Zaatar Bagel - A Middle-Eastern Recipe of the Everything Bagel!

Making your own bagels may seem like a daunting task but once you’ve tried it, you’ll never go back to store-bought!  The process is easier than you think – a little bit of kneading, a little bit of relaxing while you allow the dough to rise, a quick bath in boiling water, and into the oven they go!  The result?  New York style bagels that have just the right amount of chew on the outside and are perfectly soft on the inside.  For added flavor and variation, we’ve generously dusted these with zaatar.  A zaatar bagel?  Now that’s something that can’t be found in a deli or bakery!  Think of these as the Middle-Eastern version of the everything bagel.   

Zaatar is comprised of just a few key ingredients: the zaatar herb (native to the Middle East and also called Syrian Oregano and biblical hyssop), sumac, sesame seeds, and little to no sea salt.  It adds zest (from the zaatar herb), tang (from the sumac), and crunch (from the sesame seeds) and is the perfect topping for bagels! 

And since you’re taking the time to make bagels from scratch, you wouldn’t want to ruin them by using subpar zaatar.  Because there is immense variation in Zaatar qualities on the market, we highly recommend a genuine Zaatar blend with Syrian Oregano/Biblical Hyssop mainstay ingredient and no fillers.  We invite you to try our very own blend available on this web shop and also on Amazon.

The hardest part about these bagels is choosing what to top them with!  Butter, cream cheese, smoked salmon, fresh tomato slices…how about a fried egg and slice of cheese in between?  The possibilities are endless.. 


Zaatar Bagels               

Recipe Category: Bread, breakfast    
Recipe Cuisine: American
Prep Time:  110 mins, Cook Time:  22 mins, Total Time:  132 mins

Servings: 8
Serving Size: 1 bagel
Calories: 256, Fat: 1, Protein: 9, Carbs: 51, Fiber: 2

1 ½ cups warm water (between 90-100°F)
1 tbsp active dry yeast
4 cups bread flour
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil (for coating the bowl)
2 quarts water + 2 tbsp brown sugar (water bath)
1 egg white + 1 tbsp water (coating)
3 tbsp zaatar (coating) + extra for sprinkling, if desired

 Zaatar ingredients plus the first five steps to make zaatar bagle

Step six to eleven to make zaatar bagle


  1. Combine the warm water, brown sugar, and yeast in the bowl of your stand mixer (or a large bowl, if mixing by hand.) Let stand for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the flour and salt to the water and knead, using the dough hook attachment, for 10 minutes (15 minutes if kneading by hand).
  3. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and allow to rise for 90 minutes, or until doubled in size. (You can also place in the refrigerator and let the dough rise overnight.)
  4. Punch the dough down and turn out onto your work surface.
  5. Divide the dough into 8 pieces and shape each into a ball.
  6. Use your index finger to poke a hole in the center of each ball then gently stretch the center out by twirling your finger several times.
  7. Place the bagels on a baking sheet and let stand while the water comes to a boil.
  8. Heat about 2 quarts of water in a large pot and stir in the 2 tablespoons of brown sugar.
  9. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  10. Once the water is boiling, add the bagels and cook each bagel for 1 minute on each side. (Depending on the size of your pot, you may need to do this in batches as you don’t want to overcrowd the pot.)
  11. Remove the bagels from the water and place back onto the baking sheet.
  12. Whisk together the egg white and 1 tablespoon of water and brush over the top of each bagel.
  13. Sprinkle the bagels generously with zaatar, then transfer to the oven.
  14. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until very lightly golden.
  15. Remove from the oven, allow to cool slightly, slice, toast, and serve. (Baked bagels can be transferred to a Ziploc bag and frozen for later use!)

Finished product close up picture of zaatar bagle


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