How to Make Homemade Bagels

The ubiquitous, crunchy yet chewy bagel is so common, I can't think of a coffee shop that doesn't sell them.  It is so common that it seems almost crazy to think that you could make them at home.  That's what made me want to make them at home.  How hard could it be?  Turns out, not hard and very rewarding.  The possibilities are endless. Cheese and jalapeno, blueberry, olive and roasted garlic, cinnamon and raisin, and so on.  Whatever you can think up, you can adjust this dough recipe to.  I would make your additions in the last few minutes of developing the dough, making sure that none of the additives are too moist.  Then let rise as usual.  Below is a plain dough recipe with toppings added.  I'd love to see and hear about your additives and results.



4 1/2 cups bread flour

1 1/4 cups warm water

3 tbsp. white sugar

2 tbsp. vegetable oil 

1 tbsp. instant yeast

1 tsp. salt

1. Combine all ingredients in mixer bowl with dough hook and mix on low until well developed; approximately 8 minutes.  The dough will be quite dense so if you need to, you can take the dough out of the mixer once it has developed and knead for the last 3 minutes or so.  Some mixers have more powerful motors than others.  You can do this entirely by hand if you don't have a mixer.

2. Form the dough into a round, smooth ball and place in a well oiled, large bowl, turning the dough to cover with oil (so it doesn't dry out while rising).  Cover bowl loosely with a tea towel or cling wrap and let the dough rise 2 hours in a warm area of your kitchen. It will more than double in size.

3. Preheat oven to 475F. Place the dough on floured surface and roll into a rope (the size you want your bagels determines how thin or thick your rope is).  Divide into equal parts (6 pieces for extra large bagels or 16 for mini bagels).  Poking a thumb through the centre of each piece, work the dough into an 0 shape accordingly.  Place on parchment lined pan and let rest for 15 minutes, uncovered.  Don't worry if they look a bit knarled up.  I actually like that as they look homemade and don't look like they were made in a machine at a bakery, as long as they are about the same size as each other for even baking.

4. Bring a large pot of water, filled 2/3, to a boil.  Turn down to a simmer and then, 3 at a time, place bagels in simmering water.  Leave them in the water for about 20 seconds, turning over halfway through. Remove from the water with a slotted spoon and place on parchment lined pan.  As you take 3 out and put 3 in, apply toppings.  The toppings stick to the wet dough. You can dip into a bowl of various toppings for a thick coating of your choice or sprinkle on for a lighter coating. Repeat boiling/topping procedure until all of your bagels are done and put bagels back on parchment pans.  This is where you can get really creative by using your combinations such as poppy seeds, chia seeds, sesame seeds, garlic and onion powder, or any other spice or combinations you choose.  Everything bagels are my favourite and today I have made 6 dipped in a bowl of toppings for a thicker coat and 6 with a lighter sprinkle of black and white sesame, garlic and onion powder and kosher salt.  

5. For extra large bagels, bake for approximately 15-20 minutes.  For mini bagels, approximately 10 minutes.  For this demo I did 12 bagels, baked for 15 minutes.  However, every oven is different.

Let bagels cool on a wire rack and then dig in with your favourite spreads.  Enjoy!


Freezer note:  The best way to freeze bagels is to wait until fully cool, slice and then freeze in freezer bags.  That way you can pop a frozen bagel directly into the toaster.



Laura Reybroek