It’s easier than you may think to make your own soft, chewy homemade bagels!
When I’m heading out the door for my weekly grocery trip and call out to my kids “Any requests from the grocery store?” their answer is frequently “BAGELS!”
Both of my boys love bagels. But when I look at the ingredient list of store-bought bagels, I see a lot of things I don’t like. Like preservatives. And synthetic food dyes to give them a golden color.
So when I saw a photo of homemade bagels on my friend Priscilla’s Facebook page, I asked for the recipe. She can’t remember exactly where she got the recipe but said she’d made a few tweaks. I tried it a few times and made a few tweaks of my own. Priscilla said I was welcome to share the recipe here with you. I’ve made these bagels several times, and each time they’ve turned out great. Hope you will give them a try too!
Here’s how to make them:
Add sugar and yeast to 1/2 cup warm water, stir, and let sit for five minutes.
Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and pour the yeast mixture into the center.
Mix by hand and keep adding more of the warm water until the dough comes together. It will look a bit shaggy and will be moist but not wet.
Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, working in flour from the surface (about 6-7 minutes). The dough should be firm and stiff. Brush a bowl with olive oil and turn the dough in the bowl to coat. Cover the bowl with a damp dish towel and allow it to rise in a warm place until it’s doubled, between 1-2 hours (I use trick #3 from this list when I need dough to rise). Punch down the dough and let it rest for 10 minutes.
Divide the dough into eight pieces. Shape each piece into a round. Coat your finger in flour and press your finger into the center of each dough ball to form a ring, stretching the rings to form a bagel shape. (You will see that my bagels are not perfectly round, that’s how I roll.) Cover the bagel shapes with a damp kitchen towel and let them rest for 10 minutes.
Update: I’ve also been working on perfecting the shape and size of these bagels, since these early batches looked, admittedly, a bit irregular. After doing some research, I picked up a couple of useful pointers:
- Use a kitchen scale: I bought this scale and use it to weigh all of the dough balls so they’re roughly the same size. This not only makes the batch look more uniform, it also means they’ll bake more evenly.
- Roll the balls the right way: It’s actually best to roll the dough on an un-floured surface, because the stickiness of the surface helps the balls form a better shape. I used this super helpful tutorial to help me get the shaping just right.
While the bagels are resting, preheat the oven to 425 degrees and bring a large pot of water to boil on the stove. Drop the bagels into the water with a slotted spoon (or gently drop them in by hand). Let the bagels sit in the boiling water for 1-2 minutes, then flip to the other side and let them sit another 1-2 minutes (the longer they stay in the water, the chewier they will be).
When you remove the bagels, place them on a baking sheet coated with oil or lined with a silicone mat such as a Silpat. (After trying it both ways, I’ve found that the Silpat works much better and doesn’t lead to any sticking.) Brush them with an egg wash (1 beaten egg + 1 tablespoon water).
Leave bagels as is or add toppings like poppy seeds, sesame seeds, or shredded cheese.
Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from baking sheet to a cooling rack.
Slice, toast, slather, and enjoy!
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1½ tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1¼ cups warm water (you may need an additional ¼ cup or more)
- 3½ cups bread flour + extra for kneading
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- Favorite toppings (such as poppy seeds, sesame seeds, shredded cheese, coarse salt, etc.)
- Add sugar and yeast to ½ cup warm water, stir, and let sit for five minutes.
- Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in the yeast mixture. Mix, adding warm water a little bit at a time until the dough is moist but firm (and slightly shaggy).
- On a floured surface, knead the dough until it's firm and stiff, about 7 minutes, working in flour from surface.
- Lightly brush a large bowl with oil and turn the dough to coat. Cover the bowl with a damp dish towel and let rise in a warm place until it's doubled in size, 1-2 hours.
- Punch down the dough and let it rest for 10 minutes.
- Divide the dough into eight equal pieces, then shape each into a round.
- Coat a finger in flour and press into the center of each dough ball to form a ring, stretching the ring into a bagel shape. Cover bagel shapes with a damp kitchen towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- Place bagels into boiling water with a slotted spoon (or by gently lowering them into the water).
- Let bagels sit in boiling water for 1-2 minutes, then flip and allow to sit in water for an additional 1-2 minutes (the longer they are in the water, the chewier the texture will be).
- Remove from water and place on baking sheet brushed with oil or lined with a silicone mat. Brush bagels with egg wash (1 beaten egg plus 1 tablespoon water). Add toppings if desired.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until golden. Remove from baking sheet to a cooling rack.
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