Jerusalem Bagels | #BreadBakers | Karen's Kitchen Stories

Jerusalem bagels are oblong sesame coated breads that are baked in wood fired ovens sold by street vendors in the streets of the Old City. They are a version of ka'ak, sold throughout the region, but, according to some, the ka'ak in Jerusalem are better than anywhere else in the region.

Jerusalem Bagels

These Jerusalem bagels are smaller than the ones sold on the streets of the city, making them more home oven friendly.

These bagels are coated in sesame seeds that are mixed with pomegranate or grape molasses. I used pomegranate molasses, which I found in a local Middle Eastern market. If you can't find it, you can make your own by following the recipe for the pomegranate reduction in this post.

You could also just egg wash the bagels before dredging them in sesame seeds. You'll get the sesame seed flavor, but not the tart pomegranate flavor.

Jerusalem bagels with sesame seeds

This bread is pretty amazing straight out of the oven. How often have you cursed a bread recipe that has said "cool completely on a wire rack?"

This bread is amazing straight from the oven, no holds barred, no cooling required. In fact, if you have any leftovers, freeze them to maintain freshness, and then toast or warm them in the oven or microwave before eating.

This recipe is adapted from the amazing book, The Palestinian Table by Reem Kassis.

This month, the Bread Bakers group is baking Middle Eastern breads. After the recipe, be sure to check out the amazing collection of breads. 

bread, artisan bread, kaak, bagels, Jerusalem


Middle Eastern

Yield: 6 bagels

Jerusalem Bagels

prep time: cook time: total time:


For the dough
  • 4 1/2 cups (500 grams) all purpose flour

  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 1 1/ 2 cups warm milk (whole or low fat)

  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • Olive oil

Sesame Seed Topping
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds

  • 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses

  • 2 tablespoons hot water


  1. Add the flour, sugar, salt, milk, yeast, and baking powder in the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook. Mix on medium for two minutes. 

  2. Lightly coat a bowl with olive oil and transfer the dough to the bowl and turn it to coat. Cover and let rise until doubled, about an hour. 

  3. In the meantime, mix the sesame coating ingredients in a shallow pan large enough to dip the shaped bagels. Set aside. 

  4. Deflate the risen dough, and turn it out onto your work surface. Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces. 

  5. Roll each piece into a 12 inch or longer log. Form each piece of the dough into an oval ring, about 6 inches in length. 

  6. Place each oval onto a parchment lined baking sheet, and let rise for 15 minutes, covered with oiled plastic wrap. 

  7. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. 

  8. Take each oval and press the tops into the sesame seed mixture. Place them back onto the baking sheet, seeded side up. Let rest for another 10 minutes. 

  9. Bake the bagels in the oven until they are a deep golden brown, for about 15 to 18 minutes. 

  10. Serve warm with butter,  a spread, or a dip.

Karen's Kitchen Stories

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

Jerusalem bagels with sesame seeds and pomegranate molasses

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