homemade bagel recipe

Homemade Bagels

I’m a southern gal who married a guy from North Jersey so in all my bread baking, there HAD to be some bagel skills.  These authentic tasting, perfectly chewy, homemade bagels pass the taste test and are easier to make than it reads.  The original recipe is from an old newspaper clipping and is the real deal.  🙂

Homemade Bagels

Prep time: 20 minutes
Rising time: 20 minutes
Broil and Simmer time combined: 10 minutes
Baking time: 25 minutes

* Makes 12 large Bagels


4 and 1/4 Cups Bread Flour
1 Package Active Dry Yeast
1 and 1/2 Cups Warm Water (120 degrees F)
2 teaspoons Salt
3 Tablespoons Sugar
Cornmeal for baking surface

In a deep bowl, combine half of the flour, the yeast, the 120 degree water, and the salt and sugar.  Stir with a fork until well blended.  Stir in remaining flour and begin to knead it in when it becomes too dense to stir.  Once it is taking shape, you can either turn the dough out onto a floured surface to knead or continue to knead in the bowl.  I have a plastic, rubber bottomed bowl that I like to knead in because I can put the bowl on a surface lower than the kitchen counter.  It makes kneading easier on my hands, but everyone’s preference is different.  Knead the dough until it’s smooth and elastic; about 8 minutes or so.

Divide the dough into 12 balls.  I cut mine into four pieces first that I then divide those into 3 pieces each.  That seems to make it easier to eyeball for size.

Cover the dough and let it rest for 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, prepare for the next two steps; broiling then “boiling”.  (it gets called boiling in every recipe I see, but it is really simmering, NEVER boiling)  Preheat your oven broiler and start a large pot of water to simmer.  Your pot should be large enough to float 6 bagels at a time.  The water doesn’t have to be more than a couple of inches deep.  It’s more important that the water surface area is large.

After the dough balls have been resting for 10 minutes, punch a hole in the center of each ball.  Pull the center of the dough gently to create a 2 inch hole.  Place on a lightly greased or parchment paper lined baking sheet.  The holes will shrink back a bit, but as long as you stretched them out to 2″ the hole will turn out right.  Cover again and let these rise for 20 minutes.

After rising, place the bagels on broil in the preheated oven for 3 to 4 minutes, turning over once.  The tops should NOT begin to brown.

Remove from broiler and drop one at a time in the simmering pot of water.    My pot will fit six at a time, which is what the recipe from the clipping had called for also.  *Important Note:  You want your water simmering, not boiling.  If your water is boiling, it will shrink the rise in your bagels and you’ll go from really pretty, plump bagels to shriveled up gummy ones.*  Be sure to turn your oven to 375 degree bake at this time.

Simmer uncovered for 7 minutes, turning once.

Remove bagels with a slotted spatula and place on a wire rack to drain or on paper towels.  Repeat the boiling process for the other 6.

Sprinkle a clean baking sheet with the cornmeal to prevent sticking and arrange bagels, not touching.  Bake for 25 minutes at 375 degrees or until nicely brown.  Remove to a wire rack to cool.

We use only a wood baking stove in the kitchen and these turn out as well in that as they do in a “regular” stove.

Go ahead and slather that cut bagel with butter now while it’s still hot, there’s nothing like it! 🙂

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