A Simple and Life Changing Bagel Recipe

Based on Jeffrey Hamelman’s recipe in Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes

453 grams (16 ounces) bread flour
263 grams (9 ounces) water
9 grams (.3 ounces) salt
2 grams (.07 ounces or approximately 3/4 teaspoon) active dry yeast

Malt syrup or molasses for boiling

Optional: sesame, poppy, flake salt or other seeds for topping.

Yield: 6 bagels

1. Throw all the ingredients except the malt syrup or molasses into a stand mixer and mix on the first speed for three minutes. Turn up to second speed and mix for an additional 6 minutes. If you don’t have a mixer you can knead. Dough will be very stiff.

2. Bulk fermentation: 1 1/2 hour in a covered bowl at room temperature.

3. Divide the dough into 113 gram pieces and shape into bagels. Here’s how you do that:

4. Place shaped bagels into a covered container and put in the refrigerator overnight.

5. The next day, take the bagels out of the fridge and check to see if they are ready to boil and bake. Put one in a bowl of water. If it floats you’re ready to boil your bagels. If it doesn’t float leave the bagels out at room temperature until they pass the float test.

6. Preheat your oven to 500ºF (260ºC). Put a big pot of water on the stove to boil. Add enough malt syrup or molasses to make a dark tea colored water (around a 1/4 cup). Once the water is boiling place two or three bagels in the pot and boil for 45 seconds. Flip halfway through boiling. If you’re adding seeds let the boiled bagels cool on a rack for a few minutes and dredge them through a plate with your sesame, poppy or other seeds.

6. Placed the boiled bagels on a baking sheet and bake for around 15 minutes at 500ºF (260ºC). Shoot for a light golden brown.

If you have a large mixer you can double this recipe to make a dozen bagels.

Deep Bagel Thoughts
Why did it take me so long to getting around to making bagels? It turns out bagel baking is much easier than the sourdough loaves I sometimes attempt. These homemade bagels are soooooooo much better than store bought or even bagels from specialized bagel bakeries. Why? First off, the boiling step gives you that perfect chewy bagel not found in supermarket bagels. But as Hamelman notes, hand shaping also gives you a better texture than commercially made (extruded) bagels. It may sound like hyperbole but I mean it when I say that this recipe has the best ROI of any baking project I’ve ever attempted.

Trust me, these homemade bagels will open your third eye.

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  1. I had my first bagel when I went to Brooklyn to visit my daughter. There was a bagel shop on the corner, and I went down every day to get a fresh bagel. I loved them. Oh, in Brooklyn there was a bagel shop on every corner where she lived.

  2. These sound easy enough for even our bread-baking-challenged family to try. Can’t wait to make these for our Sunday brunch this week!

    • I just added ounces. I work in grams because it’s easier to double and halve recipes but I now appreciate that not everyone has a scale that displays grams–thanks for the comment.

  3. Why are croissants made in NYC so much better than ones you find in LA??? do they have secret recipes only found there?

    I’ve never been to France, so i wonder if croissants there as also better than the ones in NYC. hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm….

    • Croissants in LA are terrible since most places don’t make their own dough. They just get it in bulk from commercial sources. Croissant dough is a lot of work and you need a special machine called a sheeter. They do make nice croissants at Tartine.

  4. I’ve wanted to make bagels but was scared off from all the folks who said they were difficult. These turned out fabulous and so yummy. Wish I could include a photo but I don’t see that that is possible.

  5. I made the bagels this weekend with my two boys, 4 and 7. They loved rolling the snakes and decorating with seeds after the boil. My whole family enjoyed these, we followed the steps as outlined. Thank you for the quick and easy guide on making bagels at home.

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