Vegan Bagels just out of the oven served with strawberry jam.



Recently my son said his friend wanted to make gluten free vegan bagels. Could I help? Daniel’s girlfriend is gluten intolerant and vegan, and she’s been missing bagels. I hesitated, never having made bagels myself, then I said sure.

I’m always up for a challenge in the kitchen. I love to see young people interested in cooking and they don’t seem deterred by all the different dietary restrictions. My message on this blog is that you can make anything you want. So I tried a few recipes, came up with this and mailed him the dry ingredients.

I heard from Daniel, their first attempt at gluten free vegan bagels was a success.

Baking Bread

Baking is an art and a science. My mom made biscuits and quick breads but she never made yeast breads. Over the years I’ve made different yeast breads but not a lot. There was a time when we regularly made pizza dough but there was also my epic fail with Irish Soda Bread (which I wrote about in this Gourmet Dinner Club post.)

I slowly embraced the challenges of baking gluten free and eventually posted this excellent recipe for Crusty Bread. Yet I never really dove into gluten free yeast breads preferring to cook everything in every category. I’m no expert baker of yeast breads but I can certainly do it and so can you.

Yeast Breads

There are a few reasons yeast breads are intimidating. Precision is required and messing up in one step can result in a fail. Skimming through bread recipes you read about rising time, punching down dough and allowing a second rise. They talk about the feel of the dough and the sound the bread makes when you knock on the bottom. It all sounds mysterious and I’m the type of cook that prefers clear directions.

Yet at the beginning of the pandemic yeast flew off the grocery store shelves so maybe it’s time to use it.

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The Yeast

Yeast leavens bread and creates a light texture. There is an expiry date on the package and yeast should ideally be stored in the fridge or freezer. The instant yeast I recently bought is good for two years.

When I learned to bake with yeast it seemed like there was only one kind to buy. These days it looks more intimidating yet there are really just two common types, active dry and instant.

They both produce very similar results but here’s the difference.

Active Dry YeastInstant, Quick Rise, Rapid Rise or Bread Machine Yeast
-coarse, oblong granules
-is dissolved in sugar water
-slower rise time
-Fleischmann’s yeast, the yellow packages labelled Traditional Active Dry Yeast
-small round granules
-does not need to be dissolved
-shorter rise time
-Fleischmann’s yeast, the yellow packages labelled Quick Rise – Instant Yeast

The Rise – A Warm Draft Free Place

As the yeast activates it creates bubbles of carbon dioxide and the dough rises. Ideally dough should be placed to rise in a draft free place. This can be on top of the fridge or in a corner away from a door. I prefer the baker tip to let it rise in a ‘just warm’ oven.

I turn my oven to 200°F for five minutes, no more. Then turn it off. This creates a warm, draft free environment for dough to rise. If you mess up and let the oven get too hot (I’ve done that many times), just don’t put it in the oven. Find a draft free place and it will probably be fine.

Boiling Gluten Free Vegan Bagels

Traditional bagels are boiled for 30-60 seconds per side before being baked. This sets the crust to create a nice chewy bagel. A gluten free trick is to add molasses or baking soda to the water to help with this process. Some recipes suggest boiling for only 10 or 15 seconds. I’d need to bake a lot more bagels to comment on that.

Get The Tools

The beauty of making bread is that you don’t really need any tools. I use my Kitchen Aid to mix dough but I think Daniel did it by hand just like many home cooks have done for 100 years. Any baking sheet will do, and buy them in pairs because you can double them up if your baking always gets too brown on the bottom. I also have a liquid thermometer that I bought thirty years ago to check the water temperature to make pizza dough. With instant yeast there is no need to dissolve the yeast in water so this isn’t as critical (I think). Just go for warm (but not too hot) tap water.

If you get hooked on bread making there are a lot more tools you can acquire.

There’s nothing like eating something freshly baked, warm from the oven. With each success you gain the confidence to bake more things and this is a skill that will last a lifetime. It should probably be taught in school.

So dig out the yeast you bought and use it. Let me know in the comments below what you’re still wondering about or how your baking turned out.

More Recipes – Vegan Options

Make this Vegan Fish Sauce Substitute so your vegan friends can enjoy all the amazing Thai and Vietnamese dishes.

A jar of a Vegan Fish Sauce Substitute
Vegan Fish Sauce Substitute -photo credit Jim Little

A Vegan Buddha Bowl is always a great option when you’re making dinner for your friends that are gluten free and vegan.

A vegan Buddha Bowl filled with brown rice, cucumber, spinach, cabbage slaw, mango and roasted peanuts; with peanut dressing on the side..
Vegan Buddha Bowl -photo credit Jim Little


1 cup brown rice flour
½ cup potato starch
½ cup tapioca starch
½ cup sorghum flour
½ cup ground flax seed
1 Tbsp yeast
1 Tbsp xanthan gum
1½ tsp salt
1¼ cups warm water
2 Tbsp corn syrup
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
BOILING – 1 Tbsp molasses
SHAPING – vegetable oil for your hands
SPRINKLING – sesame seeds, poppy seeds, chia seeds, onion seeds or sea salt flakes


Slightly warm oven by setting to 200°F for 5 minutes, no more! It will not get to 200°F but will be just warm for the bagels to rise. If you forget to turn the oven off don’t put your bagels in it to rise.
Line baking sheet with parchment.
Combine all dry ingredients in large bowl of a stand mixer. Mix to combine evenly.
In a large pyrex measuring cup whisk wet ingredients to combine.
Turn stand mixer to low and mix dry ingredients for 30 seconds. With mixer on slowly add wet ingredients. When combined increase speed to medium and mix for 3 minutes. The dough will be quite sticky. Using a spatula push the dough down and mark it into 4 equal portions.
Grease your hands with vegetable oil to shape the bagels. Using your hands remove a portion of dough and shape into a smooth ball then flatten it into a large disk. Using your thumb make a hole in the centre. It can be quite large as it will get smaller when the dough rises.
Place bagels on baking sheet and put in warm oven. Let rise for about 40 minutes. They should be visibly puffed up.
While bagels are rising bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add molasses and stir.
Prepare sprinkles and set aside.
When bagels are ready remove from warm oven. Preheat oven to 400°F.
One at a time, gently slip bagel into boiling water. Cook for 30 seconds per side then remove to wire rack using a slotted spoon.
Place boiled bagels back on baking sheet and sprinkle with desired toppings.
Bake in preheated oven for 22-25 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before eating. Gluten free baked goods always need extra cooling time for the structure to set.

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