homemade bagels

My family jokes about how I’m always late. It’s true that when I was younger, I wasn’t overly concerned with being prompt, but I’d like to think that as I’ve matured, I have come closer to being on time in most situations. However, in the instance of these bagels I am admittedly, egregiously late. They were all the rage three or four years ago, lighting up the world wide web with their wonderment. It is no small accomplishment to find a bagel recipe for the home cook that could rival those of New York fame. Recently,¬†this recipe experienced a bit of a revival and I must say I am here to perpetuate the hype. I’ve downed the purple kool-aid and I’m buying a round for all of us.

I first saw this recipe on one of my favorite blogs,¬†Lottie and Doof. Tim gives some very helpful tips for the whole process. His advice to press harder than you think when you’re shaping the bagels is right on. Give it a look through before starting the process, it helps to remove some of the mystery.

For those of you who have been afraid to make bagels, or bread or any other yeasted thing, please try these. I too have been scared to make bagels because it just seems like something that you just can’t make at home. I’m here to liberate you. You can make bagels, and they’ll be awesome.

recipe by Peter Reinhart ( recipe from here)
makes 6-8 bagels


  • 3 1/2 cups (1 pound) unbleached bread flour
  • 3 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 tablespoon barley malt syrup (or honey, which is what I used)
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Toppings as desired (we did poppyseed, everything, plain and cinnamon sugar)


  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer or food processor or by hand, mix the flour, 2 teaspoons salt, the yeast, barley malt syrup and 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons water until the ingredients form a stiff, coarse ball of dough (about 3 minutes if mixing by hand or in a mixer; or 1 minute in a food processor). If necessary, add a little more water. Let the dough rest 5 minutes.
  2. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until the dough feels stiff yet supple, with a satiny, slightly tacky feel, 2 to 3 minutes. If the dough seems too soft or too tacky, sprinkle over just enough flour as needed.
  3. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and place it in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to several hours. Keep in mind that the bagels must be shaped before proofing overnight.
  4. When ready to shape the bagels, line a baking sheet with lightly greased parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  5. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide it into 6 to 8 equal pieces. Form each piece into a loose, round ball by rolling it on a clean, dry work surface with a cupped hand; do not use any flour on the surface. If the dough slides around and won’t ball up, wipe the work surface with a damp paper towel and try again — the slight amount of moisture will provide enough “bite” for the dough to form a ball. When each piece has been formed into a ball, you are ready to shape the bagels.
  6. Using your hands and a fair amount of pressure, roll each dough ball into a “rope” 8 to 10 inches long. (Moisten the work surface with a damp paper towel, if necessary, to get the necessary bite or friction). Slightly taper the rope at the ends so that they are thinner than the middle. Place one end of the dough between your thumb and forefinger and wrap it around your hand until the ends overlap in your palm; they should overlap by about 2 inches. Squeeze the overlapping ends together and then press the joined ends into the work surface, rolling them back and forth a few times until they are completely sealed.
  7. Remove the dough from your hand and squeeze as necessary to even out the thickness so that there is a 2-inch hole in the center. Place the bagel on the prepared sheet pan. Repeat with the other pieces. Lightly wipe the bagels with oil, cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight.
  8. Remove the bagels from the refrigerator 90 minutes before you plan to bake them. Fill a large stockpot with 3 quarts of water (be sure the water is at least 4 inches deep), cover with a lid, and slowly bring the water to a boil. When it comes to a boil, add the remaining teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of baking soda, reduce the heat and simmer with the lid on.
  9. Thirty minutes before baking, heat the oven to 500 degrees.
  10. Test the bagels by placing one in a bowl of cold water. If it sinks and doesn’t float to the surface, return it to the sheet, wait 15 minutes and then test it again. When one bagel passes the float test, they are ready for the pot.
  11. Gently lift each bagel and drop it into the simmering water. Add as many as will comfortably fit in the pot. After 1 minute, use a slotted spoon to flip each bagel over. Poach for an extra 30 seconds. Using the slotted spoon, remove each bagel and return it to the lined baking sheet. Continue until all the bagels have been poached. Generously sprinkle each bagel with a topping, except for cinnamon sugar (see note below).
  12. Place the bakingsheet in the oven and reduce the heat to 450 degrees. Bake for 8 minutes and then rotate the sheet (if using two sheets, also switch their positions). Check the underside of the bagels. If they are getting too dark, place another sheet under the baking sheet (i.e., double-pan it). Bake until the bagels are golden brown, an additional 8 to 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer the bagels to a rack for at least 30 minutes before serving.Note: If using cinnamon sugar (1 part cinnamon to 5 parts granulated sugar), immediately brush the top of each hot bagel with melted butter and then generously sprinkle with the mixture so that it is coated. It will form a nice cinnamon crust as it cools.
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May 31, 2011. baking, bread, breakfast.


  1. Elisabeth replied:


  2. tod replied:

    oh myyyyyyyyy! those just look good. not gonna lie. i want some.

  3. Barbara replied:

    When are you making them….for work???

  4. earpick replied:

    I made a similar recipe taken from Reinhart’s book and the bagels turned out delicious but didn’t rise as much as I hoped. The order of operations was a little different though: mixing, kneading, shaping, leaving overnight, boiling and then baking. I did not let the bagels sit for 90 minutes after taking them out of the fridge, and I think the dough might’ve turned out a little bit too stiff with possibly not enough gluten development. Do you think the waiting time after the fridge is important?

    • Rachel Logan replied:

      You know, the 90 minutes is just about how long it takes to do everything you need to from the time you take it out of the fridge and get them in the oven. I probably let them sit out about 20-30 minutes before I did the float test and that seemed to be enough time. Any more than that and they might over-proof. They don’t really puff up or rise like other yeast breads do. They are kind of tough and almost the same size after proofing overnight than they are when you first roll them. How did they look after you baked them? Was the texture right? More importantly, did they taste good?

  5. Homemade Bagels to Jumpstart Your Mornings | Yummly replied:

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