With a shiny brown crust and bright purple interior, these sweet homemade blueberry bagels are a blueberry bagel lover's dream! The bright purple color comes from real fresh blueberries which are used to hydrate the dough and add lots of flavor, too.
Roast the blueberries. Preheat oven to 400°F. Arrange the blueberries in a single layer on a lined sheet pan. Roast for 5-10 minutes, until blueberries have started leaking all over the dang place.
Make blueberry water. Immediately scrape the hot blueberries and any juices into a measuring cup tared to zero on kitchen scale. Weigh the blueberries, then add cool water to the container until the display reads 320 grams. The amount of water you need will change depending on how much water evaporated from the blueberries. (I usually needed around ~140 grams water, making these in a cool, dry environment.) Mix the blueberries and water together. If you don't like blueberry chunks in your bagels, use an immersion blender to chop them up in the water.
Combine dry ingredients. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine flour, salt, sugar, and yeast. Make sure the yeast and salt are not touching in the bowl.
Add the blueberry water. With the mixer running on low, slowly pour the blueberry water into the center of the dry ingredients. (If you're in a humid environment, add all of the blueberries to the bowl but hold back about ⅛ cup water and add it only if needed.)
Mix. Increase the speed to low-medium, pausing occasionally to push the dry ingredients into the center of the bowl with a spatula. If the dough hasn't come together with no dry bits left in the bottom of the bowl after 3 minutes, sprinkle additional ½ teaspoon water onto the dry bits and let the mixer run for another 30-45 seconds. Repeat again only if needed.
Knead. Once the dough has mostly come together on the dough hook, increase the speed to medium and knead for 3 minutes until the dough clears the sides of the bowl and is smooth and slightly tacky to the touch. Troubleshooting: Dust in flour if the dough is sticking to the bowl, or flick water onto the dough with your fingers if it seems too dry.
Rise. Shape the dough into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl. Cover and let rise 1 hour in a warm spot (72-75°F) until just about doubled in size. When you press a finger into the dough the indentation should fill back in just slightly.
Punch down. Punch the dough down in the bowl to knock any large air bubbles out of it. Cover and let rest an additional 10 minutes.
Divide and shape. Use a kitchen scale to divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. On a clean, unfloured counter, shape each one into a ball. Stack any smaller pieces on top of the biggest piece. Gently flatten the dough, then tuck the edges up, flip the dough over and cup your hand around it in a claw shape. Keep your pinkie on the counter and move in tight circular motions to build tension on the top of the dough and smoosh the edges together underneath. If that doesn't work for you: Cup your hand around the dough and, with your pinkie on the counter, pull your hand straight toward your body. The dough will tighten up into an oval shape. Rotate 90° and repeat to pull the oval into a circle shape.
Rest. Cover the dough balls and let them rest 10-15 minutes so the seams underneath have time to seal up.
Preheat the oven and water bath. While the bagels rest, preheat oven to 420°F. Fill a wide, straight-sided skillet with about 3" of water and bring to a low boil. Line a sheet pan with a silicone mat or parchment paper.
Poke the holes. Dust your hands lightly with flour (regular AP or bread flour is fine). Poke your thumb through the bottom of each bagel round, pushing any edges or seams into the center. Gently squeeze to stretch (don't tear!) the bagels — you want the hole to be about the same width as the sides of the bagel. Rotate the bagels through your hands, squeezing to slowly stretch them.The bagels will shrink slightly when they bake, so if you prefer a bigger hole stretch them again right before you boil them.
Rest. Cover the bagels with a damp paper towel and let rest for 10 minutes.
Boil and bake. Working in batches, boil the bagels 2 minutes per side. Use a wire spider to remove the boiled bagels to the prepared sheet pan. Brush with egg wash and bake 20-22 minutes until lightly browned on top.
Cool. Let bagels cool on the sheet pan 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.
How much water you need will depend on how much water the blueberries lose during roasting and the humidity levels in your kitchen. In a very humid environment, you may need less than 320 grams of blueberry water. If there's lots of moisture in the air, hold back about ⅛ cup (30 grams) blueberry water when you add it to the dough and add it only if needed.
Bagel dough is meant to be low hydration and should never feel sticky or wet. Add additional water in very small increments only if absolutely necessary to get the dough to come together before kneading. If you add too much water and the dough begins to feel sticky, or sticks to the sides of the mixing bowl, dust in more flour until it pulls clear from the sides of the bowl.
If you want big blueberry pieces in your blueberry bagels, add ¼ cup dried blueberries to the blueberry water. Let them soak for 5-10 minutes, then add the blueberry water to the dough.
If you don't want any blueberry pieces in your blueberry bagels, use an immersion blender on the roasted blueberry water before adding it to the dough.