Truly great bagels are so hard to find, I decided to learn how to make them at home. This recipe is easy to follow and uses basic ingredients (no lye); once you get the basics down, switch up the toppings and flavors to delight every bagel lover in the house.

Not all bagels are created equal; in fact, truly great bagels are so hard to find, I decided to learn how to make bagels at home. This recipe for the classic bagel is easy to follow; once you get the basics down, switch up the toppings and flavors to delight every bagel lover in the house. 

As long as you’ve got the right ingredients and a little patience, you can do it. If you’ve ever mixed and kneaded any other dough, this will be a breeze to tackle at home.

And I promise you that once you make a batch, it will be hard to settle for any other grocery store bagel.

Ingredient notes:

  • Active dry yeast: Sold in little packets or jars at the store in the baking aisle. If you already have some, make sure it’s active and hasn’t expired. If you buy the jar, store it indefinitely in the freezer after opening.
  • Bread flour: Bread flour has a higher protein content that’s well-suited for making breads, rolls, and (of course) bagels.
  • Barley malt syrup: Barley malt syrup gives the bagels some color and gives them a glossy shine. It’s also  responsible for classic bagel flavor and an improved shelf life. Look for it in health food stores and markets with well-stocked baking aisles. Store it in the refrigerator once you open the jar.
  • Everything bagel seasoning: To make your own, just combine 2 tablespoons poppy seeds, 1 tablespoon EACH white sesame seeds, black sesame seeds, dried minced garlic, dried minced onion, and 2 teaspoons coarse salt.

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. Bloom the yeast by adding it to the warm water and letting it rest for about 5 minutes.
    Not all bagels are created equal; in fact, truly great bagels are so hard to find, I decided to learn how to make bagels at home. This recipe for the classic bagel is easy to follow; once you get the basics down, switch up the toppings and flavors to delight every bagel lover in the house. 
  2. Using an electric mixer with the dough hook attachment, combine the flour, barley malt syrup, sugar, and salt. Then turn the mixer to a low speed and drizzle in the yeast and water.
    Not all bagels are created equal; in fact, truly great bagels are so hard to find, I decided to learn how to make bagels at home. This recipe for the classic bagel is easy to follow; once you get the basics down, switch up the toppings and flavors to delight every bagel lover in the house. 
  3. Increase the mixer speed to medium and mix for 6 to 10 minutes until the dough appears shiny and smooth. (If the dough sticks to the hook, stop the machine, scrape the dough off the hook, and return to the bottom of the mixer bowl. Continue mixing.)
    Dough in a mixer.
  4. When ready, turn out the dough onto a dry work surface and shape into a ball. Place the dough inside a greased mixing bowl and lightly brush the top with olive oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm area (80 to 85 degrees) for about 20 minutes, until doubled in size.
    Not all bagels are created equal; in fact, truly great bagels are so hard to find, I decided to learn how to make bagels at home. This recipe for the classic bagel is easy to follow; once you get the basics down, switch up the toppings and flavors to delight every bagel lover in the house. 
  5. Gently turn the dough out onto the work surface and divide into 12 portions. Working one at a time, roll each dough portion into a 9-inch rope. Then moisten one end of the rope and attach it to the other end to form the bagel. Try to overlap the ends of the dough by about 1 inch, leaving a hole in the center about the size of a quarter.
    Not all bagels are created equal; in fact, truly great bagels are so hard to find, I decided to learn how to make bagels at home. This recipe for the classic bagel is easy to follow; once you get the basics down, switch up the toppings and flavors to delight every bagel lover in the house. 
  6. Once all the bagels are formed, cover them with a damp kitchen towel to rise in a warm area for about 10 minutes. While the bagels are rising, place a wire cooling rack over one baking sheet, and line another baking sheet with parchment paper. To boil the bagels, bring a large shallow pan of water to a simmer and add the remaining barley malt syrup to the water to dissolve. Drop the bagels in, working in batches of 3 to 4 at a time (depending on the size of the pan) and cook for about 30 seconds. Then gently flip the bagels and cook for another 30 seconds on the other side. Keep adjusting the heat so the water is simmering/close to boiling while you work.
    Not all bagels are created equal; in fact, truly great bagels are so hard to find, I decided to learn how to make bagels at home. This recipe for the classic bagel is easy to follow; once you get the basics down, switch up the toppings and flavors to delight every bagel lover in the house. 
  7. Remove the bagels and transfer to the wire rack and baking sheet you prepared. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Sprinkle salt, seeds, or cheese over the bagels before they dry, then transfer them back to the parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake the bagels at 425 degrees until golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet halfway through the cooking time for even baking. Remove from the oven. Let the bagels cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.
    Not all bagels are created equal; in fact, truly great bagels are so hard to find, I decided to learn how to make bagels at home. This recipe for the classic bagel is easy to follow; once you get the basics down, switch up the toppings and flavors to delight every bagel lover in the house. 

Recipe tips and variations:

  • Proofing the dough: Turn your oven on to the lowest temperature it will go, usually 200 degrees. Once it reaches 110 degrees, turn the oven off. Place the dough in the oven and close the door. Opening the oven door will lower the heat a bit, and that’s okay (you’re aiming for 75 to 85 degrees).
  • Bagel hole sizing: When I make bagels, I aim for quarter-sized holes; but the larger the hole, the larger and flatter the bagel usually is. The smaller the hole, the puffier the bagel.
  • Egg wash for toppings: If you’re going all out with the toppings but need a little glue to hold them in place, try an egg wash. Bagels brushed with a bit of beaten egg white before topping will be shinier, and hold onto their toppings better.
  • Flavoring the dough: Try adding bits of cooked chopped bacon, chopped fresh chives, garlic, or diced onions. For a cinnamon bagel, add up to a teaspoon of ground cinnamon to the dough, and maybe even a handful of raisins! Or make summer bagels with pesto and chopped sun-dried tomatoes.
  • Make ahead: If you’re aiming for fresh bagels for breakfast, mix and shape the dough the night before. Immediately cover and refrigerate. In the morning, turn on the oven and bring the water to a boil, then remove and follow the boiling and baking as above. The bagels will not need to warm up or rise any further.
  • Freezing: Baked bagels can successfully be frozen, as long as they’re wrapped or sealed up in an airtight zip-top freezer bag. Then all you have to do is leave them out at room temperature to thaw.

Not all bagels are created equal; in fact, truly great bagels are so hard to find, I decided to learn how to make bagels at home. This recipe for the classic bagel is easy to follow; once you get the basics down, switch up the toppings and flavors to delight every bagel lover in the house. 

More breakfast ideas:

 

Homemade bagels on a cooling rack.

How to Make Bagels

Not all bagels are created equal; in fact, truly great bagels are so hard to find, I decided to learn how to make bagels at home. This recipe for the classic bagel is easy to follow; once you get the basics down, switch up the toppings and flavors to delight every bagel lover in the house. 
5 from 2 votes
Cook Time 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs
Servings 12 bagels
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Calories 177

Ingredients 

  • 2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast (see note 1)
  • 1 1/2 cup warm water 110 degrees
  • 4 cups bread flour (see note 2)
  • 3 tablespoons barley malt syrup divided (see note 3)
  • 4 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Everything Bagel Seasoning or poppy seeds, sesame seeds, or coarse salt (see note 4)

Instructions 

  • Soften (bloom) the yeast in the warm water for 5 minutes.
  • In an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine flour, 2 tablespoons barley malt syrup, sugar, and salt. With the motor running on low, slowly drizzle in the yeast mixture. 
  • Increase the mixer speed to medium and mix until shiny and smooth, 6 to 10 minutes. If the dough becomes stuck to the dough hook, scrape the dough off the hook and return to the bottom of the mixer bowl.
  • Turn out the dough onto a dry surface and shape into a ball. Place in a greased bowl and brush with olive oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place (80 to 85 degrees, see notes) for 20 minutes (it will double in volume). 
  • Turn out the dough onto a dry surface and divide into 12 equal portions of dough. Working with 1 portion of a dough at a time, roll the dough into a 9-inch rope. Moisten the ends of each rope and wrap the dough around to form a circle. There should be  a hole approximately the size of a quarter in the middle and the ends of the dough should overlap by at least 1 inch. Repeat with remaining portions.
  • Cover the shaped bagels with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place (80 to 85 degrees) for another 10 minutes. Meanwhile, arrange a cooling rack over a baking sheet. Line a second baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Bring a large, shallow pan of water and remaining 1 tablespoon barley malt syrup to a simmer. Boil the bagels in batches, 3 to 4 at a time, for 30 seconds on each side, adjusting the heat of the stove to maintain a simmer. Remove to the cooling rack set over a baking sheet and repeat with remaining bagels. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  • While the top of the bagels are still damp, sprinkle with Everything Bagel Seasoning, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, or coarse salt. Transfer the bagels to the parchment-lined baking sheet.
  • Bake until the bagels are golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. Switch the positions and rotate the orientation of the sheets halfway through baking time. Remove from the oven and let rest for at least 30 minutes before serving. 

Notes

  1. Active dry yeast: Sold in little packets or jars at the store in the baking aisle. If you already have some, make sure it's active and hasn't expired. If you buy the jar, store it indefinitely in the freezer after opening.
  2. Bread flour: Bread flour has a higher protein content that's well-suited for making breads, rolls, and (of course) bagels.
  3. Barley malt syrup: Barley malt syrup gives the bagels some color and gives them a glossy shine. It's also  responsible for classic bagel flavor and an improved shelf life. Look for it in health food stores and markets with well-stocked baking aisles. Store it in the refrigerator once you open the jar.
  4. Everything bagel seasoning: To make your own, just combine 2 tablespoons poppy seeds, 1 tablespoon EACH white sesame seeds, black sesame seeds, dried minced garlic, dried minced onion, and 2 teaspoons coarse salt.
  5. Proofing the dough: Turn your oven on to the lowest temperature it will go, usually 200 degrees. Once it reaches 110 degrees, turn the oven off. Place the dough in the oven and close the door. Opening the oven door will lower the heat a bit, and that’s okay (you’re aiming for 75 to 85 degrees).
  6. Bagel hole sizing: When I make bagels, I aim for quarter-sized holes; but the larger the hole, the larger and flatter the bagel usually is. The smaller the hole, the puffier the bagel.
  7. Egg wash for toppings: If you’re going all out with the toppings but need a little glue to hold them in place, try an egg wash. Bagels brushed with a bit of beaten egg white before topping will be shinier, and hold onto their toppings better.
  8. Flavoring the dough: Try adding bits of cooked chopped bacon, chopped fresh chives, garlic, or diced onions. For a cinnamon bagel, add up to a teaspoon of ground cinnamon to the dough, and maybe even a handful of raisins! Or make summer bagels with pesto and chopped sun-dried tomatoes.
  9. Make ahead: If you’re aiming for fresh bagels for breakfast, mix and shape the dough the night before. Immediately cover and refrigerate. In the morning, turn on the oven and bring the water to a boil, then remove and follow the boiling and baking as above. The bagels will not need to warm up or rise any further.
  10. Freezing: Baked bagels can successfully be frozen, as long as they’re wrapped or sealed up in an airtight zip-top freezer bag. Then all you have to do is leave them out at room temperature to thaw.

Nutrition

Serving: 1bagelCalories: 177kcalCarbohydrates: 36gProtein: 6gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 393mgPotassium: 63mgFiber: 2gSugar: 5gCalcium: 10mgIron: 1mg
Tried this Recipe? Pin it for Later!Mention @CulinaryHill or tag #CulinaryHill!

Meggan Hill

I’m the Executive Chef and head of the Culinary Hill Test Kitchen. Every recipe is developed, tested, and approved just for you.

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Comments

  1. I love the bagels, problem is I can’t make enough of them. I would like to ask you a few questions if you don’t mind. Can I just double or triple the ingredients so that I can bake a larger batch of Bagels? Also, what would I need to do differently so that I can make the dough the night before?
    Thank you5 stars

    1. Hi Frank! You should be able to double or triple the dough, no problem. I can’t see any issues with that. As far as making the dough the night before… I will have to try that and report back. I haven’t tried it and I don’t want to ruin your day with bad, fake advice. I’m wondering if we could just do a “cold proof” where you don’t proof it at room temperature at all, you just let it proof in the fridge. I’ll have to try it out and report back. I’m really glad you like the recipe! -Meggan

  2. There are no good bagel places where I live, so this weekend I took the plunge and tackled a dozen at home. SUCCESS! I’m not going to open a store up anytime soon but at least we have REAL LIVE BAGELS IN THE HOUSE. Thanks for a fun how-to project, Meggan!5 stars