Potato bagels were my first love, years before the everything bagel became my go-to. I would get them at the Einstein Bros. in my suburb back in the early 90s when it first opened and had this cool industrial vibe and really tasty cakey black and white cookies. I loved the potato bagels because they were all around softer than the others, and there weren’t any scary toppings like poppy seeds and dried garlic looking to ruin my day. They fit comfortably into my very picky childhood and I’d usually have them with fluffy whipped butter, or plain cream cheese if I was feeling wild. I pretty much forgot about potato bagels though until my severe first trimester bagel craving brought me back to an Einstein for the first time in forever. It was actually right around Yom Kippur I think. I’d been planning for weeks to make bagels for Yom Kippur break fast, even though I didn’t fast this year after reading mixed things on the internet about fasting while pregnant. I made my dough on a Monday, and you know the dough needs to rest overnight before you complete the process, but my craving by Monday night was soooo insane that I had no choice but to put the bagel dough to sleep and then immediately drive out to the other end of town to the Einstein to buy a bagel so that I could eat one ASAP. And I got a potato bagel because when I spotted it in the basket it made me all nostalgic and brought back my earliest bagel memories. I also chose it because as intense as my craving was, I was still in need of very bland food as to not get nauseous. This potato bagel was not as I remembered it though, it seemed skinnier and much less doughy. Or maybe it was exactly the same, and I was the one who had changed. Living in New York must have just spoiled me bagel-wise because these days when I eat a bagel I’m looking for tons of height, doughiness, and a moderate jaw workout. So although I didn’t break out in a jaw sweat in the parking lot scarfing down my bagel (ew, jaw sweat? Sorry, that just came out.), it was still good enough to hold me over until the next day when my homemade bagels came out of the oven.
I couldn’t shake my desire for a hot mind-blowing potato bagel though! So I made these. I added riced potato to my go-to bagel recipe and learned that the defining look of the Einstein potato bagels is easy to achieve. The outcome is a deliciously chewy bagel that has a perfect amount of tenderness and the faint flavor of potato. My freezer is packed with them now, so I no longer run the risk of emergency cross-town bagel runs. Which is good because my pants don’t fit anymore, I really don’t wanna put on pants and drive across town.
A note on bagel size: I’ve been making smaller bagels (batches of 16) because I just find that they’re less committal that way and yield a good size for breakfast with a side of green smoothie or lunch with a side salad. Or first dinner that leaves you room for second dinner. That’s what’s pictured. If you’re looking for larger bagels, go ahead and make 12.
For more bagel talk and a tutorial video, check out my everything bagel post.
makes 16 small-ish bagels or 12 large-ish bagels
12 oz peeled russet potatoes, cut into 1” cubes
1/2 c (118ml) cool water
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1 tsp + 2 tb (25g) brown sugar, divided
6 c (780g) high gluten flour, plus more for dusting
1 tb kosher salt
2 1/2 tb (54g) barley malt syrup, divided
1 tb baking soda
Place the chopped potato in a large pot and cover it with water. Bring to a simmer and cook until a fork pokes easily into the potato, begin checking for doneness at about 10 minutes. Drain the potato, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water in a medium bowl. Rice the potato and set it aside. Add the 1/2 cup cool water to the bowl with the hot cooking water, the two temperatures of these waters should even out to warm (about 105º-110ºf), if it’s too cold, microwave it a little, or if it’s too hot, let it sit for a few minutes to cool. Add the yeast and the 1 teaspoon of brown sugar, give it a little swirl and let it sit for about 5 minutes, until foamy on top.
In a large bowl or bowl of stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour, salt, and remaining 2 tablespoons of brown sugar. Add the mashed potato, yeast mixture, and 1 1/2 tablespoons of barley malt and mix to form a stiff dough. Knead in the stand mixer or turn onto a floured surface and knead by hand for 7-10 minutes, until smooth and slightly sticky, adding additional flour if the dough is sticking to the bowl or too sticky to handle. Transfer to a large oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.
When ready to shape, let the dough sit at room temperature for an hour and then turn it out onto a clean work surface. Divide it into 12 or 16 equal parts (see notes about sizing) and stretch them into smooth balls, making sure to seal any dough seams well. Shape the bagels by sticking your thumb through the center of each ball and using your fingers to gently stretch a 2” hole. Cover the bagels with a towel and let rise for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450ºf and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and grease them well. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the baking soda and remaining tablespoon of barley malt. Working with 3 or 4 bagels at a time as to not crowd the pot, boil them for 1 minute on each side (use a timer for this). With a slotted spoon or spatula, lift them out of the water, allowing excess water to drip off, and then transfer them to the baking sheets, spacing them about 2 inches apart. (If making 16 bagels, you will likely need to bake a third pan of bagels, which you can do after the first 2 pans come out of the oven.)
With a serrated knife, make 3 cuts in a triangle shape on top of the bagels and then dust them lightly with flour. Bake the bagels for 10 minutes, switch racks and rotate the pans 180º, and bake for 5-8 more minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool slightly and enjoy!
Leftovers should be cooled fully, stored in the freezer in plastic bags, and reheated in the toaster. Slice them before freezing if you’d like so you can put them directly from the freezer into the toaster.
photos by chantell and brett!