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Baking: Better Bagels

As you may recall, about a year ago, I started learning how to make bagels. I searched high and low for a good bagel recipe and I have finally created one that is fantastic! Practice makes perfect and I had a lot of practice.  In a single day this summer, I made 40 bagels! After all that practice, I have created this recipe.


Erin’s New York Style Bagels

What You’ll Need (makes 7-9 bagels)

  • 1 1/4 cup warm water (I microwave for about 30 seconds)
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons safflower, sunflower, grapeseed or vegetable oil.
  • 3 1/2 – 4 cups bread flour
  • 4 quarts water
  • OPTIONAL FOR BOILING: 1/4 cup honey, 1 tablespoon barley malt vinegar (for a chewier crust), or 1 teaspoon baking soda (for a crunchier crust, like pretzels)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • OPTIONAL TOPPINGS: sesame seeds, poppy seeds, minced onion, garlic powder, kosher salt

Let’s Get Started!

If you have a stand mixer, I highly recommend using it to knead the dough.

  1. Combine warm water, yeast, sugar, and salt in a large bowl and let sit until yeast begins to bubble (about 5 minutes)
  2. Add oil and 3 cups of bread flour and knead until the mixture becomes doughy.
  3. Add the remaining flour 1/2 a cup at a time until the dough loses its stickiness. You should be able to poke the dough with your finger without the dough sticking to you and without it looking flaky. If it is too sticky, add 1/2 a cup of dough at a time until it becomes firmer. If it is too flaky, add a bit more oil.
  4. Move the dough to a large, lightly oiled bowl. Use just enough oil to coat the outside of the dough to keep it from sticking to the bowl; too much oil will make the dough too wet. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm enclosed area (like your microwave or stove, but do not turn your stove on while the bowl is in there). Let dough rise for at least 1 hour until it has doubled in size.
  5. Punch down the dough and fold in any toppings you want to use. Be sure to mix the toppings into the dough as you punch it down. Mixing in the toppings ensures that they won’t fall off when you eat it, but you can add the toppings at the end if you prefer.
  6. Place dough on a cutting board and use a knife to divide the dough into 7-9 equal pieces (depending on the size bagels you want). Roll each into a ball and make a hole in the middle with your thumb. Let the bagels rest for 30-45 minutes, until they have risen roughly to the size you want (if they are a little small, don’t worry – they will puff up a bit when you boil them).
  7. Preheat oven to 475 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  8. Beat 1 egg in a small bowl and put aside for egg wash.
  9. Bring 4 quarts of water to boil in a large pot. Add honey or malt vinegar if you want a chewier texture.
  10. Reduce water to a simmer and simmer the bagels 2-3 at a time (depending on the size of your pot) about 1 minute on each side. Remove bagels from the pot with a slotted spoon and place them on the baking sheet. Learn more about why we boil bagels here.
  11. Once the bagels have cooled (about 2-3 minutes), brush the beaten egg over the tops of the bagels with a pastry brush. If you did not mix in your toppings earlier, add them now.
  12. Bake in the oven until the bagels begin to brown, about 20-25 minutes.
  13. Let them cool before slicing them. If you plan to freeze them, slice them before putting them in the freezer.



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