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Old Fashioned Russian Bagels

Old Fashioned Russian Bagels

Old Fashioned Russian Bagels

Unlike their American counterparts, black Russian bagels are skinnier, dryer, sweeter, with the texture more like a soft pretzel.

Black Russian bagels – Bubliki – are a traditional “street food” that’s been eaten for as long as anyone can remember. Like a crossover between a western bagel and a soft pretzel, it’s usually topped with traditional bagel toppings like poppy seeds, sesame seeds or onion flakes. But contrary to what the name “Black Russian Bagels” suggest, they’re actually not always black or even dark.

These boiled bagels can be used for almost any style of sandwich as a meal in itself or a snack in between. Why not load them up with corned beef, sauerkraut and Swiss cheese for a Reuben style bagel? Or make a breakfast egg sandwich, perhaps with some added crispy bacon? Or serve it simple, with just cream cheese, and a slice of tomato. Make it more fancy? Throw some smoked salmon or another favorite protein on there, or upgrade to scallion cream cheese, with a little garlic added.

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Old Fashioned Russian Bagels

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Old Fashioned Russian Bagels

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  • Author: Yuliya Childers
  • Total Time: 5 hours 20 mins
  • Yield: 15 1x


Unlike bready American bagels, the Russian kind are skinnier, dryer, sweeter, with the texture more like a soft pretzel.




  • 350 g (23/4 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 200 ml lukewarm water
  • 2 g (1/2 tsp) dry yeast
  • 10 g (2 tsp) sugar
  • 5 g (1 tsp) salt

Final Dough:

  • 650 g (51/4 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 300 ml lukewarm water
  • 4 g (1 tsp) dry yeast
  • 50 g (31/2 tbsp) melted butter
  • 100 g (1/2 cup) sugar
  • 10 g (2 tsp) salt


  1. Combine starter ingredients in a bowl and knead until all flour is absorbed and dough clears the walls of the bowl with ease.
  2. Shape the dough into a ball, grease the bowl, put the dough into the bowl, cover and place in a warm spot for 3-4 hrs.
  3. Mix the final dough ingredients, add all of the starter, knead until smooth and very elastic, for at least 10 minutes by hand, or 7-8 minutes with a dough hook.
  4. Shape the dough into a smooth ball again, and place into a large greased container, cover and let rise in a draft-free place for about 40 minutes to 1 hr. We are not looking for a spectacular double rise here, so time is more important than the volume.
  5. Divide the dough into 15 part, 110 g each.
  6. For each piece of dough, roll into a hot dog shape using confident high pressure movements – we want a smooth stick without cracks or yeasty blisters.
  7. Wrap the “hot dog” around your four fingers, overlapping the ends at your thumb crease.
  8. Confidently, applying great pressure with the thumb and index finger, squeeze the ends together; then, placing the hand down on a table with bagel still on it roll the pinched ends back and forth a few times until they fuse together nicely. The whole operation won’t take longer than 15-20 seconds for each bagel.
  9. Lay shaped bagels on a parchment or clean counter, cover with plastic and let rise for 20-30 minutes. They won’t rise much, just soften and relax.
  10. While the dough rests, bring a pot to a gentle boil. Add 1-2 tbsp salt to the water, and never reduce the heat.
  11. Lower three bagels at a time into a boiling pot. If they sink to the bottom at first, don’t worry, they will surface when ready. If they remain on the surface, cook them for about 30 seconds on each side, and – using a slotted spoon – remove onto the parchment to dry.
  12. Repeat with the remaining bagels as before.
  13. If you decide to sprinkle your bagels (I did), the best time to sprinkle them is when they are still wet and tacky. You may also need to flip them over once to dry them on the bottom as well.
  14. Once all bagels are boiled and no longer dripping wet (still tacky is ok), you can bake them.
  15. Preheat the oven to 525°F.
  16. Bake bagels for 20 minutes, or until nicely browned all over (check on the bottom at 15 minute point to see if they need to be flipped to brown underneath).
  17. Cool on rack and enjoy.
  • Prep Time: 5 hours
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Category: Baking
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