Homemade Bagels
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Chewy, made-from-scratch bagels that are surprisingly easy!
Recipe type: Breads
Makes: 8 bagels
  • 1 and ½ cups warm water (you should be able to comfortably dip a finger in)
  • 1 tbsp active dry yeast
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 4 cups regular/all-purpose flour
  • 1 and ½ tsps salt
  • Water, enough to fill a large, deep pot
  • ¼ cup honey
  1. In a small bowl, combine the water, yeast and brown sugar. Stir and set aside for a few minutes till frothy. If this doesn't happen, your yeast is probably expired or the water was too hot or too cold. Start over because everything depends on the yeast being properly activated.

  2. If using a stand mixer, fit it with the dough hook and combine the flour and salt in the bowl. Mix once to combine, then add the yeast mixture and on low speed, let the stand mixer run for 8 to 10 minutes until you have a smooth, elastic, stiff dough. It should be only very slightly sticky. If doing this by hand, combine the ingredients the same way, then mix with a rubber spatula to bring it together, then knead on a lightly floured surface for about 10 to 15 minutes until the dough is smooth, elastic and on the stiffer side. There is no specific sign of the dough being ready to rise, so time your kneading and you should be fine.

  3. Once done kneading, shape the dough into a rough ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel and set aside to rise for 1 to 1.5 hours until larger and puffier, but not exactly doubled. Since we're going for dense and chewy, we don't need a very pillowy dough.

  4. Transfer the risen dough to a lightly floured surface and punch down lightly to release any air. More air bubbles might form while shaping the bagels, not to worry. Divide the dough into 8 equal rounds, and shape into smooth balls. Place all 8 on a silicone mat lined baking sheet, cover loosely with a kitchen towel and set aside for 30 minutes to rise again. I used a damp kitchen towel, but if you're working in a hot environment, this could make the dough sticky, so a dry towel would be fine too.

  5. In the last 5 minutes of this second rise, heat a large, deep pot filled with water. Add the honey, stir it in and bring to a gentle simmer. Preheat the oven to 220 C.

  6. While the water simmers, shape the bagels. Hold one of the dough balls up, poke a hole in the center using your index finger, and move it around to widen the hole to about 2 inches wide, using two fingers if needed. If the dough is sticky, you can also your fingers to rotate the dough in your hands, widening the hole as you go. I used a steel pestle to assist with the poking as well because the dough had gotten sticky in the humidity. You're not aiming for perfection, don't stress about shaping! Place each of the shaped bagels back onto the baking sheet.

  7. Once all the bagels are shaped, transfer them, 3 or 4 at a time, to the simmering water. There should be enough room for them to float around without sticking to each other. Cook for 2 minutes on one side, flip and cook on the other side for 1 more minute*. The bagels will start to look shrivelled and glazed. Remove from the water and drain with a slotted spoon or on a wire rack.

  8. Finally, place the boiled bagels back onto the baking tray, leaving at least an inch between them. You can bake them in two batches, nothing happens to the second one while the first is baking. Bake the bagels for 20 to 25 minutes, till golden-brown on the top.

  9. Eat fresh as is, or slice and toast, but don't forget the cream cheese, whatever you do! These bagels can be refrigerated for a few days or frozen for a couple of months, so yay!
*The 3 minute boil for the bagels might have been the reason for a thicker, chewier crust as they cooled down. Feel free to reduce the boiling to 30 seconds on each side if you'd like them to be less chewy. Experiment away!
Recipe by The Desserted Girl at http://thedessertedgirl.com/2016/11/01/homemade-bagels/