Homemade Bagels Recipe

Yields: 8 bagels
Prep time: 20 minutes + rising time
Cook time: 20-25 minutes

Ingredients

Dough:

  • 1 and 1/4 cups (300 ml) warm water (105-115°F/ 40-46°C)
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar or honey
  • 2 and 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast
  • 4 cups (500g) bread flour
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt

Water bath:

  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 tablespoon honey or barley malt syrup (optional)

Toppings (optional):

  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • Everything bagel seasoning, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, etc.

Instructions

Make the Dough:

  • Activate the yeast: In a large bowl, combine warm water, sugar (or honey), and yeast. Let stand for 5 minutes until foamy.
  • Mix the dough: Add bread flour and salt to the yeast mixture. Using a stand mixer with a dough hook or your hands, knead the dough until smooth and elastic (about 5-7 minutes).
  • First rise: Lightly oil a bowl. Place the dough in the bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel, and let it rise in a warm place until doubled in size (about 1-2 hours).

Shape the bagels:

  • Punch down and divide: Punch down the risen dough and divide it into 8 equal pieces.
  • Shape: Roll each piece into a rope about 8-inches long. Form a circle by joining the ends and pinching to seal. Alternatively, poke a hole through the center of a dough ball and stretch gently to form the bagel shape.
  • Second rise: Place shaped bagels on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover loosely with a towel and let rise for 10-20 minutes.

Preheat and prepare the water bath:

  • Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C).
  • In a large pot, bring 2 quarts of water and honey (or malt syrup, if using) to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.

Boil the bagels:

  • Boil the bagels in batches of 2-3 for 1 minute on each side. Use a slotted spoon to remove them and return them to the baking sheet.

Topping and baking:

  • Brush the boiled bagels with the beaten egg. Sprinkle with your desired toppings, if using.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a deep golden brown. Rotate the baking sheet halfway through baking for even browning.

Cool and enjoy!

  • Let the bagels cool slightly on a wire rack before slicing and serving.

Tips:

  • Flour matters: Bread flour is key for that classic bagel chew. Using all-purpose flour will still make bagels but with a somewhat softer texture.
  • Warm it up: Ensure your water is warm but not too hot, as this will help the yeast activate properly.
  • Honey vs. Malt Syrup: Barley malt syrup is traditional, but honey provides a similar sweetness and promotes browning.
  • Overnight rise: For more flavor, place the covered dough in the refrigerator to rise overnight after the first rise. Let it come to room temperature for 30 minutes before shaping.
  • Storage: Store bagels in an airtight container at room temperature for a day or two, or freeze for longer storage.

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