I don’t usually buy bagels or go to bagel shops because, I mean, why bother when it’s just as easy to make them at home? But oh, oh, oh on the rare occasion when I do order a bagel, I go to Bruegger’s Bagels and order a rosemary olive oil bagel with cream cheese. Scallion cream cheese if they’ve got it (and oh, it’s a tragedy when they don’t).
When I first started making bagels many years ago, I tried making a rosemary bagel by putting minced fresh rosemary on top. I was sorely disappointed when the rosemary dried and shriveled unpleasantly in the oven.
It took me a few tries to get this dupe recipe for Breugger’s rosemary olive oil bagels just right. Too much oil and the bagels end up fluffy and light, more like an egg bagel. I tried using an olive oil wash on the outside, instead of an egg wash, but that just led to dusty, cracked bagel crusts. And if you’re shy with the rosemary you might as well not use it at all.
The trick is to be heavy-handed with the fresh rosemary and use a lighter hand with the olive oil. The end result is a chewy, dense bagel with lots of fresh, savory rosemary flavor which becomes quite fragrant when minced and infused in the olive oil.
The funny thing about these bagels is that on their own, they’re… I wouldn’t say disappointing, but they’re just not living up to their full potential. As I was developing the recipe, I quickly realized that tasting the bagels on their own wasn’t going to tell me when I had achieved a dupe of the Breugger’s version. Once I added cream cheese to my taste test routine, they truly began to shine.
(They’re also great with egg or tuna salad and thinly sliced tomato and mayonnaise, fwiw.)
So yeah, plain rosemary olive oil bagels are… just fine. I feel this way about the Breugger’s version, too. They’re good. I like them. But pairing them with cream cheese is just *chefs kiss* perfection.
I knew I had nailed the recipe when the bagels on their own inspired a satisfied shrug, but the bagels with cream cheese sent me wooshing Ratatouille-style back to afternoons at the bus stop outside of a Breugger’s in downtown Pittsburgh’s Market Square waiting for a ride home with my friends, bagels in hand.
I used my trusty 3 hour plain bagel recipe as the base for these, so they come together quickly and are very easy to shape. That said, if you want to intensify the flavors, you can make the dough and shape them, then let them sit overnight (8-10 hours) in the fridge before boiling and baking them the next morning. This gives the rosemary more time to infuse in the dough, and slows the bagels’ rise.
This dough is super fun to work with, btw. I love bagel dough in general because it’s so low hydration that it doesn’t stick to me/the counter/everything. But the addition of olive oil makes it even more silky smooth and elastic than its plain bagel cousins, and it’s just a lot of fun to make these, okay? Having fun is important!
Slide the bar below back and forth to see the dough before and after a 1 hour rise.
how to shape bagels
This is the same tutorial from my recipe for plain bagels. The shaping is exactly the same, only the olive oil dough is slightly more elastic. You’ll probably want to stretch the holes out twice as big as you do with the plain bagels.
If this method of shaping the dough rounds into balls doesn’t work for you, try this: Cup your hand around the dough with your pinkie-side flush against an unfloured counter and your thumb and forefinger making an O- or C-like shape above the dough. Move your hand in quick circles, and the dough will quickly shape itself into a nice smooth ball of dough.
some notes on rosemary olive oil bagels
- A totally optional step for getting a nice crunchy bagel bottom is to lightly sprinkle your parchment paper or silicone mat with cornmeal before putting the boiled bagels down on them.
- Use fresh rosemary. The dried stuff just isn’t the same. I like to keep a fresh rosemary plant in my window — it’s super hearty, hard to kill, and just needs a lot of water and some bright sunlight.
- I know I talked a lot about cream cheese above, but I usually make my own creamy goat cheese and use that instead.
- Bagel dough is a low hydration dough. Resist adding any more liquid to it than you need to. If you live somewhere very dry, you may need to add just a touch extra. If so, add about 1 tsp of olive oil and let the mixer run another 20-30 seconds before adding more, 1 tsp at a time. If the dough is very sticky that’s a sign you added too much water; dust in more flour until it pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
- I use my fave California Olive Ranch Extra Virgin Olive Oil for these. It’s a good, authentic all purpose olive oil, you can find it at most grocery stores, and is really good value for the quality. You can use other olive oils, but beware brands selling fake olive oil.
- Because I know people will ask: Yes, you can use bread flour instead of AP flour. Yes, you can use regular granulated sugar instead of brown sugar. No, you don’t need to add anything special to the water bath.
other recipes you might like
rosemary olive oil bagels (brueggers dupe)
- 500 grams all-purpose flour (3½ cups)
- 1½ TBSP brown sugar (plain sugar will also work)
- 1½ tsp fine sea salt
- 2 tsp yeast (active dry or instant)
- 285 grams warm water (1 cup + 3 TBSP but you may need a little extra if you live somewhere dry)
- 15 grams olive oil (1 generous TBSP)
- 5 grams minced fresh rosemary (2 TBSP)
- Finely mince rosemary and combine with olive oil in a small bowl. Set aside so the rosemary can infuse the oil.
- Combine flour, sugar, salt, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix with your hand to combine.
- Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the water and minced rosemary-infused olive oil into the center. Run the mixer on low speed to combine until a shaggy dough forms, pausing occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. This may take several minutes. If the dough seems really dry, drizzle in water 1 tsp at a time, letting the mixer run after each addition until it comes together on its own. You're looking for a fairly low hydration dough, so resist adding water unless absolutely necessary.
- Once the dough has mostly come together in a shaggy mass, increase the mixer speed to a low-medium speed and let the mixer run for 3 minutes until dough becomes smooth and slightly tacky. Dust in additional flour if needed to keep the dough from sticking to the sides of the bowl.
- Shape the dough into a round ball. Tuck the edges under the dough to create a smooth surface. Drizzle a little bit of oil into the mixer bowl. Plop the dough inside and turn it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl and let it rise in a warm spot for about an hour, until it just about doubles in size. When you press it with a finger the indent should bounce back slightly but not completely.
- Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down to collapse any air bubbles that have built up inside. Cover and let rest 10 more minutes.
- Divide the dough into 8 equal portions (use a kitchen scale for precision). Shape each portion of dough into a smooth dough round. If combining a few pieces of dough, stack the smaller ones on top of the bigger ones. Tuck the edges of the dough up so the bottom of the dough is smooth against the counter and all the ends are pinched together on top. Flip the dough round over and cup your hand around it with your pinkie flat against the counter. Slide your hand forward dragging the dough with it to create tension of the top of the dough. The dough will take on an oval shape. Then rotate the dough 90° and repeat to turn the oval into a round. Set aside to rest while you shape the rest of the dough.
- Starting with the first dough round you shaped, dip your thumb in flour and poke it through the bottom of the dough and out the other side. Slide your other thumb through next to it and begin stretching and squeezing the dough as you rotate it through your hands. Be careful not to tear the dough, just gently stretch it. Repeat with the rest of the dough rounds, then cover them with a damp paper towel and let them rest for 10 minutes.
- While the bagels rest, preheat your oven to 425°F and fill a large, high-sided skillet about halfway with water — just enough that there's room for the bagels to float without resting on the bottom. Bring to a low boil.
- Working in batches, boil the bagels 1 minute per side. Remove the boiled bagels to a silicone mat or parchment lined sheet pan sprinkled with corn meal.
- Whisk an egg with a splash of water and pinch of salt, then brush it over the boiled bagels.
- Bake the bagels for 20 minutes in a 425°F oven. Remove to a rack to cool at least 10 minutes before slicing, if you can bear to wait that long.
- Once you shape the bagels, the dough will fill out while it rests and again when you boil it so don’t be shy about making the holes slightly bigger than you think they should be. The bagel hole should be at least the same width as the sides of the bagel, if not slightly bigger.
- Bagels will stay good in an airtight bag up to 5 days.
- To freeze, slice bagels almost all the way through, then place in an airtight bag in the freezer.