Globe Trotting Bake Off (5) – Finland

We are still baking our way through Scandinavia. This week’s stop for the Globe Trotting Bake Off – Finland. Again I chose a recipe from “The Great Scandinavian Baking Book” by Beatrice Ojakangas: Karelian Water Rings. Karelia is an area now divided between Finland and Russia. In Finnish these water rings are called Vesirinkilät (vesi = water, rinki = circle, lät = ???). The recipe says these resemble bagels – when I read this I knew I had to make them because I’ve tried 3 different bagel versions (Peter Reinhart’s, Jeffrey Hamelman’s & Mike Avery’s), and none was really successful.

The BBA bagels were good tastewise, but absolutely flat, the Hamelman bagels were flat and uncooked and Avery’s sourdough bagels weren’t flat, but tastewise not as good as the BBA bagels. So I thought I’d give this recipe a try to see if THIS might be my go to recipe for bagels. Oh well…  As you can see in the picture, they were flatter than flat. Tastewise they were very nice, though. Why is it that my bagels always turn out flat? Is there something wrong with my German flour? Is German flour just not appropriate for bagels or Finish water rings? Or is it that bagels and I are a combination that is just not meant to be??? I love, love, love bagels and I would be so happy if my homemade bagels turned out nicely. What am I doing wrong? Maybe I should try to find a German baking book with a bagel recipe, hoping that the recipe was tested with German flour. I’m not giving up on homemade bagels yet, but I’m really close!

Karelian Water Rings

(adapted from “The Great Scandinavian Baking Book”, you can also find the recipe here on page 64 )

makes 16 rings


  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 tblsp melted butter
  • 3 1/2 cups bread or AP flour
  • boiling water
  • 2 tblsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda


  1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand 5 minutes.
  2. Add salt, butter, and half the flour, beating until smooth. Blend in flour until dough is stiff.
  3. Let rest 15 minutes, covered.
  4. Knead dough until smooth and satiny.
  5. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
  6. Turn dough onto an oiled board. Divide into 16 parts.
  7. Shape each part into a strand 6-8 inches long. Turn into a ring and pinch ends together.
  8. Place on a sheet lined with parchment paper and sprinkled with cornmeal and let rise 30 minutes.
  9. Preheat oven to 400°F. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and sprinkle with cornmeal.
  10. Bring a wide pan half-full of water to a boil; add the salt and soda.
  11. Lower the rings one at a time into the water and cook 30 seconds. Remove from water and place on prepared baking sheet.
  12. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden.

2 responses to “Globe Trotting Bake Off (5) – Finland

  1. So sorry that this one wasn’t a winner either. =( You’ll find a good one, though – I know it! =)

  2. Oh well!..they do look pretty…blue and all…LOL

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