Sweet Pink Bagels

I used to love the Pink Ribbon Bagels® from Panera. The first few years Panera offered them, they were the typical bagel shape. The past few years, they changed the bagels to a ribbon shape, and something happened to them. Their texture became hard instead of spongy. I wanted to like them, really I did. I wanted to support the cause they raised money for. But they were just too tough and chewy, and not in a good way.
Bagels are a two day process. The dough shapes need to rest for at least 8 hours, preferably longer. The boiling and baking goes pretty quickly. They would make a perfect breakfast treat, provided that you start the night before.

I tried making a similar version to the PRB. As described on the Panera site, they have cherry chips, dried cherries, dried cranberries, vanilla, brown sugar, and honey. I included as many of those ingredients as I could (cherry chips – what are those?). I am submitting this post to Beantown Baker’s Power of Pink Challenge. I have friends and colleagues who are survivors of breast cancer, and I encourage all women to keep up with their monthly self-examinations.
Adapted from “Cinnamon Raisin Bagels”
As seen on Smitten Kitchen
Originally by Peter Reinhart

Sweet Pink Bagels

Sweet Pink Bagels


1 tsp instant yeast (I used the rapid rise)
4 c bread flour
2 ½ c warm water (about 95°F)
1 tsp instant yeast
2 tsp vanilla
1 Tbs honey
3 ¾ c bread flour
3 Tbs sugar
2 Tbs packed light brown sugar
2 ¾ tsp salt
2 c loosely packed, roughly chopped mixture of dried cranberries and dried cherries
To Finish
1 Tbs baking soda
Cornmeal or semolina flour for dusting


  1. Day One: For the sponge – stir the yeast into the flour in the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl if mixing by hand). Add water and stir until just combined – mixture should form a sticky batter. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for about 2 hours. Mixture should swell to nearly double in size, and collapse when the bowl is tapped on the countertop.
  2. For the dough – Add the additional 1 tsp yeast, vanilla, and honey to the sponge and stir. In a separate bowl, stir together 3 c of flour, sugar, light brown sugar, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the sponge and mix on low with the dough hook attachment. Mix until the dough forms a ball, then slowly add in the remaining ¾ c of flour. In the last 2 minutes of mixing, add the dried cranberries and dried cherries.
  3. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Knead for at least 10 minutes, adding a teeny bit of flour if the dough is still sticky. The kneaded dough should be firm, but still pliable and smooth. There should be no raw flour – all ingredients should be hydrated. The dough should read 71-77°F, and feel satiny and pliable but not tacky.
  4. Immediately divide the dough into into equal-sized portions (3.75 oz for regular size bagel, 2 oz for mini bagels.) Form into rolls. Cover the rolls with a damp towel and allow them to rest for about 20 minutes.
  5. Line 2 sheet pans (or more) with parchment paper and mist lightly with non-stick spray. Poke a hole into each ball of dough and gently widen it to form an even ring. Place each shaped piece 2-inches apart on the baking sheets. Mist lightly with the non-stick spray and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes.
  6. Check to see if the bagels are ready to be retarded in the refrigerator. To do this, fill a small bowl with cool or room temperature water. If the bagels float within 10 seconds of being dropped into the water then they are ready. Test with one bagel. If it floats, immediately pat it dry and return it to the pan. Cover the pat, and place in the refrigerator overnight. Bagels can stay chilled for up to 2 days. If the test bagel does not float, pat it dry, return it to the pan, cover, and continue proofing the dough. Check every 10-20 minutes to see if the bagel passes the float test.
  7. Day 2: Preheat oven to 500°F with two racks set in the middle of the oven. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the baking soda. Have a slotted spoon or skimmer ready.
  8. Remove bagels from refrigerator and gently drop them into the water. Only add as many bagels as can comfortably fit. They should float within 10 seconds. Cook for 1minute, flip, and cook for 1 minute more. While bagels are boiling, sprinkle some cornmeal or semolina flour onto the same parchment-lined baking sheets. If you replace the parchment paper, spray lightly with nonstick-spray before sprinkling the dry ingredients.
  9. Remove bagels from water to prepared pans. Place in oven, and bake for about 5 minutes. Rotate pans from top to bottom, and from front to back (180 degree turn). If you are only baking 1 pan, still rotate the 180 degrees. Lower oven to 450 and continue baking for another 5 minutes, or until light golden brown. Remove pans from the oven and let the bagels cool on a rack for 15 minutes before serving.


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Sweet Comments:

  1. Thanks so much for helping to raise Breast Cancer Awareness by entering my challenge! I agree about the pink ribbon bagel. It used to be my favorite. I think you can get cherry chips online but I’ve definitely never seen them anywhere or seen a recipe that uses them.

  2. Looks perfect

  3. King Arthur Flour sells cherry chips. Looks delicious!

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