Build me a bagel house! With an asiago cheese bagel kitchen and a blueberry bageled-in porch, please. And who needs a bathtub when I can have a tub of cream cheese? Bagels and I have a good thing going.
We’ve always been tight but I can’t say its always been like this. Because homemade bagels… those seemed scary. And entirely unattainable.
Growing up, I was awed by the creation of food more times than I can remember. My mom is a woman of many talents and great intellect, but with the exception of a few recipes, cooking is not her forte. For that reason, until I was in my early teens I had no idea that the layperson could make cake without a box. I was giddy beyond belief when I realized that I could make a cake the way that real bakers do–no box! And minced garlic? I thought you had to buy it prepackaged. You can imagine my confusion when a recipe called for a clove of minced garlic and I was stuck staring into a jar. Bagels seemed kind of like that–but in a league of their own.
Well, I have news for you, my friend! Homemade bagels are totally doable. And definitely easy. Not to mention, they taste better than most bagels you can buy (at a fraction of the cost). Go ahead and pamper yourself with these weekend worthy breakfast bites. Your taste buds will thank you.
P.S. Full disclosure: the Robinson house is totally on track to have two batches of these guys in one week, because they are just. that. good.
Homemade Bagels Recipe
Yields 8 bagels; 2 hours and 15 minutes (includes resting and baking time)
Begin by adding yeast and sugar to 1/2 cup of warm water in a small bowl. Do not stir; allow to sit for five minutes. After five minutes, stir until yeast and sugar have dissolved into the water.
Mix flour and salt together in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and pour the yeast, sugar, water mixture into the well. Add 2/3 cup of warm water and mix together to combine and form dough. Add remaining water as necessary. You want to end up with a wet, firm dough.
On a well-floured surface, knead the dough for ten minutes, working in additional flour. If you’re not sure how to knead by hand, check out this King Arthur Flour dough kneading video!
Lightly brush a large bowl with oil. Place the dough into the bowl and turn so that it is coated in oil. Place a damp paper towel over the bowl and allow the dough to rise for one hour in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size. Not sure how? This article by Red Star Yeast will help! After punching down your dough, cover with damp paper towel and allow to rest for ten more minutes.
Gently roll dough into a loaf—it doesn’t have to be perfect as you will be dividing the dough for the bagels. Once formed, cut loaf in half using a knife or bench scraper. Cut each of those halves in half, and each of those quarters in half—leaving you with eight (fairly even) pieces of dough for your bagels. If you would like your bagels to be the same size, you can use a kitchen scale to measure each piece of dough.
To form your bagels, take one of the pieces of dough and roll it out with your hands so that it looks like a snake. Once rolled out, create a bagel shape by bringing the ends together so that they overlap. Place your hand or a few fingers in the center of the bagel over the ends that have been brought together and roll on a surface to seal. The video below demonstrates this method. Place formed bagel on a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining seven pieces of dough. Cover bagels with a damp paper towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
Preheat oven to 425º. Fill a large saucepan or a stockpot with water and a pinch of salt; bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat so that water maintains a low boil. Using a spider strainer or a slotted spoon, lower a bagel into the water. It should float to the top in a matter of seconds. Allow to boil for one minute then flip bagel to the other side and allow to boil for one minute. (For chewier bagels, allow to boil for an additional minute on each side.) Remove from water using spider strainer or slotted spoon and move to a lightly oiled baking sheet. Repeat this process with the remaining bagels. You may boil multiple bagels at one time–just be sure not to crowd the pot.
If you would like to add toppings, this is the time! To make your egg wash, whisk one egg and combine with 1-3 teaspoons of water (the less liquid, the darker the wash). Lightly brush the egg wash onto the top of the bagels and sprinkle with toppings. No need to add the egg wash to plain bagels.
Bake bagels for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Allow bagels to cool before storing. Or, if you’re like me, dive straight in to one of those bad boys! There is nothing quite like a warm, freshly baked bagel smothered with cream cheese.
Recipe adapted from The Sophisticated Gourmet.