Introduction: New York Style Bagels

About: Hi, I'm Éva from Hungary. I love baking, cooking, and gardening, not to mention the perfect combination: cooking using fruits and veggies from our garden. I often experiment with new ingredients and try to use…

Hello everyone,

this time I will show you how easy it is to make New York Style bagels at home. I don’t think bagels need a long introduction. They are a great alternative of bread for breakfast, chewy, soft and extraordinarily delicious.

There are various notions as to the origin of bagel but gastro – historians seem to agree that it arrived in New York towards the end of the 19th century from Eastern – Europe together with Jewish immigrants. It is certainly closely related to pretzels, both pastries are essentially made of bread dough, cooked, then baked.

Step 1: You’ll Need

For the dough:

  • 500g strong white bread flour
  • 10g salt
  • 10 g sugar
  • 4g active dry yeast
  • 300 g lukewarm water (approximately, exact amount depends on the flour you’re using)
  • 20 g honey

To Boil

  • 30g brown sugar
  • 30 g baking soda


  • egg wash (1 egg yolk mixed with a tablespoon milk)
  • white and black sesame seed
  • poppy seed
  • coarse salt


  • baking tray
  • stand mixer
  • pot
  • spatula
  • oil spray
  • kitchen scale
  • silicone mat
  • kitchen towel

Step 2: Blooming the Yeast

Put flour into the mixing bowl, make a well in the middle, pour roughly half of the water into the well, add yeast and 10 g sugar, to provide the yeast with some instant food. Sprinkle a little flour on top, cover with a kitchen towel and let it rest for 10 minutes until yeast pops up.

You can go on when cracks on the top of the flour sprinkled over the yeast are visible (pic.3.)

Step 3: Kneading the Dough

Add the honey and the rest of the water (save for 2-3 tablespoons) and start kneading it with a stand mixer equipped with a dough hook. (Of course nothing shall stop you from kneading the dough by hand, but it will certainly be a full arm - workout.)

Knead on low-medium speed for 2 minutes, then add the salt and as much water as needed for the dough to come together. You may actually need a little more than 300 ml altogether, do not hesitate to add a little more if needed. Keep kneading for another 2-3 minutes and until the dough climbs up the dough hook and the interior wall of the bowl is clean.

The reason for not adding the salt together with all the other ingredients is that it is the enemy of yeast and may hinder the dough from rising, therefore we give the yeast a little time on its own to incorporate into the dough.

Step 4: Rising

You"ll get a relatively dense, yet smooth and silky dough.

Turn it out onto a work surface, form it into a ball, then drop it into a lightly oiled large bowl. Make sure that the dough is covered with oil all around so that it will not stick to the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel to stop its surface from drying out. Set it aside in a warm place and wait about 1.5 hours until it at least doubles in size.

Or, you might as well make the dough the previous evening, and let it rise slowly in the fridge till next morning.

Step 5: Shaping 1.

Turn the risen dough out onto a slightly floured work surface, divide it into 8 roughly same sized pieces.

Take a piece of dough and shape it into a small ball by folding the side up and into itself while turning the dough, then place it - seam side down - onto a non-floured surface. Place your palm on top and start to swirl it around in circular movements. Working on a non-floured surface will help to reach that perfect ball shape. (see video)

Repeat with each, cover and rest for ten minutes.

Step 6: Shaping 2.

Poke a floured thumb and index finger on the opposite sides in the middle of the dough ball in order to make the hole. Once you have the hole, place both your index fingers from the opposing sides into the hole and start to spin it around your fingers very carefully in order to open up the hole, stretching the dough a little bit. The hole shall have a 2-3 cm diameter, while the bagel 6-7 cm.

Place them onto parchment coated with a thin layer of cornmeal or lightly sprayed with oil to prevent sticking.

Cover, and let them rest for another 20-30 minutes.

Tip: If you are unsure about whether your bagel has risen enough and is ready to cook, take a bowl of cold water, place one bagel into it, it should float as a result of the air trapped inside.

Step 7: Prepping to Cook and Bake

Meanwhile, prepare the water bath and preheat the oven to 180 Celsius.

Take a wide- bottomed pot, pour in 2.5 liters of water add the baking soda and the brown sugar and bring it to boil. When it started boiling, you need to lower the heat and find the optimum setting on the stove that keeps the water simmering.

Oil a silicone mat with cooking spray.

I know it may sound too much of a precaution, but the first time I tried to bake bagels turned out to be an event on my cooking failure list. Although they looked quite wonderful, all of them got stuck to the parchment paper. This is the reason for the extra precautionary measures.

Step 8: Cooking

Very gently, place your future bagels into the simmering water. Don’t pile them up, make sure that they have sufficient room also for expansion, that is one thing that limits the number of bagels to be cooked at the same time, the other, your ability to keep track of which went in and when. Cook them 1 minute per side, flip them with a spatula in between. I usually time it with my phone. When ready, drain them by patting the spatula against the rim of the pot, then place them for a couple of minutes on a kitchen towel. Transfer them onto a baking tray lined with a slightly oiled silicone mat.

Step 9: Dress and Bake

Apply egg wash, sprinkle with topping of your choice (I used sesame seeds black and white, poppy seeds and coarse salt) and bake in the preheated oven for about 15-18 minutes, depending on your oven, until golden brown.

Step 10: Enjoy!

It is an excellent base for sandwiches, in the pictures:

1. smoked salmon, Philadelphia, capers, parsley,

2. goose liver, quick-pickled red onion

3. Philadelphia, scrambled eggs, tomatoes, greens

Bagels are best served within a couple days but it is also possible to freeze them and keep them in the freezer well stocked. Just in case.

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