapted from Canadian Living Cooks

Prep Time: 15 min to activate yeast
Total Time: 2.5 hours

  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 packet active dry yeast
  • 1/2 c. warm water
  • 4/3 c. quinoa flakes
  • 4/3 c. potato starch
  • 2/3 c. white rice flour
  • 2/3 c. amaranth or corn flour
  • 2 tbs. guar gum
  • 2 tbs. your favorite dried Italian herbs
  • 1/4 cup chopped sundried tomatoes
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten, room temperature
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbs. sugar (for poaching liquid)
  • 1/4 c. milk (for glaze)

1. Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water and cover until yeast is activated and liquid volume has doubled.  Meanwhile, in a medium bowl mix together the dry ingredients – quinoa flakes, potato starch, white rice flour, amaranth flour, guar gum, herbs, sundried tomatoes and salt.
2.  In a large bowl (this will be the one you use to bring all the dough together), whisk together eggs and olive oil, and stir in yeasty water.  When combined, gradually stir in the dry ingredients, until you can just start to work with it with your hands (about 2 cups).  At this point, bring it out onto a floured surface (I used corn flour), and gradually knead in the rest of the flour until it’s all incorporated.  For keading with a gluten free dough, I was a bit gentler than I would be with other breads.  I just kept folding in half alternating which way I folded by 90º.  It started off sticky, but in the end was still pliable, and did not crack much when manipulated.  If it is cracking it is too dry and you added in too much flour – if this happens, remedy with the slightest amount of water, but take care if you do this!
3. Place kneaded ball of dough back in to your bowl and cover with a warm damp towel and allow to rise for an hour, preferably in a warm sunny spot. It should double in size.
4.  When risen, split the dough into 4 sections and roll each into a ball with your hands.  Then, on a floured surface, use your hands to pat each ball into a disk, and use your finger to work a hole in the middle, gently pulling the dough away until the hole is about the size of a dime.  Do this with each until you’ve got 4 bagels.  Cover them with a damp towel while you heat up the water.
5. Preheat your oven to 400F.  Fill a pot (any pot that is bigger than your biggest bagel) halfway with water and add in 2 tbs. sugar.  Bring it to a boil, and then turn it down to a simmer.  Gluten free dough is much more water soluble than regular dough so you want to make sure your poaching is rather gentle.  Slip one  into the water, and let poach for 2 minutes on each side to get nice chewy NY style bagels. Once poached, glaze with milk (I just used my hands) and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
6. Bake at 400F for 20 minutes or until golden brown.  Since these are big bagels, at this point flip them over and bake for another 10 minutes until the other side is golden.  Let cool on a rack (or don’t) and enjoy! We enjoyed ours with some cream cheese mixed with pesto, as pictured above.

Notes on changes to the recipe –

  • I omitted the baking soda.  As far as I can tell, it’s not really needed in this recipe – I don’t think the dough is so acidically hostile as to prevent the yeast from doing their thing, and I’m not sure that it would still be active after the proofing time anyways.  The bagels still rose a bit when baking without it.
  • Eggs.  Maggie’s original recipe is egg free.  We have no issues with eggs, and so used eggs rather than the flax seed replacement.  Feel free to use what suits you best.
  • Olive oil.  This was just a personal preference from the sunflower oil, I felt it would best fill out the flavor profile with the sundried tomatoes and herbs (another addition of mine).
  • Sugar.  The original recipe as seen on Amy’s site calls for evaporated cane sugar – I used plain old cheapo sugar.
  • GF Flour mix – As a rule I don’t use premade mixes, because I like to have control over the flavors that are going into what I make and not every mix works for everything.  Also, until last Saturday I didn’t even know where to buy a premade GF mix.  So I make my own.  Quinoa flakes are awesome.  If you have not used them, I encourage you to try cooking with them.  If nothing else, they are a great substitute for oatmeal in the mornings.
  • Milk.  Maggie’s recipe is dairy free.  We have no issues with milk, and all of the dairy en Suisse is freaking awesome.


Bagels, Gluten Free


Rosa June 9, 2010 at 7:41 am

Those bagels look really good! They seem to have a perfect texture… I love the addition of sundried tomatoes.



Jenn June 9, 2010 at 6:52 pm

Thanks Rosa! I was really really pleased with how the texture came out!

Cherine June 9, 2010 at 9:21 am

Wonderful bagels!!

Jenn June 9, 2010 at 6:52 pm

Thank you!

Erin June 9, 2010 at 1:53 pm

These look wonderful! I will definitely have to try them!

Jenn June 9, 2010 at 6:52 pm

Thanks Erin! If you do, I’d love to hear how they come out!

Chelsey June 9, 2010 at 4:35 pm

Jenn, these look great! Chewy? Just like real bagels? I might have to give this a go…I don’t remember eating my last bagel.

I can’t beleive there are real people like your bagel guy in NY. Totally sounds just like Seinfeld!

Jenn June 9, 2010 at 6:53 pm

Ha I know! I remember calling my mom that day to tell her abut this crazy guy and she immediately made the Seinfeld connection! It’s uncannily similar!

Cook with Madin June 9, 2010 at 5:56 pm

Hi, I enjoyed reading your post. The bagels looks delicious especially with sun dried tomatoes. That was funny about your bagel guy, exactly like the soup guy in Seinfeld.

Jenn June 9, 2010 at 6:54 pm

Thanks! Sun-dried tomatoes are one of my favorite things in bagels, so it had to be the first flavor I tried!

Heather @CeliacFamily June 9, 2010 at 8:14 pm

Looks delicious! And only two tries to get it right? That’s not bad for a gluten-free bread. :)

Jenn June 9, 2010 at 11:18 pm

Oh thanks! I think what helps here is that you’re not really going for something light & fluffy, but nice and dense, which as well all know dense is something gluten free does really well!

Magic of Spice June 10, 2010 at 12:52 am

I have never tried making bagels…These sound so good!

Jenn June 10, 2010 at 10:10 am

Def. give them a go – I hadn’t ever made bagels before either – it’s so much fun to make a successful recipe!

Deanna June 10, 2010 at 1:56 pm

Your version looks lovely! I like your flour changes. My hubby doesn’t like tapioca much. And, I don’t like using mixes, either – although this recipe used most of a batch of Maggie’s mix. So not a huge deal to whip up a batch.

Jenn June 10, 2010 at 2:06 pm

Thanks! I use tapioca, arrowroot, and potato starch pretty interchangeably when it comes to baking….

ashley June 10, 2010 at 4:11 pm

soup nazi! :-) these look good! i have a friend who has celiacs so i’ll have to keep this recipe in mind for her! they look great!

Jenn June 13, 2010 at 8:24 am

ha yep! very cool, I hope she likes them!

Carol (CGtheFoodie) June 11, 2010 at 3:06 am

First, love the photography!

Second, I am staying in Manhattan for a week this summer and must have the location of this bagel man. I need to try his bagels!

Third, thanks for the GF recipe! I am thinking these will travel well for my GF friend.

Jenn June 11, 2010 at 9:34 am

Thanks so much! Ha I don’t know if he’d even still be there, it was a few years ago….

Maggie June 11, 2010 at 4:22 am

These look so fantastic Jenn! I’m glad you found the guar gum. Love that you made a savory version. I am a little envious of your time in NYC.

Jenn June 11, 2010 at 9:34 am

Thanks so much for providing such an awesome recipe! Yes, guar gum totally saved the day!

Christine June 11, 2010 at 6:13 am

I was thinking about trying to make GF bagels the other day and now I think I will! Thanks for sharing. :)

Jenn June 11, 2010 at 9:35 am

Oh great! If you try these I’ll be curious to know how they come out for you! What flavor do you think you will try to make first?

Christine June 11, 2010 at 10:30 pm

That’s hard to say. I used to really like blueberry bagels, but I’ll probably make cheese bagels to ensure that my husband likes them. 😛

Kate June 15, 2010 at 3:07 am

You have just made my life complete. THANK YOU SO MUCH for this post! I’m going to make them tonight :)

Jenn June 16, 2010 at 11:29 pm

You’re welcome!! I hope they came out well!!

Linda June 17, 2010 at 2:40 am

Oh yum! They look great Jen. I never was a big fan of bagels, but I would enjoy a good one once in a while. I have made GF bagels a couple of times in the past. They were okay but not great. I’ll have to try this recipe the next time.

Jenn July 8, 2010 at 11:19 pm

Thanks! I hope you enjoy making them!

Shirley @ gfe June 17, 2010 at 5:37 am

They look sooo good, Jenn! Great job, and funny post. I used to love Seinfeld and still watch it sometimes (often better than what’s on now). I find it funny to watch or hear about these occurrences, but it might be frustrating to live through them. But, hey, enforced portion control, right? 😉

BTW, I do think gf breads can be made without gums. It’s not my forte, but folks like Ali and Kelly do it often. :-)


Jenn July 8, 2010 at 11:21 pm

thanks! I am very curious about baking without the gums – and I’m glad to hear that it can be done, because they are often the priciest ingredient in the entire GF process. I will def. have to look at their recipes more!

Heather July 2, 2010 at 3:13 am

Wow, wow, wow! Not only are they beautiful, but they are delicious! Thanks so much for the detailed instruction. I’m a newbie at gf baking and your detailed directions were exactly what I needed to feel brave enough to give it a shot. I even wrote a post about my experience. Thanks for the recipe and the inspiration!


Jenn July 8, 2010 at 11:22 pm

Oh I am so glad that you tried them and liked them! Yours look gorgeous!!

Ellen @ I Am Gluten Free July 8, 2010 at 5:17 am

Oh yes, definitely will try this (or the original recipe w/o the eggs). Thanks for sharing! I make gluten free bagels fairly often ( you can see my bagel recipes on my blog), but I’m always interested in trying new ones!

Jenn July 8, 2010 at 11:22 pm

Thank you! I will have to try your recipes as well, I’d love to compare and try new variations!

Becky October 6, 2010 at 9:35 am

Your bagels look amazing!!! I can’t wait to try them!! I think my celiac husband and daughter are going to love you (if I can get your results)! I had a question about your recipe measurements.. it says 4/3 c for the quinoa flakes and potato starch, is that 3/4 c ? Thanks for posting this recipe, looking forward to bagels that aren’t the store bought cardboard kind :)

Jenn October 6, 2010 at 9:39 am

Thanks! I did my measuring for this recipe in units of 1/3 c. It just seemed easier to read writing it as 4/3 than 1 1/3 – but yes, I really meant 4/3 :) I hope you enjoy them! What flavor are you going to make?

Brittany (Real Sustenance) January 1, 2011 at 5:02 pm

Hi Jenn!
Amazing Post- just wanted to let you know that I featured it as a top 20 favorite from 2010!
Happy New Year!! http://realsustenance.com/the-best-gluten-free-recipes-of-2010/
xo, Brittany

Jenn January 11, 2011 at 4:49 pm

Thanks Brittany, glad you liked it!

Lois Parker July 19, 2011 at 7:14 pm

my husband like my bagels so much it has meant we can go completely gf as a household ( I used to make his sourdough bread wearing gloves and cook nothing else in those dishes and had a separate oven). So, try the urid lentil flour and it becomes easy. Sorry to send several notes, only just found your blog and looking at lots of stuff at once.

Natasha May 26, 2012 at 8:32 pm

Since you definitely meant 4/3c, are you sure the recipe’s entirely correct in other ways? I just made these, I’m sure I followed the recipe EXACTLY, and at the dough kneading stage I had a crumbly mass of flour! It wasn’t just a little off, it was a long shot off.

Jenn May 28, 2012 at 5:58 pm

Hmm, so sorry it didn’t work out! The original recipe I based it off of used more water than I did, and that may be due to the fact that I am not in the U.S. so the same ingredients may be milled to different consistencies and requiring differing amounts of flour/water. I know that for ex. almond flour’s behavior can be very brand specific. It may be that some ingredient measurements behave this way, but without access to the GF brands available in the U.S. it’s really hard for me to say. Also, this was done with volume measurements, which can vary greatly depending on the person/technique used for measuring. I do have it in my plans to convert this recipe to mass measurements, which should make things more exact (to the nearest gram). And when I do, I will definitely update this page. Until then the best I can say is that you need to gauge the flour/liquid ratio as you go – the original recipe used a range for a flour measurement, so even Maggie doesn’t have a very exact amount. Sorry it didn’t work out for you!

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