The BEST bagels this side of New York…

Being from the NJ (and just outside of NYC) I grew up with having amazing bagels and pizza available whenever and wherever I wanted them. It was something that simply just always existed and was pretty much always available. Moving to DC was a complete shock in those two areas of food. A girl (and her bagelman husband) can only be deprived for so long. Another former NJ resident friend of mine also had a longing for delicious bagels and unearthed a LA Times recipe for homemade bagels. With my stand mixer at the ready and a previous forray into bread making under my belt I rolled up my sleeves and was ready to make the bagels!

Here is a link to the recipe I followed:


– 1 tbsp Barley Malt (or barley malt syrup)  OR 1 tbsp Honey
– 3 1/2 cups Unbleached Bread Flour
– 3 tsp Salt (divided!)
– 3/4 tsp Instant Yeast
– 1 cup + 2 tbsp Water
– 1 tsp Baking Soda
Toppings (sesame seeds, minced garlic, minced onion, etc etc)

What to do:

Mix the flour, 2 tsp salt, yeast, barley malt syrup (or honey) and water in a medium bowl (or with a stand mixer on 2) until the ingredients form a stiff, coarse ball of dough (about 3 min of mixing by hand, about 1 in a food processor). If you need at a pinch more water (we did add about one extra tbsp of water). Let dough rest 5 minutes.

Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface about 2 – 3 minutes until the dough has a slightly tacky feel. If the dough is too soft or too tacky, sprinkle just a little extra flour as needed.

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rest in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to several. You will not want to leave the dough overnight like this because you have to shape the bagels and let them rest shaped overnight before eating….

When you are ready to shape the bagels line a baking sheet with either parchment paper (greased lightly) or a silicone baking mat (whatever can withstand up to 450 F in the oven). Divide the dough into 6 – 8 equal pieces. Form each piece into a loose, round ball by rolling it on a clean and dry surface. Do not use flour on the surface! If the dough slides too much and won’t ball up work the surface with a damp paper towel, small amounts of moisture will help the dough grip and form a ball. Once the dough is in a ball shape you can start making the dough into bagel shapes.

Using your hands roll each dough ball into a  rope about 8 – 10 inches long. If you need to moisten your surface again with a damp paper towel that will again add that grip/bite. Slightly taper the rope at the ends so that they are thinner than the middle and squeeze the overlapping ends together and press the ends into the work surface to ensure they are completely sealed. Even out the thickness of the dough so that there is about a 2 inch hole in the center (ah ha! It looks like a bagel, almost…). Place the bagel on the prepared sheet pan and repeat with the remaining dough balls. Lightly wipe the bagels wiht oil, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Wake up about 2 hours BEFORE you will want to eat your bagels for breakfast

Remove the bagels from the refrigerator 90 minutes before you plan to bake them. Fill a large stockpot with 3 quarts of water at least 4 inches deep and slowly bring the water to a boil. When it comes to a boil add the last 1 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of baking soda and simmer with the lid on.

Thirty minutes before baking heat the oven to 500 degrees

Test the bagels by placing one in a bowl of cold water, if it sinks and doesn’t float return it to the sheet for 15 minutes before re-testing. When one bagel passes they are all ready for the pot. Drop each bagel (gently!) into the simmering water. Add as many will fit in the pot. After 1 minute use a slotted spoon to flip each bagel over and poach for an extra 30 seconds. Remove each bagel to the lined baking sheet. Sprinkle each bagel with your topping.

Place the baking sheet in the oven and reduce the heat to 450 F. Bake for 8 minutes and then rotate the sheet (if you use more than 1 sheet this is when you would want to rotate their positions as well). Check the underside of the bagels, if they get too dark place another baking sheet underneath the one you are using. Bake the bagels until they are golden brown (an additional 8 – 12 minutes from when you rotated them).

Once they have cooled off for about 30 minutes on a wire rack – ENJOY! Oh and please be sure to share with anyone else that appreciates a delicious bagel!

The finished bagels – YUM!


One response to this post.

  1. I crave good bagels, and being from North Idaho…they just aren’t available. Thanks!


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