Jalapeño Cheddar Bagels

I love bagels. It has been said that the road to my heart is paved with bagels. This is quite possibly true. Well, bagels and cupcakes.

Cream cheese always weirded me out, and so I didn’t try it until my freshman year of college. I was headed back to school and my boyfriend at the time was flying with me. He got hungry in the airport and bought himself a jalapeño cheddar bagel with plain cream cheese. I was suspicious of the cream cheese, but after some cajoling, he convinced me to have a bite. There was no turning back. I ate half of his bagel, and would have eaten it all if he had let me. From that point on, I started eating way too many bagels (hah, as if there were such a thing as too many bagels).

We all know that NYC is known for its bagels. And if you’re from NYC (which I’m not), all other bagels are inedible. While I can eat the sub-par bagels that aren’t New York-style, I’ll fully agree that New York-style bagels are the best. Good news is, even if they’re hard to find in shops outside of NYC, it’s pretty easy to make them at home if you have an hour or two to spare.

I’ve been making bagels at home for a few years now. I typically make everything or sesame bagels (my favorites), but I’ll always remember that first bagel with cream cheese fondly and recently wanted to try my hand at making that. Besides, how many bagel shops offer vegan cheese bagels? Well, I’ve never been to one anyway.  I’ve paired the bagels here with a salsa cream cheese which I think is the perfect combination (tip: add some sliced avocado between your bagel). If you’re adverse to too much heat, however, a plain or chive cream cheese could be good too.

The bagels come out with a great crispy crust and a soft, chewy inside, just like a proper bagel should be. I’ve already made 2 batches this week (that I’ve shared!–sort of).

Jalapeño Cheddar Bagels
makes 8 bagels

1 1/2 cups warm water (~110 ºF/45 ºC)
1 tbsp yeast
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp canola or olive oil
2 tsp barley malt syrup
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 + 1/2 cups vegan cheddar cheese, shredded
2 jalapeños, finely diced
4 cups bread flour, plus extra if needed
water for boiling
1 1/2 tbsp barley malt syrup
1 tsp salt

Tip: If you don’t have barley malt syrup, you can use agave nectar in a pinch, but it will lose some of that traditional NYC bagel flavor.
Also note, I used Daiya brand cheddar cheese but I’m guessing other brands would also work well.

1. In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warm water. Let sit for 5 minutes for the yeast to proof.
2. Stir in the oil, barley malt syrup and 1 cup of flour. Add the salt, jalapeños and 1 1/2 cups of the shredded cheddar. Add the remaining 3 cups of flour until a stiff dough is formed.
3. Turn out onto a clean floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes until a smooth and elastic dough has formed. Add more flour if necessary, or if the dough gets too dry add more water slowly. I often find that just wetting my fingers and kneading that in does the trick. Once the dough is kneaded, cover with a dish towel and let the dough rest for 15 minutes.
4. Divide the dough into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into ~10-inch long logs. Bring the ends together and pinch to form a sealed ring. Again cover and let rest for 15-20 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to boil and add the barley malt syrup and salt.
Preheat the oven to 450 ºF and prepare a baking sheet: cover with parchment paper and sprinkle with cornmeal.
6. When the dough has risen and the water is boiling, reduce the water to a simmer, and boil two or three bagels (do not crowd the pot) at a time for 100 seconds, flipping half way through. Remove the bagels from the pot and drain on a towel for a few seconds before moving it to the baking sheet. Repeat this process with the remaining bagels.

7. Once all the bagels are boiled and on the baking sheet, sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese on top of the bagels.
8. Place the baking sheet in the oven, and reduce the heat to 425 ºF. Bake for about 20-25 minutes until the crust turns golden and has crisped. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.
Enjoy with salsa cream cheese (or your choice cream cheese flavor).
To store the bagels: cut cooled bagels in half and place a piece of parchment paper between the halves. Place in a plastic ziplock bag and store in freezer until you’re ready to eat them. When you want one then they can be easily popped apart and placed the toaster.

Salsa Cream Cheese
Makes 8 oz. cream cheese

1 8 oz. package vegan cream cheese (I used Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese)
2 heaping tbsp hot salsa
1 1/2 tsp tomato paste
1/2 tbsp garlic powder

1. Place all ingredients in a medium bowl. With electric beaters, beat on low until smooth. You can add more salsa but I find this makes for a more liquidy spread.
2. Chill until ready for use.


12 thoughts on “Jalapeño Cheddar Bagels

  1. OMG, this is awesome. My 13 year-old son and I have agreed to make these this weekend for his last day of school-picnic. He normally has to pack a lunch because the food is not vegetarian, and definiteley not vegan which he likes more.

    We are excited to try this. We both thought incorrectly, that you had to fry bagels, duh. Don’t know where that error in thinking came from.

    I’m not familiar with some of the ingredients, so I’m wondering if Whole Foods is a safe choice, otherwise, we normally shop at Kroger/King Soopers. This would be helpful in the future… what store can I find these ingredients in, especially for us novice cooks?

    Thank you for what you do, we’re inspired!

    • Hi Laura! You should definitely make these! They are a lot of fun to make, and even more fun to eat. I am guessing the ingredients in question are the vegan cheese, vegan cream cheese, and possibly the barley malt syrup?

      I used Daiya brand cheddar cheese, which worked very well, but I’m guessing any vegan cheddar cheese would work. For the vegan cream cheese I used Tofutti’s Better Than Cream Cheese. I bought both of these ingredients at Whole Foods, but a regular grocery store with a good natural foods section should have these ingredients (not sure about the Daiya, that might be more specific to whole foods–but you’ll be able to find some vegan cheese). Daiya is sort of what’s “hot” these days on the vegan cheese market. It’s pretty good.

      Whole foods should definitely have barley malt syrup, and again, I have bought it from the natural foods section of a regular grocery store.

      Hope this helps! And of course if you have any other/more questions let me know 🙂
      Tell your boys congrats on finishing another year of school for me!

      • Kroger is now carrying Daiya! I’m pretty positive the also carry tofutti better than cream cheese as well.

  2. Wow, these look great. I will have to try these in June. I will not be in my kitchen for almost a month but I will bookmark these. YUM!

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  5. They look really yummy! Ever tried them with a gluten-free flour? That’s what I would need to do…
    and you probably know that Tofutti “Better Than Cream Cheese” is pretty good tasting, it is not vegan because it has casein in it, which is probably what makes it better than that other vegan cream cheese i tried (I don’t remember what the brand was) .. Yuk! So if if you’re not in a super strict “save your life diet” this sounds yummy. i would love to try gluten free! I soooooo miss my bagels!!!!

    • Hi Nancy,
      I’ve never tried baking these with gluten free flour. If you do please report back on how they turned out!
      I don’t know what Tofutti product you’re talking about, but Better Than Cream Cheese does not have casein in it (http://www.tofutti.com/dairy-free-cheeses/cream-cheese/better-than-cream-cheese/)! It does however have a long list of ingredients, so if you’re interested in a homemade version I love making cashew cheese from Miyoko Schinner’s book Artisan Vegan Cheese. You can also try googling a recipe with “cashew chevre” or “cashew cream cheese.”
      I hope the gluten free bagels turn out!

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