Recently, I decided to tackle King Arthur’s Ultimate Sandwich Bagels which just happens to be their recipe of the year for 2022. It’s only July, so I’m not procrastinating too much! The isn’t just a recipe for bagels, it also includes a technique to bake five eggs for four sandwiches at once.
Since I share cooking duties in a two-person household, I rarely require eggs for four sandwiches at one time, so I did some adjustments to the recipe to bring it down to closer to 2 servings of eggs. I also spent some time thinking about and documenting any tips I could find for making bagel sandwiches easier to eat.
Because bagel sandwiches sure are slippery.
King Arthur’s sandwich filling options
The team at King Arthur Baking wrote up this side blog post about different filling options for creative breakfast bagel sandwiches. I think they did a pretty good job and that inspired me to get creative and come up with a few filling options of my own.
My filling options
Below are the options I came up with and made, with a few simple recipes along the way. These links will jump you down the page if you want.
- The basic egg
- Bacon, egg, cheese, and hot sauce
- Steak and chimichurri cream cheese
- Spicy, sweet bacon
- Pork sausage and giardiniera
- Al pastor sausage
Now let’s talk about eggs.
King Arthur’s egg technique
The King Arthur egg process requires 5 eggs, which means you’re already deep into half of a container of eggs. This works great if you are cooking for a family or for some visiting guests, but it’s not a technique that would apply to every situation.
After attempting this technique in a 9×13 inch baking dish and testing it a bit, I made attempts with a smaller pan and a smaller number of eggs.
Ingredients in King Arthur’s egg process:
- 5 large eggs
- 1/4 cup (57g) milk
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon bread or all-purpose flour
- black pepper, to taste
9×13-inch baking dish
A scaled-down egg technique
For my scaled-down version, first, you need a 4×8 loaf pan. This limits the surface area for the eggs, but it also ensures that the smaller number of eggs are in a deep enough bath/pan to cook fully but still retain their fluffiness.
This style of baked eggs will not be as soft as soft scrambled eggs, but that’s not the point here. The point of this recipe is to have quick-cooked eggs that require almost no effort, and the end result will leave you with what is basically a square egg patty that is perfect for a sandwich.
Ingredients in a 3-egg baking process:
- 3 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons milk
- pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
- black pepper, to taste
4×8-inch bread pan
Here’s the 4×8-inch loaf pan that I use. This product is two identical loaf pans for about 17 bucks (at time of posting). These pans work great for this application and for baking loaves of sandwich bread or even banana bread. They’ll last you practically forever and if you have the space and the cash, they’re worth owning.
The egg process you use for my 3-egg bake is:
- pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees F (232 C)
- add milk, salt, and flour to a medium-sized bowl and whisk thoroughly to combine the flour
- add eggs to the bowl with the milk mixture and whisk again
- add as much pepper as you like and whisk up
- spray the inside of your pan with non-stick baking spray – IMPORTANT
- pour eggs into the pan add to the oven and bake for 2 minutes
- rotate the pan 180 degrees and bake for an additional 3 to 4 minutes or until the top of the eggs are solid and there’s no liquid visible on top of the eggs
- add shredded cheese or pieces of sliced cheese to the top of the eggs
- add pan back to the oven for 30 to 45 additional seconds
- Remove eggs from the pan, slice in half to form two square sandwich-sized egg patties
The bagel recipe
This King Arthur Baking bagel recipe is a pretty good one. It’s an easy dough to work with and it produces a tasty result that makes a good sandwich bagel. Will this get you an authentic NYC bagel? I doubt it. I don’t have the experience to judge that. Will it produce a bagel that you can bag up and make great sandwiches at your house with for four or five days after baking? Yes.
Bagels are a lot like other types of buns/bread/roll baking up until it gets to the final proofing process. In some ways, bagels and pretzels are similar to me because you boil both doughs after a second rise and prior to final baking.
After the bagel boiling process, this recipe instructs you to add an egg wash and use that moisture to cause your toppings to stick to the bagel. You could use the moisture from the boiling process to allow toppings to stick, but the egg also adds a layer to the bagels that will assist in browning as well. So even if you’re not adding toppings, the egg wash is important.
For this batch, I topped about half with everything bagel seasoning and the others with a blend of sesame and poppy seeds.
Here’s the King Arthur Baking bagel recipe I used. It’s a pretty good one.
The trouble with bagel sandwiches
The main problem with a bagel sandwich is how slippery some of the ingredients will become in the sandwich. This slippage is mostly due to the effort it requires to bite into and through a bagel which in turn puts a lot of downward and then sideways force onto your bagel sandwich condiments.
And the fix for bagel sandwiches
These two suggestions I have aren’t perfect. There are still a lot of logistical problems with a bagel as a sandwich base, but these two options will help. If you’re really troubled by slippage in your bagel sandwiches, save them for the weekend, open-faced cream cheese experiences, and instead go with something like a hard/Kaiser roll with the same eggs and fillings.
Wrap it up
Wrapping a sandwich in paper or foil is almost always a good idea. In a hot sandwich with cheese, it helps the cheese melt, in a cold sandwich it tightens all the ingredients together and helps the flavors meld.
I typically wrap my sandwiches with paper or aluminum foil. In a bagel sandwich, it does both of those things, but the wrapping also helps hold everything together if things start slipping out. Even if things do slide out, they’ll just end up in the parchment/foil and not all over your plate.
Go easy on the spread
I don’t typically display this option because I must take photos of my sandwiches and if a component is spread thin, my readers/viewers simply do not see it. But if you keep your cream cheese layer spread thin, it will help reduce the slippage factor in a bagel sandwich.
Let’s talk about variations on these bagel sandwiches. The two pieces of consistency in these sandwiches are the bagels and the eggs. You can buy your bagels, or you can use the King Arthur Baking recipe I shared. You can also make one of your favorite types of eggs in a pan instead of using the baking technique described above. This is a choose your own adventure story in bagel sandwich land.
This is the simplest of the bagel sandwiches that I made. I had some leftover roasted garlic cream cheese and I used it with one of the eggs stuffed with cheddar from the King Arthur baked sandwich egg technique. Here’s the roasted garlic and herb cream cheese recipe that I use, or you can just buy some from the store.
Even though this is a simple option, it’s still focused and tasty.
BaconEggCheese is another one of those classic sandwich combinations. I don’t think it’s typically served with cream cheese, but I did that in this version, and it worked really well. You could probably combine the hot sauce and the cream cheese for a super-powered sandwich condiment, but I just used them separately.
Steak plus chimichurri is an almost perfect pairing.
In this situation, I had some leftover flank steak from the previous night when we had gorgonzola, steak taco night. You can make the flank steak recipe on its own too. I like serving it with some garlicky mashed potatoes, but we’re getting off the topic now. Back to the sandwich.
For the chimichurri cream cheese (and most of my other cream cheese blends), I used a 3 to 1 ratio of cream cheese to chimichurri. Mix it up in a bowl before you spread it on your bagel.
For this spicy and sweet attack on your senses, I made a batch of hoisin glazed bacon and whipped up some chili crisp cream cheese. I wrote a blog post about other things you can do with chili crisp that you should read if you’re a fan.
The chili crisp cream cheese mathematical concept that I used was right around 3 tablespoons of softened cream cheese and 1 tablespoon (or more) of chili crisp. That’s 3 to 1 for those of you who aren’t familiar with the complex mathematical algorithms that I use in my sandwich blog posts. So, the instructions for the chili crisp cream cheese is: stir it all up until it’s combined.
Here’s my hoisin bacon baked in the oven recipe and technique.
Oh yeah, there’s avocado on this bagel too. I sort of went over the top, but it was tasty.
Inspired by the idea of a Chicago classic pizza combination, I seared a sausage patty and topped the eggs with giardiniera. Garlic cream cheese and some cheddar cheese in the eggs round everything out.
If you’ve never tried it, eggs and giardiniera are fantastic flavor buddies. This combination is great, and I suggest that you keep giardiniera in the fridge for future breakfast sandwiches.
I had some pineapple in the fridge when we were making these bagels and I was inspired to attempt a version that was inspired by al pastor. I coated ground Italian sausage that I had formed into patties with 2 tablespoons of adobo sauce from a can of chipotles.
Note: this is not attempting to be authentic al pastor. It’s just me having fun with flavors and using al pastor as inspiration.
I seared those adobo coated sausages and also put a pineapple slice in the pan to heat up and pick up some caramelization.
On top of this sausage patty and folded egg, I added some sliced-up grilled pineapple, diced red onion, sprinkles of cilantro and queso fresca crumbles
This was a fun combination. As I said before it’s not a typical al pastor option, but it’s quick and easy and with some seared pineapple and diced-up onion, we’re well on our way to a fun bagel sandwich option.
Make more bagels
Make bagels. Then make bagel sandwiches. Just do it.
Check back next week when I’m writing about food that I’ve never liked!!