Bagels! Bagels! Bagels! Is there a finer breakfast food? I think not. Toasted, covered with butter, cream cheese, or just plain old melty cheddar cheese, a bagel is breakfast at it’s finest. You can even fancy em’ up for brunch by doing the whole bagels and lox thing.
[bctt tweet=”Bagels! Bagels! Bagels! Is there a finer breakfast food? I think not.”]
Yes. Bagels are clearly excellent.
So, this weekend, I tried my hand at homemade bagels. And you guys, they are so amazing. I don’t care if your a New-York-is-the-only-place-to-get-real-bagels-snob or more of an I’ll-eat-anything-made-of-bread-that-has-a-hole-in-the-middle-kind-of-person, you will be mad impressed with these bagels when you make them. As for me, I’m pretty sure I’ve never met a bagel I didn’t like. But, I’ve got to say homemade bagels are really something special and so worth making.
I’ve actually been meaning to try bagels at home for a long time now, but kind of held off because it sounded like it would be a complicated drawn out process. I was particularly turned off by the fact that bagels have to be boiled before baked. It just sounded like a pain. However, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that bagels are surprisingly easy despite the boiling step. After the dough’s done it’s rising time, the shaping, boiling, baking steps go really, really quickly. You’ll be sitting down and smothering cream cheese on a fresh from the oven bagel before you know it.
I worked primarily from Peter Reinhart’s recipe in Artesian Breads Every Day. (Let me tell you, this guy knows bread and this is a must have cookbook!)
One other thing before we get to the recipe. I made my first ever video, you guys! I thought it might be fun to do one to go with the bagels… it’s not the smoothest ever, but it gets the job done. Hopefully, I will get smoother with the video as I practice. I’ve gotta say thanks to my brother Jeremy for helping, he made the music accompanying the video for me. (It’s pretty good huh?)
Anyway that’s it. Bagels!
Homemade Bagels (Plain or Cinnamon)- Yields 6 bagels. Adapted, barely, from Peter Reinhart’s Artesian Breads Every Day.
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 2 and 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt (Cut it down to 1 and 1/2 if your salt is fine.)
- 1 and 1/4 cups lukewarm water (about 95°F)
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon (optional, use if making cinnamon bagels only)
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 3 and 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour
- 2 to 3 quarts water
- 1 and 1/2 tablespoons honey (optional)
- 1 tablespoon baking soda (optional)
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt (optional)
Note: You can boil the bagels in plain water or add the baking soda, honey, and salt to the water. I found both methods worked just fine, however there was a slight difference in texture when only plain water was used verses the water with the baking soda/honey/salt. I felt like the baking soda gave me a chewier bagel.)
- Add the yeast, kosher salt, and water to the bowl of a stand mixer. Allow the mixture to stand about one minute.
- Add the cinnamon (Omit if making plain bagels.), honey, and flour to the bowl. Mix the dough, using the dough hook, on the lowest setting for three minutes. Let the dough rest for five minutes. Meanwhile lightly oil a large bowl for the dough to rise in. Set aside.
- Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and knead by hand for three minutes. After kneading shape the dough into a ball and place in the large bowl that has been lightly oiled. Cover loosely with a towel or saran wrap. Allow the dough to rise for an hour at room temperature.
- Prep a baking tray by lining with parchment paper and oiling the parchment paper lightly, set aside. Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and divide into 6 equal parts. (A pastry cutter may be useful for dividing the dough.)
- Taking one piece of the dough, cup your hand over the dough and begin rolling the dough on the counter to form a ball. If the dough is not forming a smooth ball wipe the surface with a damp paper towel and continue rolling. Repeat wiping with the paper towel as needed to form a smooth ball.
- Pick up the smooth ball and press your thumb through the center of the ball. Gently pulling from the whole, stretch the dough slightly. Rotate and stretch the dough again. Set the bagel on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat steps 5 and 6 with the other five pieces of dough.
- Preheat the oven to 500*. Add the baking soda, honey, and salt to a large pot of water (Optional, you can also boil the bagels in plain water.) . Heat the pot of water over high heat to boiling. When boiling reduce heat to just above medium. Drop the bagels one at a time in the water. You can add as many bagels as you can fit to the pot at a time. The bagels should rise to the surface with in 15 seconds. Boil for an additional 30 seconds. Then use a spoon with drainage to flip the bagels. Boil for an additional minute and then transfer the bagels back to the parchment paper/oiled baking sheet.
- When the oven is preheated, put the bagels on the baking sheet in the oven on the upper center rack. Close the oven and reduce the heat to 450. Bake for eight minutes and then check the bottoms of the bagels to ensure they aren’t getting too dark. If they are place a second baking sheet under the first. This will protect the bottoms. Close the oven and bake for an additional 8-10 minutes. The bagels will be golden brown when done. Allow the bagels to cool fully on the baking sheet before slicing and serving.
The last step: eat bagels!