Homemade Plain Bagels

I am a breakfast fanatic. It is hands down my favorite meal of the day and one of my favorite meals to cook. It’s even more satisfying to make breakfast with breads that I’ve made myself. I’ve used my french bread recipe for french toast, regular toast and avocado toast – all of which were made so much better by having homemade bread. But what’s the next best bread you can get for breakfast? Bagels. You can make bagel sandwiches, toast them and add cream cheese, top them with avocado and tomato and pretty much anything else you can think of! Heck – you can even use bagels for lunch! So when I found this bagel recipe from 2009 on a blog called Sophisticated Gourmet, I knew I had to try it. It ended up being much easier than I expected and the results were delicious. Bonus – not only do they taste great they look so impressive! The first time I made them I was dorkishly proud of myself for having accomplished what I thought might be a total disaster.

Making bagels for the first time was a little terrifying – not gonna lie. Not only is the shaping part a bit daunting, but did you know you have to boil bagels before you bake them? But don’t worry! These are actually super easy to make. I think the hardest part is getting the shape right, but I was able to do it easily on only my second batch. These are also fun because of the combinations of fillings and toppings you can add. So far I’ve used sesame seeds and chia seeds on top and have really loved both. I left out the egg wash mentioned in the original recipe in order to keep these vegan, but if that’s not an issue for you you could always do an egg wash to make a sticky seal for your toppings. I found that adding the toppings after boiling made it sticky enough even if some of the seeds do fall off (doesn’t that happen to all bagels?). The next time I make these I want to try either blueberries or raisins and cinnamon. The original recipe doesn’t say how to do this exactly, but I think I’ll play with it a little bit and post an update if it ends up working.

Like I said before, the most difficult part of this recipe for me was the shaping part, so I wanted to talk a little bit about that. Once you have your dough separated and ready for shaping, you want to make sure you do it on an unfloured surface. I used flour my first batch when trying to roll “perfect dough balls” and quickly realized I made a mistake. The extra flour actually made it more difficult to remove the creases and folds. Roll the dough balls on a clean, unfloured surface to make sure you can get good smooth textures on your dough balls. I found that creating little round loaves first made it easier. Do this by slightly flattening out each peach of dough and then folding and pinching the edges underneath. This will give you a rounded top with all the seams on the bottom. Then you can roll the seamed bottom on the counter top lightly with your hand to smooth it out as much as possible. I went to Youtube and looked up “how to roll out dough balls” and that helped me, but maybe it’s not as difficult for other people. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get into the recipe.

First ever batch of bagels

Plain Bagels

1 packet of active yeast (or 2 1/4 tsp)

1 1/2 Tbsp of sugar

1 1/4 cups of warm water, split into 3 parts – 1/2 cup, 1/3 cup, 1/4 cup

3 1/2 cup bread flour, I used Bob’s Red Mill Artisan Bread Flour

1 1/2 tsp salt

Toppings – you can really put whatever you want on top, I used sesame seeds and chia seeds

  1. Add the yeast and the sugar to 1/2 cup of warm water and let sit for 5 minutes until foamy. At the end of 5 minutes, stir to dissolve the sugar.
  2. While the yeast mixture sits, combine your bread flour and salt in a large bowl and create a well in the middle.
  3. Once yeast mixture is foamy, pour into the well in the flour along with an additional 1/3 cup of warm water.
  4. Using a stand mixer and a bread hook, mix ingredients together slowly adding remaining 1/4 cup of warm water until a firm but somewhat sticky ball of dough forms in the bowl.
  5. Once dough is form, use the stand mixer to knead for about 5-7 minutes. You want a firm dough at the end.
  6. Place dough in an oiled bowl and cover with damp paper towels. Let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  7. After 1 hour, punch dough down and let rise another 10 minutes.
  8. Once dough has risen, separate into 8 equal parts. You can use a scale for this, but I just estimate it by sight.
  9. Roll each section into dough balls. You want these as smooth as possible on top. Once you have all your dough balls set out, cover a finger in flour and press through the center of each ball to create a hole. You want the holes to be fairly large as they will shrink quite a bit in the next rise and when they back in the oven.
  10. Once all of your dough balls look like little raw bagels, let rise for another 10 minutes on a baking sheet (covered in another damp paper towel, or I use the same one from earlier).
  11. While the bagels are rising, bring a large pot of water to boil and preheat your oven to 425°F.
  12. Once the bagels are done rising, turn down the heat on your boiling water and gently place each one into the water using a slotted spoon. You can do these one at a time or do as many as you feel comfortable at one time. I do batches of 4. Boil each side for 1-2 minutes. The longer you boil, the chewier the texture of your bagels will be.
  13. After you’ve boiled each side, place them back onto you baking sheet and add desired toppings. Make sure they are still a bit soggy when you do this so that the toppings will stick.
  14. Place bagels in the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.
  15. Once completely baked, remove from oven and place on a cooling rack.
  16. Pat yourself on the back because you just made your own bagels. Take that Noah!
  17. Enjoy!
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