I have been researching recipes for homemade bagels for quite some time now. As a baker, I’m not sure why I have been intimidated to make bagels from scratch, but after making this recipe today, I don’t think I will buy them from a store or chain bakery again. They really aren’t difficult to make. The hardest part is patiently waiting for the dough to proof.
These turned out so well that I may just add it in to the rotation every couple of weeks, make a huge batch, freeze them and have fresh homemade bagels on hand at all times.
One tip I have for getting a good rise with your dough is to let it rise in a partially pre-heated oven. This always does the trick for breads. I just pre-heat the oven for 2 minutes and 2 minutes only. It just gives the oven a slight boost in temperature that is the perfect environment for yeast to cozy up and multiply. Give it a try!
Here is what you need if you’d like to try your hand at making homemade bagels, too:
2 cups warm water
4 1/2 tsp yeast (or 2 pkgs)
3 Tbs sugar, plus 1 Tbs for boiling water
2 tsp salt, plus 1/2 tsp for boiling water
5 cups all purpose flour
*any toppings you would like — I used a mix of poppy seeds, dehydrated onions, cracked black pepper and kosher sea salt. I also made three bagels with chopped sun dried tomatoes, chives, and pine nuts kneaded into the dough. Yum!
In the bowl of a mixer add your yeast, sugar and warm water (warm to the touch, not hot!). Let your yeast bloom for about 5 minutes until it becomes somewhat foamy. With your mixer on low, add your salt and slowly add in four cups of your flour until incorporated.
Then add your last cup of flour, about 1 Tablespoon at a time until the dough just pulls away from the mixer cleanly. From here, turn your dough out onto a floured surface and hand knead in the remaining flour. You are looking for a firmer dough here than a normal bread dough, which is why you cannot use the mixer the entire time. If your dough is still sticky after incorporatimng 5 Cups of flour, add more until it is a firm dough. Don’t overadd flour — you should still be able to knead it smoothly. When all your flour is incorporated, hand knead your dough for about 5-7 minutes.
Put your dough back in your mixer bowl and coat lightly with olive oil, turning the dough around in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and a tea towel and allow to rise in a warm place for one hour.
When your hour is up, punch down your dough and divide into 12-15 equal pieces, depending on how large you want your bagels. If you want to add any ingredients to your dough, you can add them at this point. As I said above, I added chopped sun dried tomatoes, chives, and pine nuts to three of my bagels. I just kneaded the ingredients in until they were somewhat incorporated.
Once you have your pieces cut, roll them by hand into logs about 6 inches in length. Connect the ends and with one finger in the middle of your bagels, roll the connected ends until smooth. I left mine pretty rustic because I like that look.
Line your bagels up on a greased baking tray, leaving about 1 inch between them, and cover with a tea towel. Allow them to rise for 30 minutes in a draft free location.
At this point, preheat your oven to 400 degrees and get a large pot of water on to boil. Add your 1/2 tsp of salt and 1 Tbs of sugar to the water.
Once your bagels have finished their second rise and your water is boiling, carefully add them to the water, a couple at a time, and boil for 30 seconds to 1 minute on each side. Remove with a slotted spoon and dip into toppings if adding them. Set them on your greased baking tray until all bagels are ready.
Bake for 30 minutes until they have a deep golden color. Allow to cool completely on a rack and store in an airtight container or plastic bag. These bagels can be frozen and removed individually for quick breakfasts or lunches.