I’m not going to lie to you. Making traditional bagels from scratch is a process. But if you’re a bagel lover like I am, it’s worth it to make these zaatar bagels at home, even with all the proofing, boiling, and baking. However, I do know a “cheat” method that produces great results if you’re short on time (or energy!). And, stick around to the end for a new take on a great bagel spread!
My love for bagels runs deep. I’ve been going to the Detroit Bagel Factory in Livonia, MI since I was a wee lassie. I have ALWAYS preferred bagels over donuts and have lamented many times over the office preference for sweet over savory. Alas, the woes of a bagel person. But it’s ok, making them at home means you can have them at any time, with any toppings or flavors of your choice.
Now, let’s talk about zaatar. You may have heard of the Arab spice blend but did you know there are different regional varieties?! Reminiscent of oregano or thyme, zaatar is actually a separate kind of herb, and is SO good in any number of recipes. One of my favorites is zaatar mana’eesh – a type of flatbread found across the Arab world. When you put labneh on mana’eesh – all I have to say is that it’s heavenly. Find zaatar in a store near you and put it on these bagels, along with the lemon spread that we detail below.
Two Methods to Zaatar Bagels
Now, on to the methods. I am not *YET* a bagel-making expert, so I recommend that for traditional bagels you get some sourdough starter and follow the instructions outlined on Baked. This method will yield the real deal New York-style sourdough bagels. Just be aware that it takes two days to make the bagels, so make sure your starter is fed and that you time the recipe correctly. I’ve made them twice now, with pretty great results!
If you don’t want to go the two day route, Skinnytaste has a simple recipe that will get you an incredible bagel in a fraction of the time. The secret is using Greek yogurt (you can substitute labneh) and self-rising flour. I have to say, as a bagel connoisseur, I was not ready for how good these turned out. I’ve made them several times and you can see the results for yourself. Since these aren’t boiled, use an egg wash to add the zaatar seasoning.
No matter which way you make these zaatar bagels, like many homemade goodies, they are best served the day of. You can also freeze the extras (if you have any!). So branch out of your bagel routine and try making your bagels at home, with zaatar and preserved lemon spread. You won’t regret it! (Also, stay tuned for even more amazing bagel spreads!)
- 1 heaping tablespoon of preserved lemon paste
- 1 part cream cheese
- 1 part labneh
We highly suggest including the preserved lemon paste, a little goes a long way and it adds a funky umami flavor to this spread. But if you don’t feel like buying it or making your own from preserved lemons, you can substitute a heaping tablespoon of lemon zest.
Whip all the ingredients in a food processor until light and fluffy. Spread on your homemade zaatar bagels and enjoy!