The build-a-bagel platter

By Al Green

Al Green became

interested in food by
accident, when he woke
up one day in 2018 to
find he co-owned a
sandwich shop. He has
been picking up
techniques and
experimenting with
ingredients ever since.
The owner of Good Boy
is on a disgraceful
breadmaking journey
and can often be found
yelling adult-only
words at under-risen,
overcooked loaves in
his home kitchen.

Featured in Capital #88
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To read a smatter of
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Is there a hole in your life? Fill it with friends and bagels. Bring your pals together to build their own, and to pile on toppings to their hearts’ content. For this platter Al has balanced salty, tangy, and sweet flavours to create the perfect filling. It’s what’s inside that counts.


450g flour
3.5g instant yeast 
8g flaky salt
265g water at 24°C
1 tbsp malt syrup

Poaching liquid

2L water 
2tbsp malt syrup
1tbsp baking soda 
1tbsp flaky salt 


  1. Mix dough ingredients until no dry spots are left. Let rest for 20min.
  2. Knead by hand for 10–15min until smooth and elastic. You could, in theory, do this in a stand mixer with a dough hook, but this dough is super low hydration and my mixer’s warranty has expired so I will not be joining you.
  3. Transfer the dough to a straight-sided vessel or a measuring jug to ensure you can gauge when it has doubled in size. The timing will depend on the temperature of the dough and your kitchen. For greater control over fermentation you can let the dough rise for 15–20mins at room temperature, then whack it in the fridge to cool and continue rising slowly.
  4. Once it is doubled in size, transfer dough from container to bench and press down firmly to remove the built-up gas. 
  5. Divide into 80g portions.
  6. To pre-shape, gather and fold edges into the middle then pinch the seam in between your thumb and forefinger.
  7. Place on a smooth surface, seam side down. With your palm facing down and fingers lightly cupping the ball, roll it around until it is somewhat tight and uniform.
  8. Rest for 15min. Line a baking tray with non-stick paper.
  9. Poke a hole in the middle of each ball using your thumb and forefinger and stretch the hole out evenly by running the circle around your fingers.
  10. Evenly space the bagels on the tray, cover with a damp tea towel (or plastic wrap if you hate the environment), and let prove in fridge overnight (8–12hrs).
  11. The next day combine poaching liquid ingredients in a large pot and bring to a gentle simmer, skimming off foam as it appears. Be careful not to boil too vigorously, as the sugar and soda will bubble over easily and make a hot mess which is both hard to clean and generally upsetting. 
  12. Preheat oven to 220°C with a rack in the middle while you poach!
  13. Poach bagels in the liquid for 30sec each side, then remove with a slotted spoon or whatever, drain and place on a wire rack.
  14. Sprinkle with anything you please: poppy, sesame, caraway, garlic, anything at all. I really don’t care and it’s none of my business. 
  15. Bake those suckers for 18min or until golden brown.


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