Cheesy potato and shallot bagels

by | May 16, 2024

We can’t think of a better way to start to the weekend than these bagels from Anna Shepherd’s new book Love Vegetables. Or a better way to use our Popeth Everything Bagel Seasoning. 




  • 1 all-rounder potato, such as Desirée (about 250g), or 250g leftover mashed potato
  • 450g  strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 50g wholemeal flour
  • 7g fast acting dried yeast
  • 1 tsp caster (superfine) sugar
  • 150g (5½oz) extra mature Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp black onion (nigella) seeds, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 2 tsp Halen Môn Sea Salt in a Finer Flake
  • Neutral oil, such as mild olive oil, for greasing
  • Sesame seeds, for sprinkling (optional)
  • Poppy seeds, for sprinkling (optional)
  • Halen Môn Popeth everything bagel seasoning (optional)

For poaching

  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • 1 tbsp honey


  1. Place the potato in a saucepan and cover with water. Add a generous pinch of salt to the pan. 

  2. Bring to the boil and cook until a sharp knife passes through the potato easily (about 25–30 minutes). Drain the potato, reserving 210ml (7½fl oz/scant 1 cup) of the cooking water. When the potato is cool enough to handle, but still warm, peel away the skin and discard (this is easiest using your fingers rather than a peeler). 

  3. In a large mixing bowl, mash the potato until smooth, or pass through a potato ricer. Skip this step if you’re cooking with leftover mashed potato, and just measure the correct quantity of mash into a large mixing bowl.

  4. Sift both flours into the bowl with the potato and add the yeast, sugar, cheese, shallots, black onion seeds and salt.

  5. Stir to combine, then make a well in the centre and pour in the reserved potato cooking water. 

  6. Bring the mixture together as a dough in the mixing bowl using clean hands, then transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead for 10–15 minutes until the dough is smooth. This doughy exercise can feel like hard going, but the mixture is more pliable after a brief rest of even a couple of minutes, so I often wander off to open the post or water the plants before continuing to knead. Depending on the potato and the atmosphere, you may need to add a sprinkle more flour here and there if the dough feels particularly sticky. You’re looking for it ultimately to have a smooth surface and not to stick to the work surface as you knead. Lightly oil the mixing bowl (there’s no need to wash it up) and return the dough to the bowl to prove, covered with a clean tea towel, for an hour in a warm place until doubled in size.

  7. Cut nine squares, 10 x 10cm (4 x 4in) each, of baking parchment and arrange eight of them over two baking trays;cover the trays with tea towels and leave to prove again for an hour at room temperature.

  8. Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºC/Gas 6.

  9. Fill a large saucepan with 2 litres (70fl oz/8¼ cups) of water and bring to a gentle simmer. Add the bicarbonate of soda and honey to the pan. Peel the parchment away and drop the first bagel into the simmering water. Cook for 30 seconds, during which time it should bob up to the surface, before using a slotted spoon to flip it over and cook for another 30 seconds on the other side. Lift the bagel out of the water with the slotted spoon and return to the baking sheet on its piece of parchment.

  10. Repeat with the remaining dough balls, poaching batches of two or three bagels in the pan at a time. Once all the bagels are poached, sprinkle their surfaces with black onion seeds and sesame and poppy seeds, if using.

  11. Bake in the oven for 25–28 minutes until deep golden. Transfer the cooked bagels to a cooling rack to cool completely. They’re best eaten within a couple of days of being cooked, but they freeze well for up to 3 months. 

  12. Serve the bagels spread with a thick layer of cream cheese and your favourite savoury additions (a crispy fried egg; chopped capers and dill; and anchovies and cucumbers are all excellent additions).

RECIPE: By Anna Shepherd from her brilliant new book Love Vegetables. 


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