Toasted Sesame Seed Bagel with Kaya Spread

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Where there is smoke, there is toast
~ Unknown

Before we had our bread machine, we usually buy bread and bagels from the Buns Master Bakery. Although there are several Buns Master outlets around the city, we normally go to the one on SW Marine Drive just off the Knight Street Bridge.

We love their sesame seed bagel. We have tried the sesame seed bagel from the other Buns Master outlet but they do not taste the same. The owner of this one particular outlet is a very nice Chinese looking man who always were very polite and humble. The shop opens seven days a week!! There was this one time when he told us that he is closing the shop for a week because his daughter was getting married … other than that he had been working seven days a week for a long time. Gosh, what a life!


We almost always buy the Sesame Seed Bagel, not Poppy Seed, Plain or others. And we like to toast it — toasting it brings out the full fragrance and crunchiness of the sesame seeds. Being raised as Malaysians we love to use kaya jam as a spread.


The bagel (or sometimes beigel) is a bread product traditionally made of yeasted wheat dough in the form of a roughly hand-sized ring which is boiled in water and then baked. The result is a dense, chewy, doughy interior with a browned and sometimes crisp exterior.

The dough may also be flavored to produce many varieties: salt, onion, garlic, egg, pumpernickel, rye, sourdough, whole wheat, multigrain, cinnamon-raisin, cheese, caraway, blueberry, and muesli among others. Bagels may be topped with seeds such as poppy or sesame, which are baked onto the outer crust.

The bagel originated in Central Europe, probably in Poland. A 1610 document from Krakow mentions “beygls” given as a gift to women in childbirth. This is often cited as the earliest known reference to the bagel, but the document is not clear what a “beygl” is. The bagel came into more general use throughout North America in the last quarter of the 20th century.

The two most prominent styles of traditional bagel in North America are the Montreal bagel and the New York-style bagel. The Montreal bagel contains malt and egg but no salt; it is boiled in honey-sweetened water before baking in a wood oven; and it is predominantly either of the noir/”black seed” (poppy) or blanc/”white seed” (sesame) variety. The New York bagel contains salt and malt and is also boiled prior to baking in a standard oven. The resulting New York bagel is puffy with a noticeable crust, while the Montreal bagel is smaller (though with a larger hole) chewier, and sweeter.


We used to use the toaster but it does not toast the bagel evenly. So, we now use the toaster oven for this. We set the toaster oven to “Toast” and watch over it so that it does not get burned.


Kaya is a jam made from coconuts and eggs, flavoured by the unique pandan leaf, and sweetened with sugar. Originated from Hainan, China, the jam is popular in Malaysia and Singapore. It tastes sweet and somewhat creamy, and is available as either a green or brown colored spread. As with other various jams, kaya is typically spread onto toast and eaten in the morning, but is not limited to this use. Our mums make it themselves. We recall that it was a very labour intensive process which involves endless stirring for hours. We just buy the kaya spread from the stores.


Here is how it looks like with the bagel toasted and spread with the kaya jam. You should try this out. You’ll like it.


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  1. jackie harman

    i want to get kaya jam, and i cant find any.

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