Serve these warm, cinnamon sugar pumpkin-spiced bagels toasted with butter or a hearty maple-bacon cream cheese.
I’m going to level with you, folks. This is not the recipe I planned on writing. My goal, my ultimate ALL TIME IDEAL version of this post was for pumpkin bagels that were also shaped like pumpkins. You know, like these dinner rolls every food blogger has been making since October 1 rolled around. Unfortunately, it turned out that was easier said than done. I came close to getting it right a couple times, but not in a way that was reliable enough to be able to recommend to anyone else.
My efforts weren’t for naught, however. After much trial and error, I finally landed on this gorgeous, twisted wreath shape, which makes for a unique tear-and-share approach to bagel-eating. And, as I made batch after batch of Pumpkin bagel dough to try different shaping methods, I refined my pumpkin bagel recipe — which is itself a variation on my regular less-than-3-hour bagel recipe — and have perfected the perfect blend of fall spices to make that pumpkin flavor shine. Topping it all off is a light dusting of cinnamon sugar that coats the bagels’ chewy exterior, adding a hint of sweetness that compliments the otherwise savory bread.
How to make pumpkin-spiced bagels
The first thing you need to do is combine your warm water and pumpkin puree. Stir to loosen the puree — it should be a fairly watery consistency. Then, add the yeast to the pumpkin/water mixture and stir it just to completely submerge the yeast. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes while you measure out your dry ingredients. It should be bubbly and slightly frothy before you use it.
While the yeast bubbles away in the pumpkin and water mixture, combine the rest of your dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer (with a dough hook attachment). If you don’t feel like messing about with individual spices, you can use 2 TBSP store-bought pumpkin pie spice. When I tried it, I found the results to be slightly underwhelming, but you do you. And if there are any spices in the blend below that you don’t like, go right ahead and reduce them by half or just omit altogether. Whisk the dry ingredients together to combine, then make a well in the middle of the mixture.
Pour the bubbly, frothy pumpkin puree and yeast mixture into the well. Start the dough hook on the lowest or second lowest speed and let the dough come together. If it seems exceptionally dry or if after 3-5 minutes there’s still a lot of loose flour in the dough, add warm water 1 TBSP at a time. Let the dough knead for an additional 30-45 seconds to absorb the water before you add any more. You may need up to 4 additional tablespoons of water, but it’s easier to add water to dry dough than flour to too-wet dough, so err on the side of less water.
When the dough forms a ball on the dough hook up the speed to medium and knead for 3 minutes. The dough should be smooth and tacky to the touch but not sticky. Slide the dough off the dough hook, shape it into a ball, and let it rest in a lightly greased bowl, covered, in a warm spot for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, punch the dough down and let it rest an additional 10 minutes.
Divide the dough into eighths (using a kitchen scale to be precise) and shape them into round dough balls using the same method we used in the regular bagel recipe. Place the dough balls under a damp paper towel to wait for the next step.
Shaping your Pumpkin-Spiced Bagels into wreaths
Take the first dough ball you shaped and divide it in half. You can use a kitchen scale to be precise, but it’s okay if the two halves are slightly off. Roll each half into a rope approximately 10″ long. If the dough resists or starts to tear instead of stretching, let it rest 5 minutes, then resume rolling. If your rope breaks, overlap the torn edges slightly and press them back together; let the rejoined rope rest for 5 minutes, and then resume rolling with a slightly gentler touch. (If you need to let the ropes or dough rest at all, simply carry on with the next rope or dough ball while you wait.)
Once you have two 10″ ropes, cross one over the other to form an “X” shape. Starting from the middle and working outward, continue crossing one rope over the other until you have one long twisted rope.
There are a lot of different ways to approach this next step, so I’ll tell you what’s important and then it’s up to you to figure out the method you prefer. Join one end of the rope to the other, overlapping by about half an inch or so. Squeeze gently to press the ends together (if you want to get fancy, interlock the rope strands). Then, with your hand inside the bagel hole and the joined ends on your palm, press down against the counter and roll to seal the ends together.
Some people prefer to press one end down under their palm against the counter, then wrap the rope over the back of their hand, tucking the second end under the palm to meet the first. If that feels too complicated, just shape the wreath first, then wiggle your hand inside the bagel hole and roll the joined ends against the counter.
Place the shaped bagel wreaths under a damp paper towel and let rest 10-15 minutes before boiling.
NOTE: If you don’t want to make wreath-shaped pumpkin-spiced bagels, follow the shaping instructions from the traditional bagel recipe.
Boiling your pumpkin-spiced bagels
Given the delicate nature of the wreath shapes, these bagels boil for less time than our usual bagel recipe. Boil the wreaths for 30-45 seconds per side, no more than 60 seconds. Be gentle with them here. The bagels expand as they boil; If you let them boil too long or jostle them too much, the joined ends will come apart.
NOTE: If the joined ends of your pumpkin-spiced bagels come apart while boiling, use a spoon to gently pin the open end against the side of the skillet while the bagel boils. This won’t seal it shut, but it will prevent it from stretching out further. Once you take the bagel out of the skillet, use a wooden toothpick to reconnect the open ends of the bagel and bake the bagel with the toothpick in place.
Place the boiled bagels on a greased or silpat-lined baking sheet. Brush with an egg wash and dust with cinnamon sugar. I prefer store-bought cinnamon sugar blends because they tend to be finer than if you make your own, but it’s really your preference.
From there, the bagels bake for 20 minutes at 425F. Let them cool slightly, then move to a wire rack to finish cooling. Then serve!
The wreath shapes are a little tricky to slice the way you’d slice a normal bagel, but they’re great for tearing into chunks like a pretzel and dipping in maple syrup, or slathering with bacon cream cheese.
- Kitchen scale — for measuring your ingredients and to accurately divide your bagel dough
- KitchenAid mixer with dough hook
- Silicone pastry brush — for your egg wash
- Wire spider — for flipping the bagels and removing them from the pot
- Paper towels or a clean dishcloth — to cover the shaped bagels while they rest and prevent them from forming a skin before you boil them
- Bench scraper — to divide your dough
- Wooden toothpicks — to hold your bagel wreaths together if they come undone while boiling
cinnamon sugar pumpkin spice bagelsDifficulty: Medium
Whether you shape these into twisted wreaths or stick to a more traditional bagel shape, these pumpkin-spiced bagels with a cinnamon sugar crust are the perfect way to celebrate fall. Serve toasted with butter or a hearty maple-bacon cream cheese.
4 cups (500 g) flour (AP or bread flour)
3/4 cup (180 g) warm water
2/3 cup (150 g) pumpkin puree (room temp)
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 TBSP brown sugar
2 1/4 tsp yeast (one packet)
1 1/2 TBSP cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp nutmeg (freshly grated, preferred)
1/4 tsp ground cardamom (or 5 pods, hulls removed and seeds ground with a mortar & pestle)
1/8 tsp cayenne (optional)
Egg + 1 tsp water + pinch salt for egg wash
Cinnamon sugar (for dusting)
- Mix pumpkin puree and warm water, stir to combine. Add yeast, stir gently so yeast is submerged. Let sit 5-10 minutes until bubbly and frothy.
- Combine dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer with dough hook attached. Whisk to combine and evenly distribute the spices.
- Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl. Pour the yeast mixture into the center. Begin mixing with the dough hook on the lowest or second-lowest speed. If after 3-5 minutes, there is still lots of loose flour in the bowl, add warm water 1 TBSP at a time while the mixer is running, giving 30-45 seconds after each addition for the dough to absorb the water. Err on the side of less water. You may need up to 4-5 additional TBSP of water.
- Once the dough comes together and there are no large dry patches of flour, increase mixer speed to medium and knead for 3 minutes. You want a dough that is tacky and smooth, but not sticky.
- Shape the dough into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl, turning once to coat. Let rest for 45-60 minutes, covered, in a warm spot. The dough should roughly double in size. Punch the dough down and let rest an additional 10 minutes.
- Divide the dough into eighths (using a kitchen scale for precision) and shape each piece into a ball.
(How to shape a dough ball: Gently flatten the piece of dough against a lightly floured surface, then tuck the edges up into the middle, pinching them together to form a smooth surface on the underside of the dough. Then flip the dough over, cup your hand around it, pinkie against the counter, and drag your hand towards your body. Rotate the dough 90 degrees and repeat as needed.)
Cover your shaped dough balls with a damp paper towel so they don’t dry out as you work.
- Starting with the first dough ball you made, divide it in half, then roll each half into a rope approximately 10 inches long. Start with your hands in the middle of the rope, and move them outwards as you roll. If the dough resists, let it rest 3-5 minutes, then roll again. If the rope tears, pinch it back together and continue rolling with a slightly more gentle touch.
NOTE: DO NOT USE A FLOURED SURFACE. If you use a floured surface the ropes won’t stick together when you twist them and your bagels will fall apart. If anything, use a lightly greased surface to roll your ropes.
- Cross one rope over the other to form an “X” shape. Continue crossing the ropes over each other from the center outward until you have a twisted rope.
- Bring one end of the rope over to meet the other so they overlap slightly. Squeeze gently to join them.
Insert your hand into the center of the bagel with the joined ends on your palm. Gently but firmly press your palm down against the counter, rolling back and forth to seal the ropes together. Repeat with the rest of your dough balls, placing the shaped bagels back under a damp paper towel to rest while you make the others.
Let the shaped bagels rest additional 10-15 minutes under a damp paper towel.
- Preheat your oven to 425F and bring a large, high-sided skillet filled with at least 3 inches of water to a boil.
- Boil bagels 30-45 seconds per side (60 seconds max). If they stick to the bottom of the skillet, use a wire spider or slotted spoon to gently loosen them — the bagels should float. Place boiled bagels on a greased or silpat lined baking sheet.
- Brush bagels with egg wash and dust with cinnamon sugar.
NOTE: If the joined ends of any of the wreaths come undone in the boiling water, use a wooden toothpick to hold the ends together in the oven while they bake.
- Bake for 20 minutes at 425F. Let bagels cool slightly on baking sheet, then transfer to wire rack to finish cooling.
- Preparation time includes time for dough to rise.
- If the joined ends of any of the wreaths come undone in the boiling water, use a spoon to gently pin the open tail against the side of the skillet while it finishes boiling. Use a wooden toothpick to hold the ends together in the oven while it bakes.
- Individual spices can be adjusted to taste — omit or reduce ones you don’t like. Or, use 2 TBSP store-bought pumpkin pie spice to keep it simple.