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Make Paul Hollywood’s Rainbow Bagels

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What in Bread Week Hell? Rainbow Bagels? YES! We’re making THE technical bake from the 2020 GBBO Bread Week!


Swirled, twirled, colorful bagels with the classic chewy texture of a good bagel is what you get when you make Paul Hollywood’s Rainbow Bagels.

WHY THIS Challenge?

I like a good crazy challenge every once in a while for our Bake-Along. Remember the Floating Islands Dessert or the Vegan Pavlova?? Yeah, we can get crazy, in a nerdy baking kinda way.

One risen begel.

When we were watching the episode my husband was like I WOULD NEVER EAT ONE OF THOSE. I think I took it as a personal challenge, “OH REALLY?”

And here we are, Rainbow Bagels. And no he never did eat one. My kids ate them all!

Raised rainbow bagels.

Technical Bakes

I don’t know how much of a recipe they got in the tent but I’ve seen clips of what the technical challenges look like and there isn’t a lot of info on those cards!

In my head it goes like this:

  1. Make dough for 6 bagels-sparse recipe given
  2. no proving time
  3. no real directions on shaping, although someone said “oh no I needed to twist these”
  4. no cooking time given, I do know they were told to put baking soda in the boiling water though
  5. no baking time given, OR oven temperature

Maybe there was more on the cards but that’s how I feel the technical bakes go on the GBBO. Or that’s how they WOULD go if I were in charge…

You know Dan Beasley-Harling did a Rainbow Challah a few years ago on his site. I wonder if he inspired Paul Hollywood’s Rainbow Bagels? Thoughts?!?

My problems with the Rainbow Bagels.

  1. The dough was very stretchy and I made them too big around
  2. I over-proved them. When it says 20 minutes to rise or until they are puffy that’s what you follow, don’t think it needs more or you’ll get bagels that are hard to manage. Mixed with making them too big made them hard to handle in and out of the water.
  3. consequently, they weren’t as HIGH and puffy as I’d prefer for my bagels but it was a busy week and I wasn’t making them again
  4. Also? If you have any kind of Food Service Gloves wear them! The dough is VERY bright and it will stain your hands.
Colored dough for rainbow bagels!

Other Bagel Recipes to Enjoy:

Pin for Rainbow Bagels.
Yield: 6

Rainbow Bagels

Rainbow Bagels
Prep Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes


  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp rapid rise yeast--see notes if you have regular yeast!
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 240 Mils water
  • food coloring gel 
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda


  1. put the dry ingredients in the bowl of a mixer
  2. add 3/4 of the water and run the mixer with the dough hook to make a very rough dough
  3. slowly add the remaining water until the flour is mixed in
  4. run the mixer on low 2-3 minutes until a smooth dough is formed
  5. weigh the dough and divide it evenly into 5 balls, cover them loosely
  6. lightly grease 5 bowls to put the finished dough in
  7. working with one dough at a time add a couple of dots of yellow gel to the dough fold it over, knead until the color is incorporated
  8. add more color to the dough until you get a nice vibrant yellow
  9. put it in the greased bowl and cover it loosely
  10. repeat with the remaining dough balls making orange, red, blue, and green dough
  11. let rise in their covered bowls until doubled in size
  12. lightly dust the counter space with flour
  13. roll out the red ball to a 5x8 rectangle, set it aside
  14. roll out the orange piece and stack it on top of the red
  15. then roll out the yellow, green, and finally blue, stacking them on top of the pile
  16. then use a sharp knife to cut the pile in half lengthwise, then cut each of those halves in thrids so you get 6 strips for bagels
  17. roll each strip in the opposite direction from itself to get a twist stretching it slightly as well to get a 10 1/4 inch strip, loop it around, pinch the ends together into a bagel shape
  18. line a baking sheet with parchment lay the bagels on the tray
  19. when the bagels are shaped cover or put in a proving bag, let them rise in a warm place for 20 minutes or until puffy
  20. while they're rising preheat the oven to 395˚
  21. and also set a deep frying pan full of water over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer
  22. when the bagels are done rising whisk in the 1 teaspoon baking soda
  23. gently lift a bagel off the tray and slip it in the boiling water
  24. cook 30 seconds on each side
  25. you can cook 2-3 at a time if you have room
  26. once each bagel has cooked for 30 seconds on each side remove it from the water and put it on a fresh baking sheet with yet another sheet of parchment paper on it
  27. once ALL the bagels have been boiled place the baking sheet in the oven and bake 25-30 minutes or until the bagels a lightly browned (hard to tell with the colors) and feel set when you poke them
  28. cool and serve!


If you don't have rapid rise yeast just take a small portion of the water and pour it over the yeast to soften it up, let it sit for a few minutes. You can add a little flour to the water too but I don't find it to be necessary. Then add that water to the flour first, and some of the plain water called for in the recipe.

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laura sampson

About Laura

Laura is on a mission to teach modern family oriented women how to make old-fashioned foods new again. A wife and mom of 3 boys, Laura understands the struggles of trying to serve a home-cooked meal each night. She provides recipes and cooking hacks for busy moms to create dishes they may think take more time or skill than they have to make. Read more...

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