Cinnamon Crunch Bagels – Chewy cinnamon bagels are baked with a sugar and cinnamon mixture on top to make a yummy, crunchy coating.
About 2 years ago, I finally perfected my bagel recipe. This recipe produced the chewiest, most flavorful bagel that I’ve ever had, including store-bought! Granted, I haven’t had a NYC bagel so who knows if it can beat those. But as of now, it’s the best bagel in my eyes.
Now I’m taking that recipe and adapting it to make my husband’s favorite bagel of all time – the cinnamon crunch bagel at Panera Bread. He loves this bagel and I have to admit – I love it, too. It’s the first thing I ever ate at Panera and have always been amazed by it. Chewy, sweet, and crunchy all in one bagel. How could you beat that?!
But the most distinguishing element of this bagel is the crunchy cinnamon-sugar topping. There’s so much topping on the bagel that it comes off in sticky, yet crunchy chunks. I then crumble those chunks and put them on the inside of the bagel, on top of the cream cheese.
Alright, now that I’ve teased you enough, let’s finally get to the recipe! Check out my version of the famous Cinnamon Crunch Bagel!
How to make these bagels
The process for making this bagels is almost exactly the same as making a classic bagel:
- Make dough
- Shape bagels
- Let them rise
- Boil them
- Bake them
I break down the process of making bagels in my post here. Make sure you check it out so you understand the importance of each step, ingredient, and tool we use in the process.
The biggest difference is the addition of cinnamon in the dough and cinnamon sugar on top of the bagels. So we’ll talk a little bit about it below.
Cinnamon Sugar Topping
Once the bagels have bathed in a hot water bath, it’s time to add the cinnamon sugar. To get the cinnamon sugar to stick, the bagels are brushed with melted butter. Then, we add a mixture of brown sugar and Turbinado sugar with ground cinnamon and sprinkle it on top of each bagel.
The reason for the two sugars are important:
- Brown sugar – The molasses in the brown sugar makes the topping sticky and gooey while it bakes
- Turbinado sugar – This sugar has large grains so it’s crunchy and perfect for creating the texture we want
After the bagels are topped with the sugar, they’re baked to perfection. The baking process not only gets the bagels perfectly chewy in the middle but also crunchy and sticky on top from the perfect cinnamon-sugar topping.
Tips & Tricks
- To help get the crust to the perfect crispiness that I love, I gave in and purchased a pizza stone to bake the bagels on. The stone retains heat at the perfect temperature, which helps the bagels cook evenly and build a gorgeous crust on the outside.
- This dough is tougher than other bread dough. Therefore, your mixer will be working hard to knead this dough so make sure you do not leave your mixer unattended because it’ll be moving around a bit. You don’t want it falling off the counter!
Cinnamon Crunch Bagels
For the bagels:
- 1 ½ teaspoons instant yeast
- 1 ½ cups warm water
- 22 ounces bread flour (I measured in grams for more precision – 623 grams)
- 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon divided
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 4 teaspoons molasses
- 3 tablespoons cornmeal for dusting
- 2 tablespoons butter melted
- ¼ cup Turbinado sugar
- ¼ cup brown sugar
For the bagel bath:
- 3 quarts water
- 1 ½ tablespoons molasses
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
For the bagel dough:
- Place warm water in a small bowl. Sprinkle instant yeast over the water and let it sit to foam a little. It should take no more than 10 minutes. If it does not foam, the water was not the right temperature or the yeast is dead (expired). Prepare large baking sheet by dusting with cornmeal. Set aside.
- Combine flour, salt, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, and molasses in the bowl of a stand mixer using a dough hook. Add in yeast mixture and mix on low or until dough starts to come together, about 4 minutes. Now it's time to knead the dough. Increase speed to medium-low and beat for 7-10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and stiff. It should not be sticky, whatsoever.
- Remove dough from bowl and onto clean work surface. Cut dough into 8 equal pieces. Roll into smooth bowls and place on prepared baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough sit, untouched, for 5 minutes.
- Once rested, remove one dough ball from baking sheet, Using your thumb, poke a hole all the way through the center of the ball. Using your thumb as a guide, expand the hole to make the bagel shape. The dough should form a 4-inch bagel. Repeat with the other dough balls. Place the dough balls back onto baking sheet and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator to rise overnight (about 12-14 hours).
- When you're ready to make the bagels, remove them from the refrigerator to get room temperature. Place pizza stone in the oven and preheat to 450 degrees. Let it preheat for 30 mins-1 hour. Before we bake, we'll dip the bagels in a bath. See below.
For the bagel bath:
- While the oven preheats, let's dip the bagels in a bath to give them the shiny exterior. Fill large pot with 3 quarts of water and bring to a rolling boil. Reduce to a gentle simmer and then add molasses, baking soda, and salt. Give it a stir to combine.
- Place 3-4 bagels into bath and let them poach for 45 seconds. Flip and poach for another 45 seconds on the other side. Remove from liquid with a slotted spoon. Place onto cornmeal baking sheet. Repeat with rest of the bagels.
- Once all bagels have bathed, melt the butter and brush onto the tops of the bagels. Mix sugars together with remaining 2 teaspoons of cinnamon. Sprinkle about 1 tablespoon on top of each bagel.
- Once oven is preheated, place parchment paper on pizza stone and add all bagels to pizza stone using a large spatula or pizza peel. If your pizza stone isn't large enough to hold all the bagels, bake them in batches. Bake bagels for 15-18 minutes or until they reach a nice golden brown top and the sugar mixture has firmed up. Rotate bagels if some are browning faster than others.
- Remove from oven and let the bagels cool for at least 10 minutes before serving. Slice with a serrated knife and serve with your favorite spreads, like butter or cream cheese! Bagels are best on the day they’re baked. But you can freeze the leftovers for up to two months. To defrost, microwave for 30 seconds.