Traditional Boiled Bagels: Richard Cotton

Traditional Boiled Bagels: Richard Cotton

We step inside Brewbaker’s busy kitchen to see the traditional boiled bagel process first-hand

Brisbane baker Richard Cotton has been making bagels since the early 1990s. Since then, his bakery-café in albion, Brewbakers, has developed an enviable reputation for producing some of the city’s most authentic plain and flavoured bagels. “While we make a range of bakery products, including bread, the bagels are very popular with customers,” Richard says.

“While we make a range of bakery products, including bread, the bagels are very popular with customers,” Richard says.

“the dense and chewy taste of bagels is becoming more and more popular around australia and we find the plain and flavoured varieties sell very well.”

although open only five days a week, from tuesday through to Saturday, Brewbakers still manage to push out more than 2000 bagels each week without having a wholesale arm to the business.

“the range is simple, but effective,” Richard says.

“there is the plain bagel (with poppyseed, sesame seed, or no seed), the parmesan cheese bagel, the fruit and cinnamon bagel, the date and walnut bagel, the fresh onion bagel, the fresh onion with cheese bagel and a chocolate chip bagel.

“On and off we also do a sourdough bagel depending on staffing and demand.”



• Kialla organic bakers flour (for a 10kg dough, the flour is 100 per cent);
• 2 per cent bakers yeast (or 200g)
• 2 per cent salt (or 200g)
• 2 per cent brown sugar
• 0.5 per cent organic improver (distributed by Fernex)
• 2 per cent sunflower oil
• 50-55 per cent water
• Optional: up to 10 per cent old dough (or 1 kg)


• Mix dough for two minutes on slow and eight minutes on fast until the consistency is dense;

• Once dough is completed, pull mixture out of the bowl and let it rest for up to half an hour;

The finished weight of a head of bagels should be 2.7kg, which will produce 30 bagels at 90g each. [Note: Cuts are lighter for flavoured bagels with fruit]. For example, a fruit bagel should be cut at 2.25g of dough. add currants and sultanas (equal parts) on top to take the weight up to 2.7kg. Mixed spice should be added until the dough changes colour.

• Let the heads rest up to half an hour, depending on the room temperature;

• When rested, roll the dough into a sausage-shape and wrap around four fingers. Roll ends together with the aim of hiding the joint;


• Let the mixture rest. Brewbakers let the rolled dough rest in the fridge or in the retarder overnight to improve the flavour;

• Boil a pot of water and add a couple of tablespoons of sugar. Mix the sugared water and reduce to a simmer;

• Bagels will need to be poached or boiled depending on how long they have rested. For bagels that have rested overnight, boil for only one or two minutes each side. It’s important to remember a bagel boiled for too long will overprove in the water and turn to mush;

• If you want to top your bagels with additional ingredients, such as parmesan cheese, do so as you take them out of the water;

• Bake boiled bagels for 18 minutes at 210°C; and

• Allow bagels to cool in wire baskets.

Click here to upload your own recipe

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *