10 March 2009


Had I known bagels would be so easy to make, I would have attempted this way earlier. The process is like creating any kind of bread, really, with the added step of placing the uncooked bagels in boiling water for a few minutes. This is what creates the harder crust and the spongy interior, which makes bagels so good, so good.


3.5 cups all purpose flour
1.25 cups lukewarm water
1 tsp instant yeast
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt

I make this in a stand mixer - if you're kneading by hand, make sure you have some good music, good company, good drinks or all three combined to make time fly by. Start by mixing the yeast and the sugar with the water - the water should be warm, but not hot. We're looking to awaken the yeast, not burn it to death. Once the yeast and sugar has dissolved completely, pour the flour into a large bowl (the stand mixer bowl, if using) and make a well in the middle. Add the liquid and incorporate some of the flour into it. We're looking to make a very loose batter, not an actual dough at this point.

Let this rest for 30 minutes - you'll notice that it gets very bubbly on top. Once the 30 minutes are up, add the salt and start kneading. If you're using the stand mixer, lube your dough hook up with cooking spray and knead for about 15 minutes. If doing by hand, mix everything up in the bowl and turn on to a floured working space. Knead for 30 minutes, without breaks! Breaks are for the weak. Oh, I'm just kidding.

Once the kneading is done, you should be able to "windowpane" the dough. Take a small piece and flatten it into a disc. Drag the edges, turning with each pull, and the center of the dough should be like a membrane, you should easily be able to see light through it. Here's an example of what that looks like.

Optional step: If you wish to make bagels with something in them, like cranberries or blueberries, now is the time to gently fold them into the dough.

Place the dough back in the bowl (or leave it in the bowl if you're using a stand mixer), cover loosely and let rise for about 1 hour or until doubled in size. Once done rising, turn the dough back out on the floured work surface and divide it into 8 equally large parts. Now it's time to form bagels - either make a lump and poke a hole in the middle, or roll the lump out into a roll and join the ends together. Either way works. Place the bagels on a baking sheet and cover again.

Turn the oven to 400 degrees F. Put water, a large pinch of salt and a large pinch of sugar in a large pot and place over high heat on the stove, until you achieve a rolling boil. Once the water is boiling, your bagels should have risen enough - you're looking to have them increase about 50% in size. Now put as many bagels as you can fit in one layer in the boiling water. Leave for one minute, then flip them over and leave for another minute. Place back on the sheet and repeat this step until they are all nice and cooked.

Optional step: at this point, you can top the bagels with whatever you see fit. Grated cheese works well, coarse sea salt is awesome (make sure you push the salt into the bagel lightly, don't squeeze all the air out of it!) and a mix of red onion and cheese is great too. Sesame seeds, poppy seeds, hell, maybe I should try something sweet on there at some point too.

Bake the bagels in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. If you're a thermometer lover, they need to be about 210 degrees F on the inside to be done.

Let rest on a baking rack for at least 10 minutes. They freeze exceptionally well - I generally thaw on "3" in the microwave for 1 minute and the toast them in a normal toaster. If not frozen, they won't last 24 hours - share 'em (with me)!


  1. That post totally made my day!
    Bagels are THE thing I miss most in terms of food from the States. There shalt be some serious bagel-making this weekend.

  2. Great! They're simple to make and taste like the 'real thing' ;)

  3. Oh yeah! I must make my girlfriend make some more of these. She made these about a year ago:


    and they were so good!

    Three cheers for home-made bagels ;)

  4. Andreas,

    I made homemade soft pretzels (ala Alton Brown) which are really similar to the bagel-making process. In case you're curious to try those, as well:


    The only change I made was to add less baking soda to the water. I didn't measure it, but I think I probably only added 3-4 Tb. Let me know how it goes if you try them...

  5. Not a bad idea - and since it's AB, it can't be wrong ;)

    I love pretzels, maybe I should try my hand at this soon. Thanks!