Best Bagels in Town




Introduction: Best Bagels in Town

I have many warm memories of eating bagels growing up. Most Sunday mornings greeted me with a poppy seed bagel topped with a creamy schemer and, on special occasions, an amber layer of lox. About a year ago I moved to Texas and was sad to discover a serious lack of good bagels. Well, DIYers, this problem is easy enough to solve. Here is my recipe for great homemade bagels.

Bagels are a unique kind of bread because they are boiled first, then baked. This creates a shiny chewy exterior with a wonderful doughy interior. Making bagels may be intimidating at first, but in fact they only require a few simple ingredients and some patience. This recipe makes a dozen bagels and, if you can make it through the week without eating them all, the rest will keep easily in the freezer.

Step 1: Ingredients and Supplies

First, lets gather our ingredients and supplies.

Day 1: Dough Preparation
    4 c. Bread Flour
    2 c. Wheat Flour
    2.5 c. Water - Lukewarm
    4 tsp. Kosher Salt
    2 tbs. Honey
    2 tsp. Instant Yeast
    2 tbs. Olive Oil
    2 Baking Sheets
    2 Medium Sized Bowls
    1 Mixer
    Parchment Paper

Day 2: Baking
    1 tbs. Honey
    1.5 tsp. Kosher Salt
    1 tbs. Baking Soda
Optional Toppings
    1 tbs. Sesame Seeds
    1 tbs. Poppy Seeds
    1 tbs. Black Salt
    1 Large-Mouthed Pot
    1 Slotted Spatula

Step 2: Day 1: Dough Preparation - Mixing

Mixing: To build the dough combine the lukewarm water, yeast, salt, and honey in a bowl and mix together until all is dissolved. At the same time, combine the bread and wheat flour in your mixer's bowl. Attach the dough hook to your mixer and set on low slowly adding your wet ingredients to the dry as it mixes. Mix for about 5 minutes. Let the dough rest for 3 minutes and mix 3 minutes more to develop the gluten. You want the dough to be slightly tacky, but not so sticky that it stays on your fingers after you touch it. Add extra flour or water until you get the desired consistency.

Step 3: Day 1: Dough Preparation - Rising

Rising: Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and let it rise for about an hour. You should see the dough grow a bit, but not much. While you wait for the dough to rise, prepare the baking sheets by placing a sheet of parchment paper on each one. Lightly oil the surface of the parchment paper to make sure the bagels won't stick.

Step 4: Day 1: Dough Preparation - Shaping

Shaping: After the dough has risen, divide it into 12 equal pieces. To form the bagels, take each piece of dough between your hands and roll it until it is a smooth ball. With your thumb and middle finger, press into the ball until you form a ring. You can place your fingers inside of the ring, gently pulling and turning, until you get a hole about 1.5 inches in diameter. Place the bagels onto the oiled parchment paper. They won't rise much, so you don't need to worry about placing them very far apart. Cover the bagels with plastic wrap and place them in the refrigerator overnight.

Step 5: Day 2: Baking Day - Proofing

Proofing: Take the bagels out of the refrigerator about an hour before you want to cook them. You want to proof the bagels (i.e.: prove the yeast is active enough) before you boil them. Remove one bagel from the baking sheet and place it in a small bowl of water. If it sinks, gently drip-dry the bagel and place it back on the sheet. If it floats, the bagel has proofed and you are ready to boil the bagels. Continue checking with this bagel (you needn't test them all) every 20 minutes to see if the bagels have finished proofing. Once they have proofed, place the bagels in the refrigerator until the boiling mixture (next) is ready.

Step 6: Day 2: Baking Day - Preparations

Preparations: While the bagels are proofing prepare the oven and boiling mixture. Set the oven on 500 F to preheat for baking. Fill a wide-mouthed pot with at least 5 inches of water, cover, and wait for it to boil. Once the water is boiling, reduce to a simmer and add the salt, honey, and baking soda.

Step 7: Day 2: Baking Day - Boiling

Boiling: Once the boiling mixture is ready and simmering it is time to poach the bagels! Place as many bagels as can comfortably fit inside the pot. The bagels should float after a few seconds if they don't immediately. Let the bagels boil on one side for a minute, then flip them over to boil for another minute. Use a slotted spatula to remove the bagels from the water and place back on the lightly oiled parchment paper. If you are using toppings immediately garnish them. I garnished mine with salt, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, or left them plain.

Step 8: Day 2: Baking Day - Baking

Baking: When you are ready for baking, turn the oven down to 450 F and place the bagels in the oven for 9 minutes. After 9 minutes check to see how brown they are, rotate, and bake for an additional 9 minutes. Once the bagels are done place them on a cooling rack for 30 minutes.

Step 9: Going the Extra Step

Cutting: I find that it is easy to get your fingers nicked while cutting bagels. Here is a technique I use to cut a bagel while ensuring my fingers stay safely out of the way.

Place your hand on top of the bagel. Take a serrated knife in the other hand, place it on the side of the bagel, and slowly drag the knife towards and away from you until you get half way through. Once you are half way through the bagel, flip the bagel up on its edge and hold it from the top. Continue cutting down towards the counter until you are through.

Now you can enjoy making this simple bread at home and will never again have to wonder where you can find the best bagels in town.

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    9 years ago on Introduction

    Made these this morning. It was my first attempt at bagels. Turned out great. Thanks for posting the recipe.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    What is Black Salt, is it from the Dead Sea (joke)? I have never heard of it! Where do they sell it?


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Black salt is sea salt that has been blended and colored with activated charcoal. Tastes just like...salt, but it is a fun twist. :)


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Yum, I think I've found my next bread baking project! I have lots of poppy seeds to use up (going to make some poppy seed pasta as well) so this looks like a tasty delivery system.

    I may try and do an 'everything' bagle as well with some garlic, onion, etc. Can't wait to try this!


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    I have never heard of poppy seed pasta, that sounds delish! Everything bagels are a favorite too and just take a second more to prepare. Quick tip - if you are going to use dried onion/garlic you should hydrate the bits for about 40 minutes before you garnish the bagels. This helps keep them from shriveling up in the oven. Good luck and let me know how they turn out!


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Maybe I'll do an Instructable on the pasta...but I want to make it once first! Thanks for the hydration tip. I don't have all the ingredients together yet so I probably won't be making them till next week sometime, but I'll let you know when I do!

    Great instructable!

    I moved from New Jersey to New Hampshire and the lack of bagels was killing me for a bit. Your recipe is very straightforward. I have heard that malt powder really gets that classic flavor, but that honey is a close second. Have you ever tried malt powder? I've been using honey in my own bagels at they come out alright.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks! I haven't tried using malt yet, but I would be interested in seeing the difference. Great flavor isn't lacking with the honey approach and I like that I don't need to go out of my way to get more exotic ingredients. Besides, there is nothing quite as nice as a spoonful of local honey! :) For those curious, you can substitute an equal amount of malt for the honey to get more malty-flavored bagels. Let me know how they turn out if you do!