Adventures in the Kitchen: Homemade Bagels

When I saw this article on homemade bagels from the Washington Post, I knew I had to try them! I’ve made a ton of cookies, brownies, and quick breads before, but I tend to shy away from yeast-based breads because the yeast never wants to cooperate with me! I love bagels (it’s my favorite late-night snack at school), so I decided to give these a try. The results? AMAZING. Click through to find out how I did it and my tips for making bagels in your own kitchen!

Adventures in the Kitchen Making Homemade Bagels

Bagel Time

Washington Post Homemade Bagels

At school, I usually go for a toasted everything or sesame bagel with some light cream cheese! That’s what I decided to make at home as well.

Washington Post Homemade Bagels

Making bagels at home is super fun because instead of just sprinkling the toppings on top like they do at bakeries, you can literally cover the entire bagel in topping deliciousness!

Washington Post Homemade Bagels

*Cue drooling*

Washington Post Homemade Bagels

Washington Post Homemade Bagels

As you can see, it’s really hard to get the bagels perfectly even around the circle. I’m sure with a little practice, I’ll have them looking Panera ready in no time.

Washington Post Homemade Bagels

Note to self: Stop writing baking posts when you’re hungry! It’s pouring rain here and I could really use a warm bagel right about now. Too bad I ate them all last week…

Washington Post Homemade Bagels

Okay okay, enough with the drool-worthy pictures. Let’s get to baking these beauties! I’ve copied the recipe from the Washington Post here, and put my comments, suggestions, and hints in bold. Don’t feel like reading the recipe right now? (I don’t blame you!) Scroll down to the bottom and leave me a comment!

** Fair warning: There are a lot of instructions and a lot of waiting involved in making these. However, I promise they’re worth it! These are perfect for a rainy Saturday when you don’t want to go outside! You can make them in the afternoon, refrigerate the dough overnight, and Sunday morning you’ll have warm, delicious bagels to enjoy 🙂

The Recipe

Tools you’ll need before you start: A kitchen thermometer, a StandMixer with dough hook attachment, some kind of food-safe sanitizer for your kitchen counters because you’ll need to roll out the dough on them, a slotted spoon, a tape measure / ruler (or just a good sense of how long 11 inches is), Seran Wrap, parchment paper, a dish or plate with a rim (for dipping bagels in the toppings), a kitchen scale

Ingredients

For the bagels

-1  1/2 teaspoons instant or rapid-rise active dry yeast, preferably SAF brand. (I use Fleischmann’s Rapid Rise Instant Yeast – it comes in three yellow packets. You’ll end up using less than one packet for this recipe)

-337 grams (scant 12 ounces; scant 1  1/2 cups) warm water (80 degrees) (Your tap water probably gets hotter than 80 degrees, 

-623 grams (22 ounces; approximately 4 cups) bread flour (may substitute high-gluten flour; see headnote) (I use King Arthur Bread Flour, which you can usually find in the baking section at your grocery store)

-2 teaspoons salt

-1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon barley malt syrup (This stuff is really hard to find, so definitely do some research before you head out to the grocery store. My local Whole Foods didn’t have it, and I ended up finding it at an organic grocery store. It comes in a jar and is usually placed near the molasses. The good thing is that you only need a little bit of it, so you’ll probably only have to buy one jar for the rest of your life!)

-3 tablespoons cornmeal, for dusting

For the optional toppings (I used these ingredients for making everything / sesame bagels! I also think coating your bagels in cinnamon sugar would be really tasty)

Sesame seeds

Poppy seeds

Caraway seed

Dehydrated onion flakes

Dehydrated garlic flakes

Sea or kosher salt

Steps

Mix the yeast into the warm water in a small bowl or measuring cup and let it start to foam while you prepare the rest of the dough. (If the mixture fails to foam after several minutes, dump it out and start over with new yeast.) (THIS MIXTURE WILL NOT FOAM. Just mix the yeast + water and let it sit while you do the next steps. You should be fine as long as your yeast isn’t expired and your water is the right temperature.)

Combine the flour, salt and barley malt syrup in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough-hook attachment. Add the yeast mixture and beat on the lowest speed until the dough starts to come together around the dough hook, about 4 minutes. Increase the speed to medium-low; beat for 7 to 10 minutes or until the dough is cohesive, smooth and stiff. (My dough probably took about half this time, just keep an eye on it.) Also keep an eye on your stand mixer, because it’ll probably get a little warm trying to mix the stiff dough.)

Dust a rimmed baking sheet with the cornmeal. Turn the dough out onto a work surface, then divide it into 8 or 9 equal portions (about 4 ounces each). Roll the pieces into smooth balls and cover with plastic wrap to rest at room temperature for 5 minutes. (I got 8 4oz dough balls + 1 3oz dough ball.)

Form each dough ball into a rope 11 inches long by rolling it under your palms. Try to avoid tapering the ends of the rope. (I have not yet mastered the rolling technique, so my ends ended up a little bit tapered. This step is also permission to skip arm day, because it takes A LOT of rolling to roll these babies out.)

Shape each rope into a circle with a diameter of about 4 inches, overlapping the ends by about 11/2 inches. Pinch the overlapped areas firmly together, moistening them lightly with water if the ends won’t stick. Working with one at a time, place your fingers through each ring of dough; with the pinched-together seam facing down, roll the rope several times, applying firm pressure to seal the seam to form a bagel. Each ring should be about the same thickness all around; if it’s not, you can roll it in other places around the ring to even it out. (Basically form the dough into a circle, put your hand through the ring, and roll the seam to seal it. If the ring is uneven, do the same around the entire ring to even it out a little.)

Place the dough rings on the cornmeal-covered baking sheet as you work, spaced an inch or two apart. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. The rings will have puffed and spread slightly.

When you’re ready to boil and bake the bagels, place a pizza stone or baking stone, if using, on the middle oven rack. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. (The longer you can preheat, the better; up to an hour is great.)

Fill a large, wide pot with 3 inches of water; bring it to a boil over high heat.

Drop 3 or 4 dough rings into the boiling water, stirring and briefly submerging them with a metal skimmer or slotted spoon, until very slightly puffed, 30 to 35 seconds. Transfer the dough rings to a wire rack, bottom (flatter) sides down, to drain. Repeat with the remaining rings.

If you are using any of the optional toppings, dip the bagels in them while the dough is still wet (see VARIATIONS, below).

If you’re baking with the stone, transfer the rings, cornmeal side down, to a sheet of parchment paper on top of a pizza peel or overturned baking sheet. You’ll then just slide the parchment with the bagels directly onto the stone. (Depending on the size of the stone or your comfort in sliding off 8 or 9 bagels at a time, you might choose to bake in two batches, which will also help space the bagels out, for better browning on the crust.) If you’re not using a stone, transfer the bagels to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake (middle rack) for 12 to 18 minutes or until the bagels are a deep golden brown and crisp, rotating the parchment paper or baking sheet halfway through; the baking time will depend on whether you’re using a stone and perhaps the heat distribution of your oven. (Make sure to watch your bagels, especially if they’re not an even diameter all the way around the ring. You don’t want your bagels to get too crispy!)

Use tongs to transfer the bagels to a wire rack to cool. If you’ve split the bagels into two batches, slide the second one in and bake.

Wait for a few minutes before splitting open the hot bagels. (If you can :))

VARIATIONS: For topped bagels, dunk the boiled and drained dough rings (both sides) into 1/2 cup of your favorite toppings (sesame, poppy or caraway seed; dehydrated onion or garlic flakes; sea or kosher salt, etc.). For an “everything” bagel, combine 2 tablespoons each sesame and poppy seeds and 1 tablespoon each caraway seed, sea or kosher salt, dehydrated onion flakes and dehydrated garlic flakes. A glass pie dish is perfect for this task.

A little bit of time and patience is all you need to make the chewy, toasty brown bagels you know and love. Have you made your own? Let me know in the comments! Questions or concerns? Share them down below or email me at hello@theswirl.com. I’ll try to answer as soon as possible!

Signature_Hannah

  • OMG you can make your own bagels?! How did I not know this?! I’m definitely going to try these out!

    • They’re life changing! Seriously better than anything you can find at the store! 🙂

  • I never thought to make my own bagels! This is SO genius!

    Rachel | The Confused Millennial

  • mckenna bleu

    Definitely drooling! lol. These look so great!

  • Okay, YUM! I love bagels so this is a must haha.

    Alix | http://www.apintsizedlife.com

  • Anna Hubbard

    Ooh, I’ll have to try these sometime! I love bagels!
    -Anna | http://www.fivefootandfabulous.com

  • Greta Hollar

    These look delicious! I’m going to have to make these sometime!

    Greta | http://www.gretahollar.com

  • Sydney Power

    I am obsessed with bagels that are my favourite!! I am saving this post to try this weekend!

  • Omg these look delicious! You did an amazing job on them and the recipe seems simple enough!

  • Adriana

    I’ve never made my own bagels! Now I’m starving haha they look delicious!

  • I have never made my own bagels but now I so want to! Hoping I get a stand mixer so I can finally bake some goodies 🙂

  • Oh my god home made bagels!!! I just died a little. I need to try making these.

  • Kaitlyn Fickle Killebrew

    I would love to make some homemade bagels! These look delicious!

  • I’ve actually never tried homemade bagels but these look amazing!

  • Ruya Kirac

    This post made me hungry haha! I definitely want to try this sometime!

    -Ruya
    sweetshortandstylish.com