Homemade Bagels

homemade bagels

Days to Make: 2

Active Prep Time: 40 minutes

Rise Time: about 18 hours

Bake Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 12 bagels

Recipe inspired by:
The Bread Baker’s Apprentice

Anyone who has ever traveled to New York City or Chicago definitely has a first “real” bagel story. Our first experience was on a community service trip during spring break. This recipe makes a very close copy of those east coast bagels…yet they aren’t the same. Maybe its the New York water but this recipe is definitely worth giving a try.

Don’t be alarmed by the two days required to prepare this recipe. They are pretty easy to make and don’t require a lot of active preparation time. The bagels are best made with malt powder but turn out phenomenally well when using honey or brown sugar for the sweetener as well.


1 teaspoon (.11 ounces) Instant yeast
4 cups (18 ounces) Unbleached high-gluten or bread flour
2-1/2 cups (20 ounces) Water, room temperature

Dough Mixture
1/2 teaspoon (.055 ounce) Instant yeast
3-3/4 cups (17 ounces) Unbleached high-gluten or bread flour
2-3/4 cups (.7 ounce) salt
2 teaspoons (.33 ounce) malt powder
or 1 tablespoon (.5 ounce) dark or light malt syrup, honey or brown sugar


whisking yeast and flour

1. Preparing the sponge (starter). Stir together yeast and flour in a large mixing bowl.


adding water to flour.

2. Add the water, whisking only until the mixture forms a smooth, sticky batter (similar to pancake batter). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise on the counter until the mixture becomes very foamy and bubbly, about 2 hours.


stir yeast into bagel dough.

3. Making the dough. Add the 1/2-teaspoon yeast to the same bowl as the sponge. Mix until combined.


Add flour to sponge.

4. Add 3 cups of the flour, salt and malt/brown sugar. Stir until the ingredients form a rough dough, slowly working in the remaining 3/4 cup flour to make a stiff dough.


kneaded bagel dough making a window pane.

5. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured counter and knead for about 10 minutes. The dough will be firm and stiff but still pliable. The dough should be able to be stretched into a windowpane when finished kneading.


shaping bagel dough into balls

6. Divide the dough into 12 4-1/2 ounce pieces. A 4-1/2 ounce piece of dough is about the size of a baseball. Shape each piece of dough into a ball by rolling it between the counter and palm of your hand. Cover the balls with a damp towel and allow them to rest for 20 minutes.


shaping bagels.

7. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper and spray them with nonstick cooking spray. To shape the bagels, pinch your thumb and forefinger through the middle of each ball of dough. Then, gently stretch the dough ring until the hole is about 2-inches wide. Place each shaped bagel 2-inches apart on the prepared sheet pans. Let the pans sit for 20 minutes.


bagel float test

8. Perform the “float” test to see if the bagels are ready to go into the refrigerator for the final overnight rise. They’re ready when they float within 10 seconds after being dropped into the water. Take one bagel and place it in a bowl of water. If it floats, great! If not, place the bagel back on the pan and continue checking every 10-20 minutes. Once the bagel floats, cover the tray with plastic and place it in the refrigerator overnight.


boiling the bagels

9. Boiling the bagels. The following day (or whenever you are ready), preheat the oven to 500° F. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil; the wider the pot the better. Add 1 tablespoon baking soda. Remove bagels from the refrigerator and gently drop them into the water. Be sure to only boil as many as can comfortably fit. Boil bagels for 1 minute on each side then return to the pan with at least 2-inches space between them.


finished bagels

10. Baking the bagels. when all bagels are boiled, place the pans of boiled bagels in the oven. Bake for approximately 5 minutes, then rotate pans; switching shelves and giving the pans a180-degree rotation. After the rotation, lower oven to 450° F and continue baking for another 5 minutes, or until the bagels are golden brown.

Remove pans from the oven and let the bagels cool on a rack for 15 minutes before serving.

Baker’s Tips:

  • It is perfectly ok to substitute brown sugar or honey for the malt powder. Malt powder does add a distinctive flavor and can be purchased at your local home brew supply store on online. However, we’ve made these bagels several times with brown sugar and they turn out just fine.
  • If you like chewier bagels, boil for 2 minutes on both sides instead of the 1 minute listed above. This will result in a chewier crumb.

Got a tip to share? Let us know.

3 thoughts on “Homemade Bagels

  1. You might want to check your salt units – the ounces make sense but I suspect you mean tsps not cups. :)

    I’m going to give these a shot – I’ll let you know how it goes!

  2. Pingback: DIY Cream Cheese [DIY]

  3. Pingback: Torrent News » DIY Cream Cheese [DIY]

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