Saturday, 22 March 2014

How to Make Bagels at Home

My children are well used to me taking photographs of food - usually their dinner or dessert- all without bothering to interfere with my set up. But I'm afraid the temptation of bagels warm from the oven proved to be too much for my daughter!

Delicious toasted and slathered with real butter or for a real treat with cream cheese and a ribbon of smoked salmon. There is no bad way to enjoy a bagel especially if they are homemade - I can assure you that shop bought cannot compare to the chewiness of a home bagel- and best of all it's not as difficult as you might imagine. 

*recipe adapted from Bread by Eric Treuille and Ursula Ferrigno

Makes 8 bagels

350ml Warm water (half cold /half boiling water)
1½ tbsp White sugar
2 tsp dried yeast/2x 7g Sachet Fast Action yeast*/37g Fresh yeast**
500g Strong white flour
1½ tsp Salt

Recipe Update 24.11.16*
If you are using Fast Action Dried Yeast, use two 7g Sachets. Add the sachets to the flour with the sugar and salt, mix for 1 minute then slowly add the 350ml warm water while the mixer is running, STOP when you have a stiff dough - no need to add all the warm water, just enough until your dough reaches the right consistency.
**Treat fresh yeast the same as dried yeast, instructions below.

I am using dried yeast in this recipe, place 100ml of combined cold and boiling water into a small jug.

Add the sugar and yeast to the jug and leave for 4-5 minutes.

The yeast will dissolve and eventually and begin to foam in the water.

Add the flour and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer, mix for 1 minute. Stir the yeast water then add it to the flour along with the remaining warm water until a firm dough is achieved -the dough should be firm enough to hold it's shape so error on the side of adding less addition water than more.

Mix on low until the dough begins to leave the sides of the bowl. Knead the dough on MIN with the dough hook attachment for a couple of minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, knead if additional kneading is required and shape into a ball.

To test if the dough is fully kneaded, gently press a floured finger into the dough, if it springs back quickly it is kneaded enough.

Place the ball of dough into a lightly oiled bowl, turning to coat with a oil, cover and leave (out of draughty windows - or perhaps on low in your slow cooker!).....

...until it has doubled in size.

Once the dough has doubled in size, knock back (push the back of knuckles into the dough) and leave for a further 10 minutes to rest. No harm to cover it while it's resting prevents the dough from drying out (like mine did - doh!)

In order to divide the dough into eight equal amounts I rolled the dough into a 40cm long sausage and divided it into eight - alternatively the dough weights (roughly) 850g so thats 107g  per bagel.

On a lightly floured surface shape each piece into a small ball and set aside.

Cup each dough ball in the palm of your hand and roll it slightly on the work surface for a smooth finish. 

Place a floured index finger into the centre of the dough and spin the dough around to create a large hole in the middle, about one third the size of the bagel - otherwise it will close up in the hot oven.

Leave the bagels on a large lined baking tray (or two smaller trays) for another 10 minutes covered with a tea towel.

Meanwhile put a large deep pot of water onto the boil and preheat the oven to 220ºC/425ºF/ Gas Mark 7.

This is my favourite stage of making bagels - placing them in a large pot of boiling water is what gives them their chewiness and the edge over many other any other bread rolls. Place the bagels on a fish slice or a perforated skimmer and lower them carefully into the pot of now boiling water. Allow them to cook for 1-2 minutes on each side before removing them from the water and placing them onto the prepared baking sheet(s). Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until they are golden brown. Leave to cool on a wire rack before serving up to your appreciative audience.

I'm putting the coffee on as we speak.....


  1. Made these tonight as my first attempt at homemade bagels. Yummy!! Will definitely be making them again!

  2. I had beautiful fluffy bagels when I lifted them out of the water. Then something went wrong. They went FLAT once I laid them on the paper towel. They came out of the oven like rubber. I'm so disappointed!

  3. Please don't be put off, I'm sure all your efforts weren't in vain, weren't they edible? No one would mind a slightly misshapen homemade bagel once it's fresh and chewy. The only advice I can offer fir the future is perhaps your dough wasn't firm enough and they collapsed once they hit the water, I do state in the recipe that the dough has to be firm or perhaps they overproved, very possible in a warm kitchen or if time gets away from you. I have had this exact thing happen to me as well and I put it down to experience, one of the trials of yeast baking. I'm here if you need anymore advice.