Monday, January 23, 2012

Homemade Bagels

I think bagels may be my favorite breakfast bread.  Sure muffins, biscuits, English muffins and raisin toast are great, but I love the chewy texture of a nice, fresh bagel.  I never considered making my own bagels until I noticed that a few bloggers (mostly who live outside of "good bagel" territory) had experimented with making bagels at home.  There are a few places to purchase bagels in Delaware, but nowhere near as many options as in New Jersey or New York.  While grocery store bagels are acceptable, I was looking for that slightly crisp exterior and that dense, chewy interior.  Once I figured out that bagels weren't that difficult to make, I decided to give it a try.

I did some research and noticed that some (delicious, I'm sure) bagel recipes called for exotic ingredients like malt syrup and I wasn't in the mood to go to the store on to wait a week for special supplies to arrive from an online store.  I opted for a recipe that utilized ingredients that were actually in my pantry.

I opted to start my dough the night before, let it rise in the fridge overnight and continue making my bagels the next morning.  This allowed me to actually get the bagels finished before we died of hunger.

After a slow overnight rise in the fridge I had a big, puffy ball of dough...

I deflated the dough and shaped it into 8 equal rounds...

I poked one hole in the center of each ball and stretched it to make sure it would stay open after baking...

My holes closed up a bit after the second rise, but my bagels were still yummy!

I've learned that the step that separates the "real" bagels from the "fake" bagels is boiling bagels in water before baking them.  It only takes a few minutes and it really helps you get that nice, shiny, chewy exterior...

Dip the surface of your wet bagels into your desired toppings and set the bagels on a baking sheet... you're ready to bake!

I made all of my bagels plain, but topped some of them with seeds or spices.  I ended up with an assortment of plain, sesame seed, and everything bagels.  I picked up my Everything Bagel and Bread Topping from King Arthur Flour.  You could also make your own by combining sesame seeds, poppy seeds, dried onion, dried garlic, and coarse salt.  Next time I'd like to try making some sweet bagels with dried fruits like raisins or cranberries.


Ready for the oven!

I ended up with 8 delicious, chewy bagels that somehow lost their holes.  The lack of holes did not impact the taste one bit!  After enjoying one with cream cheese, I got extra greedy and used one to make a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich...

And that, my friends, is how breakfast is done.  

You may be wondering why make bagels when you can buy them for less than a dollar each at the store?  Because it's easy and you can flavor them any way you'd like.  Plus, a lot of people don't live near real bagel shops.  I feel your pain... I question the bagel choices in my area, too.

If you're venturing into homemade bread, try making bagels!  Don't be intimidated by the two-day process. I broke it down to two days to make it easier to get breakfast on the table.

Homemade Bagels
adapted (slightly) from The Galley Gourmet
yields 8 bagels

2 1/4 teaspoons dry active yeast
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 1/3 cups warm water
3 1/2 cups bread flour, plus extra for kneading
1 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
Poppy seeds (optional)
Sesame seeds (optional)

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachement, add the flour, sugar, yeast and salt.  With the mixer on low, slowly add the water.  Switch to the dough hook attachment.  Continue to mix until the dough comes together in a mass, about 4-6 minutes.  Increase speed to medium-high and knead for another 8-10 minutes until soft and smooth.   Put the dough in a bowl sprayed lightly with non-stick baking spray. Cover with a towel or lightly oiled plastic wrap and let rise overnight in the refrigerator.

Gently deflate the dough and let the dough rest for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425º F and bring a large pot of water to a boil; then reduce to a simmer. 

Divide the dough into 8 pieces.  Press each piece down to get rid of air bubbles.  Form into balls and roll the balls between your palm and the work surface, rotating to form a smooth ball. Coat a finger in flour and press it through each ball to form a ring.  Twirl the ring around the index of one hand and the thumb of the other, stretching the dough and widening the hole to about 1/3 of the bagel’s diameter. Place the bagels on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat and cover with a towel. Let rest for another 10 minutes.

Gently lower the bagels into the water in batches, 2-3 bagels at a time. Boil uncovered for about 1 minute. Turn them over once and boil for another minute. Using a perforated skimmer, remove the bagels from the pot, letting the water drain; return to the baking sheet. (Optional:  sprinkle the top of the bagel with poppy seeds, sesame seeds, or both). Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Enjoy with butter, cream cheese, jelly, or my favorite way:  topped with bacon, egg and cheese!


  1. I don't have a stand mixer, so I'm wondering if I could maybe adapt this to the dough setting on my bread machine. I really really hate to knead dough by hand.

    Your bagels look delicious. I've been thinking about trying it because so many storebought bagels use white flour and nothing else. I might need to experiment on my own with making something a little healthier.

  2. You could absolutely make this recipe without a stand mixer. It will take longer to knead the dough by hand, but it can be done.

    I'd like to try this with white whole wheat flour. I bought a bag and apparently it has the same nutrition as whole wheat, but with a smoother texture and lighter color. If I do try whole wheat I'll still use half bread flour.

  3. You need a new career as a chef!! Your stuff looks delicious and from prior experience, I know it tastes amazing too! That breakfast sandwich looks mmmmm good! I had no clue they boiled bagels before baking. I guess you learn something new everyday :)

  4. Wow, those look wonderful! I can't wait to have our kitchen back in order, I'm definitely going to try this recipe.

  5. omg, I LOVE bagels, and as you would imagine there are no good bagel places here in MD, which means I'm probably going to give this recipe a try at some point, because these look amazing!

  6. OH MY! Your bacon bagel sandwich looks so good! I'd never thought of making my own bagels and you make it sound quite simple! Might try it sometime :)


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