No need to run to the bagel shop on Saturday mornings anymore with this easy homemade bagel recipe. Comfort food means something different to each person. For me, it’s fresh bagels. More specifically: everything bagels and cream cheese.
I’ve been making a lot of bread in the year of quarantine. I find it to be a stress reliever to knead out the dough. Plus, getting creative with flavors is always something I enjoy. So, it made perfect sense to me to try my hand at making bagels. With only six ingredients, they are simple to make. It just takes some steps. As a home cook, I like knowing I can adjust a recipe to fit my or my guest’s preferences. Whether it’s the toppings or ingredients in the bagels, it’s all doable with this recipe.
Tips to make homemade bagels
Baking is very different from cooking as we all know. It’s more of a science. Improvising is much safer in cooking than baking as a result. With that in mind, here are some tips and techniques that will help you to have good results with this recipe.
- The amount of water used when making the dough is a bit of a variable as it depends on the temperature of the room you are in and the flour used. Ultimately, you are looking for the dough to not have any floury, flaky pieces. Just go slowly when adding water.
- You can use instant or active dry yeast in equal amounts.
- When it comes to the flour, the best choice is to use bread flour with its high protein content over all purpose flour since it will result in a chewier bagel.
- If you choose to make the dough a day in advance of the boiling/baking process, you will want to cover it with plastic wrap so it doesn’t dry out. Then, place it in the refrigerator until you are ready for the next steps. I’ve made the recipe a number of times now and find this method actually lightened the density of the bagel. Still chewy with a nice crisp exterior. Just a little less “bready” in texture.
- When boiling the water for the bagels, you can choose to add honey. I found it gives a more golden and very slightly sweeter taste to the bagel. It’s subtle though. Try it yourself and see which you prefer. I would recommend using a slotted spoon or spider to add and remove the bagels from the hot water.
- To prevent the bagels from sticking, I would suggest using a silicone baking sheet as well as sturdy pans. The even heat conductivity makes a difference. Then let them cool (unless you can’t wait!) on a wire rack.
- Bagel topping suggestions: Everything Seasoning, poppy seeds, minced onion, cinnamon sugar, and salt.
- There is nothing better than warm bagels or bread fresh out of the oven. If you should have some leftover bagels, let them cool and then put in these reusable plastic bags. They will be fine on the counter for a day or two but then I would recommend freezing them.
There are endless ways to make and use these homemade bagels. Whether you top with butter, cream cheese, peanut butter, salmon, tuna, meat, eggs, avocado or cheese or use as the base for sandwiches, there is no wrong way to enjoy them. One final tip, every time I make these bagels, they turn out a little different in appearance but always taste delicious!
- 2 tsp yeast, active dry or instant
- 4 1/2 tsp white sugar
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 3 1/2 cups flour, bread or all purpose
- 1 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 1/4 cup warm water may not use all
- Everything Seasoning, Sesame Seeds, Poppy Seeds, Minced Onion, Salt, Cinnamon Sugar
- In a bowl, add yeast, sugar and 1/2 cup warm water. Do not mix. Let sit for 5 minutes. Then blend till incorporated.
- Put flour and salt in to a large bowl. Gently mix with fork. Make a well in center.
- Once yeast mixture is combined, add to flour well.
- Add 1/2 cup warm water to well. Mix all together. You may need to add a little more warm water to the dough if it is too dry. Try adding in 1/4 cup increments. You shouldn't need more than a 1 1/4 cup total. The dough should be smooth and firm.
- Flour your surface, and knead the dough for about 10 minutes until you feel the elasticity of the dough. It should be smooth as well. Form in to a ball.
- Note: You can use a KitchenAid Mixer and dough hook. Be careful as bagel dough is very stiff and heavy. You don't want to burn out your motor. Time would be approximately 5 minutes if using this method to knead dough.
- Pour olive oil in to a bowl to just coat the bowl. Place dough ball in bowl making sure the oil coats the whole thing. Cover with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place for two hours.
- After two hours, the dough should have doubled in size. Punch it down and let rest for 10 minutes.
- Note: if you want to make the dough in advance of boiling and baking, you can put in refrigerator overnight. Tightly wrap dough in plastic wrap. When ready to make bagels, let come to room temperature on counter before next steps.
- When dough is ready, take dough ball and place on counter. No need to flour surface. Cut in to 8 even sized pieces. See photos for example of easy method to get same size balls.
- Roll each ball in your hand, smoothing the dough and tucking in to underside.
- Once all eight are created, cover with damp towel for 10 minutes.
- Create a hole in the center with your finger and gently stretch dough to form bagel shape. Cover with damp towel while water comes to a boil.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Bring large pot of water to boil. Add honey to water. Once ready, carefully place a few bagels in pot. Do not crowd. They will sink first and then will rise. Boil for 1-2 minutes per side.
- Once both sides are done, remove bagels from water and place on oiled or silicone pan liner. Top immediately with whatever seasoning you like.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes. Given oven variations, suggest removing at 20 minutes the first time you make recipe.
- Remove from oven and place bagels on cooling rack.