I must admit I had a small hint of glee at seeing the previews for the second week of The Great Canadian Baking Show. Bread week is not only my favourite week of Great British Bake Off but it’s the week that I know I’ll probably be able to do without too much sweat. I really enjoy baking bread and this week was no exception. 

My first bake for the weekend was a nice and easy Rosemary and Sea Salt Focaccia which I managed to whip together on a snowy Friday, it was perfectly soft, like a slightly salted bread pillow. My first go at making a focaccia and I will definitely be making it again and again!

Unlike last week’s Battenberg challenge, I decided this week I’d play along to the rules from the technical challenge from the show. The contestants on the show this week were challenged to make 18 montreal bagels, half sesame seed and half poppy seed, in two hours and ten minutes. I admit that I’ve made montreal style bagels before so I had a bit of experience going into the challenge but I was still a bit nervous about the timing element. 

In no time at all I had the dough ready and rising and it got me wondering what the people on the television show do when they have to wait for bread to rise? Sure they have two hours to complete the bagels but over an hour of the time was spent just waiting for the dough to rise…maybe they have naps, that’s what I wanted to do at least. 

After letting the dough rise for half an hour it was time to cut the dough into small sections and then make the bagels into bagels! I couldn’t find a ruler and don’t have a kitchen scale so it was a bit of a guess to both create evenly weighted bagels and the right length. I made my best guess and started rolling and wrapping and about 10 minutes later had a board full of bagels!

After more rising time and more wondering what goes on behind the scenes of Great Canadian Baking Show, it was go time and now time to see how these bagels were going to fare in the next step. What separates montreal bagels from new york bagels is the size and larger holes and also the sweetness added in from the honey they are boiled in before you bake them. 

I was a bit saddened during the honey boiling step as a couple of the bagels came undone and ended up resembling unraveled pretzels instead of nice bagels. After dipping the bagels into the seeds it was a quick pop into the oven and about 15 minutes later I had two trays of beautiful golden brown bagels, even the ones that had come apart had magically resealed themselves in the oven. And the best part of all, I had 20 minutes to spare on the clock! 

Needless to say the bagels didn’t last long 🙂 

Here’s the recipe from CBC’s website:


350 g warm water
60 g sugar
30 g oil
10 g active dry yeast
1 egg
20 g honey
8 g salt
up to 700 g flour

For finishing:
350 g honey
sesame seeds
poppy seeds


Preheat oven to 450° F with a parchment paper-lined baking sheet inside.

Fill a large pot with water. Put to boil over medium-high heat.

In a large bowl, whisk together water, sugar, oil, yeast, egg and honey. Whisk in salt. Gently stir in some of the flour (approx. 550g), one cup at a time, until a soft dough forms.

Turn dough out onto surface and gently knead until it begins to comes together. Continue to knead, adding flour as needed to prevent sticking, until you have a soft, dough that bounces back when you press on it – it should take 10 -12 minutes.

When dough is properly kneaded, place in an oiled bowl, making sure to get a thin coat of oil on dough. Cover with a towel and let rest 30 minutes.  

Cut dough into 16 pieces (about 75g each). Keep pieces covered with towel while you work.  


Roll each piece into a 10 – 12 inch rope. Do not add flour to the surface, unless to prevent sticking.

Wrap rope around your four fingers, overlapping the ends on the inside of your hand to make a circle. To seal, roll your hand back and forth, pressing gently to complete the circle. Place on floured surface to rest and cover with a towel as you work. Keep bagels covered as you go. 

Let bagels rest 30 minutes.

Add 350 g of honey to pot of water and bring to a full boil.  

Handle rested bagels gently to keep their shape. Boil bagels in batches, 1 ½ – 2 minutes per side. Remove from water using a slotted spoon. Place onto cooling rack and sprinkle heavily with seeds. 

Place bagels on heated pan in oven and bake until golden brown, 15 – 20 minutes.