Homemade Bagels

BAGELS!!!! I’m kind of excited, can you tell?

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I’m not sure everyone feels quite as strongly about bagels as I do, so if you don’t – bear with me. If you do, you are in for a TREAT!

I’m not even kidding guys – these are a-maz-ing!

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Chewy but soft, strong enough to hold a bunch of toppings and versatile enough to sit right on the sweet/savoury fence. I’ve been to New York City and had a deli bagel and lemme tell ya – these bad boys are the real deal. We had them for Mother’s Day lunch, then we had them for dinner and I promise you, if we had any left we would have had them for breakfast the next morning.

I used to be in love with the bagels you could buy from the supermarket, but that relationship is officially over. No more will I pay $5 for 4 hard bagels that are only good if you toast them and eat them immediately.

Bagels are something I have wanted to make for a long time but have always been a little intimidated by them. Not only is there the yeast factor, there is then the whole boil & bake scenario to get your head around. Luckily I have a go-to when it comes to homemade bread of any description – Steph from Girl Versus Dough is a bread baking legend and these bagels were no different. I made them once and was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was. I made them twice and didn’t even really think about it. The third time I made them I practically did it with my eyes closed. True story.

Easy, I’m telling ya!

First up, add the yeast, sugar and warm water to a bowl or jug.

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Leave it for 5 minutes until it is frothy.

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And then mix it up with a fork until the yeast dissolves.

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In another bowl add 3 1/2 cups of high grade flour and a little salt. I have made these with both high grade and all purpose flour and both worked fine however I did prefer the high grade flour. It made a much nicer dough to work with and rose a lot better. If using all purpose flour you will need 4-4 1/2 cups of flour – not sure why but the dough seemed to be a lot stickier.

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Make a well in the centre and pour in the yeast mixture and another 3/4 cup of warm water.

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Mix together until the dough starts to come together,

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And then turn out onto a lightly floured surface.

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Knead for 8-10 minutes until the dough is smooth & elastic but still firm – like this!

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Put in a lightly greased bowl, cover with gladwrap or a tea towel and leave to rise for an hour, or until doubled in size.

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Once it has risen, punch it down and let the dough sit for 10 minutes.

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Turn out onto the bench and cut into 8 equal sized pieces, roll them into balls and stretch a hole in the middle. You want to make the hole quite big as it will shrink when you boil & bake the bagels.

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Place the shaped bagels on a greased or lined oven tray, cover and leave to rest for 10 minutes. While you are waiting pre-heat the oven to 220 degrees C and bring a large pot of water to the boil.

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Once the water has boiled, reduce it to a gentle simmer and using a slotted spoon place a few bagels at a time into the water. Leave for 2 minutes, flip them over and boil for another 2 minutes.

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Remove from the water and put back on the oven tray. At this point you can add extras to the bagel tops. I like to keep it simple leaving most plain but adding sesame seeds to a few. You could also use poppy seeds, sunflower or pumpkin seeds or even a little parmesan cheese.

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Bake for 15-20 minutes until they look like this and your house smells like a giant loaf of bread that you want to dive into and eat your way out of.

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ohmygosh. Yum.

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Slather on some cream cheese and smoked salmon and you have got a winner. Follow it up with another one smothered in cream cheese & jam for dessert.

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And she never bought bagels from the supermarket again. The end.

Homemade Bagels

  • Servings: 8 bagels
  • Print

Recipe from Girl Versus Dough, New York Deli-Style Bagels.

INGREDIENTSHomemade Bagels (15)

2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1 1/2 TBSP sugar
1 1/4 cups warm water (about 45 degrees C)
3 1/2 cups high grade flour*
1 1/2 tsp salt


In a small bowl, add yeast, sugar and 1/2 cup of the warm water. Don’t stir it, and let the mixture sit for 5 minutes until yeast is foamy, then stir with a fork until yeast dissolves.

In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together flour and salt. Make a well in the centre and add the yeast mixture. Add the remaining warm water into the bowl and stir to combine. Mix until the dough comes together in a ball.

Knead dough by hand on a lightly floured bench, adding more flour as needed until a firm but smooth and elastic dough forms, about 10 minutes. You could also knead it in a stand mixer but I found that the dough was quite stiff and the mixer had a bit of a hard time.

Shape the dough into ball and place in a lightly greased bowl. Cover with gladwrap or a tea towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Once the dough is doubled in size, punch down and let it rest for 10 minutes. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a smooth ball and then using your finger, poke a hole in the center of each ball and stretch it until the hole is as big as half the diameter of the bagel. It will look like a big hole but it will shrink when boiling and baking. Place bagels on a lightly greased or lined baking tray. Cover with a damp towel or lightly greased plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes.

While waiting, preheat the oven to 220 degrees C and bring a large pot of water to a boil, then reduce heat to just below a simmer. Using a slotted spoon, lower a few bagels at a time into the water. Allow bagels to float to the top. Leave bagels in the water for 2 minutes, then flip over and leave in the water another 2 minutes (the longer they stay in the water, the chewier they become). Remove bagels with slotted spoon and return to prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining bagels.

Bake until golden brown, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely on a cooling rack before slicing.

I have made these with both high grade and all purpose flour and both worked fine however I did prefer the high grade flour. It made a much nicer dough to work with and rose a lot better. If using all purpose flour you will need 4-4 1/2 cups of flour – not sure why but the dough seemed to be a lot stickier.


28 thoughts on “Homemade Bagels

  1. themigrantchef says:

    Great post! And beautiful looking bagels. I would recommend using baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) in the water as they boil. About 1 tsp per liter. Typically, bagels and pretzels are boiled in lye water to boost the pH level that will enhance the chewiness of those style breads. Lye (sodium hydroxide) isn’t very common to find in supermarkets, but sodium bicarb will certainly do the trick.

  2. jennyhud says:

    Wow! These look amazing. I have been trying my hand at bread baking this year and now I MUST make these bagels!

  3. Whisked Away says:

    I just tried homemade bagels for the first time and am hooked! There’s nothing like a hot homemade bagel fresh out of the oven. I’ll have to give these a try!

      • Cooking for the Fam says:

        It’s an unrefined sugar. It’s not as sweet as regular white sugar, and it was first recommended to me to get a “New York bagel” taste. Some recipes I’ve used call for it just in the dough, and some also call for it in the boiling water.

    • Laura says:

      I was surprised at how doable they were – I’ve made them the last 2 weekends in a row. They’re great because you can be doing other stuff during the rising time so you can feel super productive! =)

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