minutes per mile blog

homemade bagels!

Yesterday I got in the car, drove 10 minutes, and walked in 20-degree weather in order to buy a bagel at 6 am:


And it was just so-so. Disappointed with its salty, stale flavor (not to mention its rubbery yellow cheese!), my love for bagels hit a new low point.

And then I had an idea! Why not make my OWN bagels? They’d be fresher, cheaper, and probably healthier too. I got out my bread machine right then (so yeah, about 6:30 am at this point) and looked up a plan on AllRecipes. The how-to video made it seem easy enough.


In 90 minutes my dough was ready! (I could have made it by hand, but the bread machine’s “pizza dough” setting is perfect for occasions like this.)


I separated the dough into six pieces. Next time I’ll probably break it into eight — as you’ll see, my bagels were enormous! Not that there’s anything wrong with an oversized bagel…


I rolled the dough into very imperfect (because I’m impatient) logs and twisted the ends together to secure them into cute little bagel “O”s.


Then I popped them on a parchment-lined pan and into a warm oven (maybe 90 degrees). Damp tea towel on top and a bowl of water beneath them.


I let the bagels stay nice and cozy in there for about 15 minutes. The humidity gave the yeast  extra energy so that the dough got nice and spring-y. Look at that lift!



Then it was time for the big boil! This is where bagel making differs from normal bread making. I was nervous to dunk my dough into the water, but my bagels were excellent swimmers.

According to the recipe, adding honey (or even better, barley malt syrup) to the boiling water gives the bagels a chewier texture. I would have never thought to do that. (And yes, I’ve already ordered barley malt syrup on Amazon for my next batch.)


The bagels bobbed around for about three minutes.


Then I took them out and topped them with a sprinkle of salt and lots of sesame seeds! I had both black and white sesame seeds on hand so I went all out.


Last step — bake the bagels at 400 for about 15 minutes. Ta-da!


Homemade bagels. Along with chicken stock, bread, salad dressing, and yogurt, bagels are now officially on my “WAY BETTER AND CHEAPER TO MAKE AT HOME” list. I subbed half whole wheat flour in mine, too, so let’s say that they are healthier as well :)


Now I just need to start making my own butter to use as toppings!


And that’s the end of my bagel story. I think I might change up a few things next time (smaller dough balls, tighter closures, malt barley syrup, and a brush of egg whites), but overall I was really impressed with how these turned out for my first attempt. Fellow bakers, what are your bagel-making tips?

3 thoughts on “homemade bagels!

    • wow, this is fascinating stuff. thanks so much for sharing. initial thoughts — not surprised the cook’s illustrated seems to have perfected the recipe. though i also love serious eats. also not surprised king arthur won the flour test. i used 1/2 KA bread flour, 1/2 KA whole wheat flour. might add a scoop of vital wheat gluten next time. per the article (and other tips i’ve read on the interwebs), i’m going to try putting the malt syrup into the dough next time. also going to refrigerate overnight perhaps. and the pizza stone/very hot oven — interesting! i put mine in at 400 for only 8 minutes or so but thought they would burn if i went any hotter or longer. maybe i need to play around with the bake time/temp as well. what tips have you found most helpful?