did you know you can make your own bagels?! bagels! real, new-york-style bagels! and oh man, they are so good. it turns out the process is pretty easy, but you have to plan ahead – there is a lot of proofing/rising that has to happen. but don’t worry, because then you’ll be rewarded with the most bagel-y bagels you’ve ever seen. they are slightly crisp on the outside, and dense and chewy on the inside, and the flavor is just right. and one of the coolest things about making them yourself is that you can top them with whatever you want!
i got this recipe from lindsay, who got it from peter reinhart’s artisan breads every day. there are a lot of bagel recipes out there that describe slightly different methods, but this one worked perfectly for me.
bagels. like the kind you buy from the store, except made at home.
- 1 tablespoon barley malt syrup or honey
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1 cup lukewarm water
- 3½ cups bread flour
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 to 3 quarts water
- 2 tablespoons barley malt syrup or honey
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- seeds and/or nuts for topping
- stir together the malt syrup, yeast, and water in a small bowl and let it sit for about five minutes, until the yeast is foamy.
- place the flour and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. with the mixer on low, slowly add the yeast mixture and mix until the dough comes together, about 3 minutes. if the dough is too dry, add another 1 or 2 tablespoons of water. let the dough rest for five minutes, then turn the mixer back on low speed and let it knead the dough for about 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and just barely tacky. add a little more flour if the dough is too sticky.
- cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise at room temperature for about 1 hour, until it has doubled in size.
- line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray it lightly with cooking spray.
- once the dough has doubled, divide it into 8 equal pieces and form each into a ball. poke a hole through the center of each ball and gently stretch it to create a donut shape with a hole about 2 inches in diameter. arrange the bagels on the prepared baking sheet, mist them with cooking spray, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. refrigerate the tray overnight or for up to two days.
- preheat the oven to 500°f.
- remove the bagels from the fridge and test if they are ready for baking by placing one bagel into a bowl of cold water - if it floats, it's ready. if not, return the bagels to the fridge for another 20 minutes and then try again.
- once the bagels are ready, fill a large pot with 2 to 3 quarts of water - the water should be at least 4 inches deep. bring the water to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. stir in the malt syrup, baking soda, and salt until dissolved.
- gently place each bagel into the liquid (just do 2 or 3 at a time - you don't want to crowd the pot). let them poach for 1 minute, then flip them and let them poach 1 minute more. put the bagels back on the baking sheet, rounded side up. sprinkle the wet bagels with whatever toppings you want - here, i went with poppy seeds and za'atar (a middle eastern spice blend).
- lower the oven temperature to 450°f and put in the bagels. bake for about 15 minutes, rotating the pan halfway, until the bagels are golden. depending on your oven, you might want to double the baking sheet (place it on top of an empty one) to prevent the bottoms from browning too quickly.
- transfer the bagels to a wire rack and let them cool slightly before serving.