There is this thought that New York City is the only place in the world to get decent, authentic bagels, I beg to differ! The truth is, you can make bagels that are just as good at home, no matter where you live. They’re the simplest breads to make, requiring only flour, water, salt, yeast, and malt—The difference from other breads, like baguettes and hearth breads, is to use a much lower percentage of water, producing a stiff dough that can stand up to a dunking in boiling water before going into the oven. Ready to make fresh bagels right at home? Great! This tested dough recipe is a winner. Don’t skip the water bath and egg wash– both provide an extra chewy and golden-brown crust.
1 and 1/2 Cups warm water (between 100-110°F)
2 and 3/4 Teaspoons instant or active dry yeast*
4 Cups bread flour, plus more for work surface and hands*
1 Tablespoon packed light or dark brown sugar (or barley malt syrup) *
2 Teaspoons salt
Coating the bowl: Nonstick spray or 1 Tablespoon olive oil
Egg wash: 1 Egg white beaten with 1 Tablespoon water
2 Quarts water
1/4 Cup honey (or barley malt syrup)*
Prepare the dough: Whisk the warm water and yeast together in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. Cover and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
Add the flour, brown sugar, and salt. Beat on low speed for 2 minutes. The dough is very stiff and will look somewhat dry.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. With lightly floured hands, knead the dough for 4-5 minutes. The dough is too heavy for the mixer to knead it!
Lightly grease a large bowl with oil or nonstick spray. Place the dough in the bowl, turning it to coat all sides in the oil. Cover the bowl with aluminum foil, plastic wrap, or a clean kitchen towel. Allow the dough to rise at room temperature for 60-90 minutes or until double in size.
Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
Shape the bagels: When the dough is ready, punch it down to release any air bubbles. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. (Just eyeball it– doesn’t need to be perfect!) Shape each piece into a ball. Press your index finger through the center of each ball to make a hole about 1.5 – 2 inches in diameter. Loosely cover the shaped bagels with a kitchen towel and allow to rest for a few minutes as you prepare the water bath.
Preheat oven to 425°F
Water bath: Fill a large, wide pot with 2 quarts of water. Whisk in the honey. Bring water to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-high. Drop bagels in, 2-4 at a time, making sure they have enough room to float around. Cook the bagels for 1 minute on each side.
Using a pastry brush, brush the egg wash on top and around the sides of each bagel. Place 4 bagels onto each lined baking sheet or use the Lekue Silicone Bagel Mold featured as our gadget of the month. Bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. You want the bagels to be a dark golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow bagels to cool on the baking sheets for 20 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Slice, toast, top, whatever you want! Cover leftover bagels tightly and store at room temperature for a few days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.