The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.


I don't know why, but I thought making bagels was considerably more complicated than making a loaf of bread. Well, it's not: it is easy.

A recipe and a description of how easy it was to make these below.

I knew making bagels involved boiling them. Somehow this left me with the impression that it would be as complicated as deep frying is, where you have to get the oil just the right temperature or else you end up either setting your kitchen on fire or eating little wet balls of grease. Plus there is the whole pot of grease clean up factor. Yuck. Not something I've wanted to deal with.

So when I read a couple of bagel recipes and all they said was "bring a pot of water to a boil. Drop bagels in and boil for a minute or two on each side" I... well, I felt like a dolt. Why didn't I try making these sooner?

About Bagels

There are a ton of bagel recipes out there. A large percentage of them include eggs and butter. Most suggest using high protein bread flour. Some include sugar, some include honey, and others include malt syrup or powder.

For my first time baking bagels, I decided to use the recipe from the The Bread Baker's Apprentice. It appealed to me because it had an extremely simple ingredient list (only one ingredient that don't routinely keep around the house, and it was simple to find and inexpensive) and included an overnight retardation of the dough that made it perfect for baking in the morning. As regular readers will recall, preparing bread in the evening for baking first thing in the morning is an ongoing desire of mine. This recipe fit that model perfectly.


Makes 1 dozen bagels

1 teaspoon instant yeast
4 cups bread flour
2 1/2 cups water

1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
3 3/4 cups bread flour
2 3/4 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons malt powder
1 tablespoon malt syrup, honey, or brown sugar

Finishing touches:
1 tablespoon baking soda for the water
Cornmeal for dusting the pan
Toppings for the bagels such as seeds, salt, onion, or garlic

The Night Before
Stir the yeast into the flour in a large mixing bowl. Add the water and stir until all ingredients are blended. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for two hours.

Remove the plastic wrap and stir the additional yeast into the sponge. Add 3 cups of the flour, the malt powder (the one unusual ingredient, which I was able to find at the local health food store), and the salt into the bowl and mix until all of the ingredients form a ball. You need to work in the additional 3/4 cups of flour to stiffen the dough, either while still mixing in the bowl or while kneading. The dough should be stiffer and drier than normal bread dough, but moist enough that all of the ingredients are well blended.

Pour the dough out of the bowl onto a clean surface and knead for 10 minutes.

Immediately after kneading, split the dough into a dozen small pieces around 4 1/2 ounces each. Roll each piece into a ball and set it aside. When you have all 12 pieces made, cover them with a damp towel and let them rest for 20 minutes.

Shaping the bagel is a snap: punch your thumb through the center of each roll and then rotate the dough, working it so that the bagel is as even in width as possible.

Place the shaped bagels on an oiled sheet pan, with an inch or so of space between one another (use two pans, if you need to). If you have parchment paper, line the sheet pan with parchment and spray it lightly with oil before placing the bagels on the pan. Cover the pan with plastic (I put mine into a small plastic garbage bag) and allow the dough to rise for about 20 minutes.

The suggested method of testing whether the bagels are ready to retard is by dropping one of them into a bowl of cool water: if the bagel floats back up to the surface in under ten seconds it is ready to retard. If not, it needs to rise more. I didn't bother doing this, instead counting on it taking about 20 minutes to get my son's teeth brushed and get him to take a bath. In the quick interval between bath time and story time, I placed the pan into the refrigerator for the night.

Baking Day
making bagels
Preheat the oven to 500. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Adding one tablespoon of baking soda to the pot to alkalize the water is suggested to replicate traditional bagel shop flavor. I went ahead and did this, though I have no idea if it made any difference.

boiling bagels
When the pot is boiling, drop a few of the bagels into the pot one at a time and let them boil for a minute. Use a large, slotted spoon or spatula to gently flip them over and boil them on the other side.

Before removing them from the pot, sprinkle corn meal onto the sheet pan. Remove them one at a time, set them back onto the sheet pan, and top them right away, while they are still slightly moist. Repeat this process until all of the bagels have been boiled and topped.

Once they have, place the sheet pan into the preheated oven and bake for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to 450 degrees, rotate the pan, and bake for another 5 minutes until the bagels begin to brown. Remove the pan from the oven and let cool for as long as you can without succumbing to temptation.

Wrap Up

These bagels were awesome. I may try a different recipe next time, like an egg bagel recipe, but I have no complaints about this one.

I did learn that you can put too many seeds on top of a bagel. I went particularly overboard with the poppy seeds. Next time I'll use a few less, but the bagels were still a hit with everyone.


Related Recipes:Challah Bread, English Muffins, Struan Bread.



crumbbum's picture

yikes! 8 cups flour yields only 12 bagels? no wonder I can only eat one a day. whew.
they look great, though. another friend made bagels today, too.

Anonymous baker's picture
Anonymous baker (not verified)

Okay, but do they taste like "bagels", as in the kind you get here on the West Coast, or actual bagels, as made by a good Jewish shop in NYC? That's what I want to know. :)

Also, where do you find malt powder? I've looked for it at my local grocery store and didnt see it. Was it in the baking aisle or elsewhere?

Floydm's picture

Okay, but do they taste like "bagels", as in the kind you get here on the West Coast, or actual bagels, as made by a good Jewish shop in NYC?

I'm a gentile who grew up on the West Coast, so I make no claims of it tasting like an authentic NYC bagel. I wouldn't know one if it bit me.

I will say that they taste as good as the best authentic seeming bagels I've had from bagel shops out here, and I thought that they were much better than the pillowy steamed bagels from Noah's or the Safeway bakery or any of the frozen bagels from the grocery store that I've tried.

Also, where do you find malt powder? I've looked for it at my local grocery store and didnt see it. Was it in the baking aisle or elsewhere?

I found an 8 ounce jar at Wild Oats for like 3 bucks. They had a couple of different brands as well as malt syrup. I believe the label said "Barley Malt Powder" on it and, yeah, I think it was on the baking aisle. I don't recall exactly because I was chasing my 3 year old around the store when we came across it.

If all else fails, it is inexpensive to order online.

Anonymous baker's picture
Anonymous baker (not verified)

OMG, we just had some leftover from this morning, and they are amazing. I think we needed to let them cool and then toast them, they were still too hot when we had them this morning. The flavor developed a lot more and they are soooo good. We had originally planned to share one as a before-bed snack but we ended up making another to share because one wasn't enough. Wow. These are the first really good bagels I've eaten on the west coast! :-D

crumbbum's picture

my bagels weren't so hot. I've got all my notes and photos and a blogpost about it, but it must wait. one thing of note that I want to remember though, is that my kettle of water got all foamy. I put in the baking soda, too. did you have a lot of foam when you were boiling them?

Floydm's picture

Um.... no, not too foamy. Once it got boiling good i think I turned it down a little, to medium high from high. Don't know if that made a difference.

Rachael's picture


You can purchase malt powder from King Arthur.  You want the non-diastic malt powder for this recipe.  I also use 1 tablespoon of malt in the water, not baking soda.  It gives the bagels and nice shine.  Like from a bakery.



melinda-dawn's picture

Okay, but do they taste like "bagels", as in the kind you get here on the West Coast, or actual bagels, as made by a good Jewish shop in NYC?

I made these this last weekend,used honey instead of malt powder*. As a Californian who grew up on the east coast & came back to Ca, I was in pure heaven, my DH asked what I was eating and I said "manna from heaven". I have now converted him away from baged bagels aka sara lee/thomes's. I got 15 bagels, I'm thinking of reducing the dough and trying for smaller bagels next batch.


*I called all 6 natural food stores in my area and none of them carried malt powder, but 3 did offer malt syrup, since I already had the honey in the house I opted for that over a special trip to the store.


ps, if you read the parent co info for noahs they make all of the dough at 1 of 2 locations and ship to the stores :p, sorry but that's not baking fresh.

(edited to fix spelling errors)

pps, my pics are here

BKSinAZ's picture

The good bagels are in New York

CanadaBreadGuy's picture

I've made this recipe twice now, and the second time I used my kitchen scale to divide the dough into 20 equal pieces instead of 12. I think 20 makes a better sized bagel, you could probably do 24 with this recipe and they would be okay. I topped them with a mixture of sesame & poppy seeds, dried minced garlic & onion and sea salt. Once topped, if you use the back of a spoon to gently press the toppings into the wet bagels before they're baked then they'll stick much better.

KazaKhan's picture

Maybe it's because I'm Australian but I find it odd that some have trouble finding malt, the powder and syrup has been in every supermarket I've been in. Of course I love malt and would never be without the stuff :)

As to the bagels they look really good, I'll have to give them a go. Can someone explain the reason for boiling?

pizzameister's picture

Bagels are my Wednesday morning chore to bring into the office. It really goes crazy if I am not there or forget to get them. Not being that much of a bread baker really (since I found out I was wheat intolerant 5 years ago), I none-the-less had to take a stab at bagels.

As Floyd says, they are not that at all difficult. NOw all I need is a wheat free real bagel. :-(

A short bagel making video at: (At bottom of page)

The dough was a litle on the soft side, but they came out excellent with a nice crunch.


marklwitt's picture

Check out my Breadmaking videos at

I produced a video you might find helpful.  You can see a sample at my website, listed above.  Please let me know if this is helpful to you.

RFMonaco's picture

It sure was helpful to me Mark, I left you + feedback on Ebay! Thanks, I will be following your series.

pizzameister's picture


Thanks for the advice. I have tried spelt and like it, but am not entirely sure if it is OK for me. Seems better than regular wheat, but needs more testing. Also, have tried kamut, which is also an old and unengineered grain. Same with that one. Have to be tested for gluten intolerance, but have been putting off as I generally just go without these days. Would be good to know.

Just bought a bag of sorghum, which has no gluten. Will be baking some this week with that. Problem is the lack of gluten and need to add xanthan gum to make elastic. That I have been avoiding too, since I would like to keep as natural as possible.

A good quality gluten free bagel! - Now that is the holy grail!



TheTimeLord's picture

When you put the bagels in the fridge for the night, do you cover them with anything? I wouldn't want them to dry out or anything.


pizzameister's picture


Do not have that book. Can you share anything from the recipe? Since the weekend is here, and cream cheeses are in the fridge, I can't think of a better project....



In the interim, I will take a look around online to see if I can find it.

pizzameister's picture

Ha!! Ate a "bagel" this past Wednesday. All is well. Picked these (forget the brand, and they are still at the office) up at the health food store in the freezer case. They are a corn based product, with some tapioca or other starch and guar gum added. Maybe it is not having a bagle at all for close to a year, but I was pleasantly surprised (toasted with cream cheese, of course). I gave it a solid C as a bagel and an A- as a gluten free baked product - good flavor, some chew and a little spring.

As far as removing the gluten from wheat, that sounds intersting. Makes sense, since you can buy wheat gluten. Somehow they remove it. I will take a look at the link later out of interest, but the result (wheat without its gluten) would not be an advantage for baking, as it is the gluten which holds baked goods together and gives them their spring and chew. I would think that wheat sans its gluten would bake like corn or wheat.

While not baking, per say, I will gladly share a very good pancake (probably could be used for waffles or a good muffin base) recipe that I am fine tuning. These are wonderfully tasty - light and airy, have no "odd" ingredients, are not gritty, and are gluten free!!! The recipe includes about 20% rolled oats in the dry mix. I know that there has been some discussion about "gluten in oats" - There is none naturally, but there is some possibility of minute amounts of wheat or other gluten containing grains getting in. For me oats are fine and in this recipe, I think that the rolled oats add some much welcomed moisture retention capacity.

Commment on Rye: According to what I have read, rye has gluten and is a no go for celiacs!

Thanks for the info

maggie664's picture

Is it true that Jewish bagels were originally poached to doneness, like
dumplings, and did not see the inside of an oven - or is this fact just an urban myth?

kgreg's picture

I made bagels for the first time.  Everything turned out except I had some sticking bagels.  I used cornmeal on parchment paper and put on baking stone.  The bagels stuck really bad to the parchment paper?   Why?

Floydm's picture

Um... you didn't have enough cornmeal? Or the dough was too moist? It should be on the dry side.

I'm trying to figure out.... they stuck before you boiled them or after? I think I do:

1) Shape them.
2) Place on parchment with cornmeal, cover, let rise overnight
3) Pull them off, boil them (adding more cornmeal to parchment if necessary
4) Place back on parchment
5) Bake on parchment covered baking sheet (not a stone).

I don't recall ever having a problem with them sticking.

kgreg's picture

thanks, I think the dough was too moist and when baking I put cornmeal on parchment paper and then on the stone.  Next time I will use a baking sheet and not a stone.

Thegreenbaker's picture

When I make my bagels I only lightly oil a baking sheet. I dont use parchment at all. Out of fear for them sticking! I find my method works well enough for me though.



kgreg's picture

thanks, I will try your method next time I do bagels.

marklwitt's picture

Check out my Breadmaking videos at

You should not use corn meal till after boiling. 

 Shape, place on parchment that is sprayed with cooking spray and proof overnight covered with plastic wrap.

Boil, drain breifly on a cooling rack, place on NEW parchment that has been sprayed with cooking spray and sprinkled with cornmeal. 

That should do it.  I like a stone, but either way will result in great bagels.


sphealey's picture

> . Adding one tablespoon of baking soda to the pot to

> alkalize the water is suggested to replicate traditional bagel

> shop flavor. I went ahead and did this, though I have no

> idea if it made any difference.


The third time I tried this recipe I did an experiment: 10 boiled in plain water and 5 with baking soda. There is a difference: the ones with baking soda came out browner, crisper, and with a slight alkali tang. My family did not like this flavour, so I will probably omit it in the future. But you might want to try both ways for your own trials.


I noticed that Hammelman's recipes calls for maple syrup in the water. This would be similar to the malt that RLB calls for in her recipe; that didn't work too well for me either.



demegrad's picture

I had a very similar experience with the bagel recipe from BBA.  Maybe it is our ovens?  I guess I'm not giving you any answers but at least the comfront that your not the only who had this issue with this recipe.  Luckily they still tasted good once they did come out of the oven. 


RFMonaco's picture

Which recipe are you referring to specifically..Floyd's or the one above your post by marklwitt? Thanks.

Sean's picture

"New Yorkers would say that the secret to their bagels is the water--if you want big, fluffy bagels, you need California water; if you want chewy, slightly sour bagels, turn on a NY tap.... "

 Any helpful hints on how this California boy can get chewy, slightly sour with his Sacramento tap water?

 I've been using the BBA recipe, but substituting one cup of wheat flour for a cup of white flour. Also using light malt powder from the brewer's supply store. I'm ready to go back for dark malt syrup though. I've got the hang of bagels, now I'm looking to take them up a notch or three.

marklwitt's picture

Check out my Breadmaking videos at

First get some high gluten flour.  A good source is Baker's Catalogue.  The kind you want from there is Sir Lancelot.  Second, boil them a little more than you usually do.  These two things will give you extra chew.

For a sour accent try letting the sponge go a few days in the fridge.  I have a recipe and procedure available at my website that you may like (see above). 

Guess you could always find someone to sent you a 5 gallon jug of NY tap as a last resort!

Sean's picture

Thanks for the advice, Mark.


I'm right now munching on a bagel boiled and baked this morning. I've been extending the boiling time on recent batches and this morning extended the baking time for two minutes: one minute longer at 500 degreees and 450 degrees. I'm much happier with the chewniess.

I've been using King Arthur Bread Flour. Next shopping trip I'm buying bread machine flour to try.

I'm also going to try your sponge advice. Getting 5 gallons of NY tap water to CA may be challenge since I'd have to fly it over 3 ounces at a time. What we won't do for great bread!

marklwitt's picture

Check out my Breadmaking videos at

Before you use breadmachine flour read the label.  Unfortunately, the USDA requires  the nutritional information to be based on a 30 gram serving for flour and rounded to the nearest gram.  On most AP flour the protien grams will be 3 and on most bread flour 4.  Higher is better for bagels.  Even on my bag of Sir Lancelot it states 4 grams.  King Arthur says (if I remember right) that it is actually 13 - 14%, but that rounds down to 4 grams in a 30 gram serving.  Too bad that gram decimals are not allowed.  Also too bad that the only way I have found to buy Sir Lancelot is mail order from Bakers Catalogue!  For that reason I have only used it a few times.  Let me assure you it makes a great difference.
Hope you have gotten a chance to review my procedure on the website.  About a thousand people have accessed the recipes and I get many emails from folks about it.  The recipe and procedure are free. 

nbicomputers's picture

NY bagels are not made by a sponge and dough method

you need to make a stiff stright dough with malt- can be replaced with sugar white or brown  ounce for ounce

 the boiling water should have some malt or sugar in it to give you the crisp brown glossy crust.

as for baking this is where you want to get your stone ready and HOT

oven at 500 yes but the stone must be hot as well so give the oven time

after the bagel is shaped ether retard it over night or be ready to boil it cause you do not proof them just rest for 5 or 10 minutes and boil if the bagel opens up in the watter you did not shape them correctly it is not because you did not let them rest enough

now the real baking method take a 1-1/2 thich wood board you can use pine but hard wood is best

cover the board with a single layer of canvis (sp)- baking is my game not spelling_ staple the cloth to the board once you make these you can keep them and use them when ever.

soke the cloth with water and put your topping on the wet cloth

place the bagel on the cloth and into the hot oven for 2-3 minutes

NOW take the board and flip the bagels on to the stone so they are now bottom the side that was on the board and has the topping on it is now face up on the stone and take out the board and close the oven and finish baking








Trishinomaha's picture

We had these for breakfast yesterday and they weren't pretty but boy did they taste good! Like you, I always appreciate a recipe that can retard overnight and be finished off the next morning. We will be making these again!


Jimme's picture

I made the BBA Bagel recipe for the first time last night and this morning.  I followed the dough recipe exactly from the BBA, but the boiling and baking recipe from here:


The bagels came out great with one exception.  They floated immediately last night after the 20 minute rest stage so something was a bit off there which affected the finished bagel volume to a slight degree.


The bagels were just great.  Golden brown with a slight crackle to the bite and chewy to beat the band.  I think malt syrup is the way to go in the water not baking soda.


Check out the site above and try their directions for boiling and baking and see what you think! 

Sean's picture

Another bagel question:

Any difference in quality, taste, texture, etc when using malt power v. malt syrup?

marklwitt's picture

Check out my Breadmaking videos at

The malt syrup has to be added to a wet dough, as opposed to with the dry ingredients.  As to flavor, it shouldn't matter which you use.  The malt syrup is easier to find thatn the malt powder.  Both syrup and powder are available in diastatic and non-diastatic.  Diastatic will help your fermentation a bit. 

For amazingly beautiful bagels, try addiing  a couple of heaping tablespoons of malt syrup to your boiling water.  they will have a beautiful crust.

Good luck, making bagels is a joy.

Mike Avery's picture
Mike Avery

As a confirmed sourdough addict, I came up with a sourdough bagel recipe. It is explained pretty well at

I've used this recipe in the "Back To Bagels" class I teach many times, and so far we've had 100% success.

The sourdough, combined with the overnight retard and boil, gives these bagels an uncommon depth of flavor.



tommy d's picture
tommy d

Tommy D well here how I do it

flour 25lbs

three lbs brown sugar

4 0z salt

2 oz instant yeast

1 1/2 gallons of water (give or take depends on the humidity)

mix untill dough is smooth and has a lot of (for lack of a better word) strechability

a lot of these next steps I have machines for so form in the shape of bagels

let sit for 10 minutes then stck in the fridge over night they will proof

sense my oven has steam injection I dont need to boil how ever when you decide to make them cause they will hold for about two days boil then bake at about 425

for 8-14 minutes (depends on how many bagels you have )

if you want to add toppings like sesame just spray with water then add toppings

before you bake ! if you have any questions email me at

ElaineW's picture

I have found that beside using the barley malt syrup to the dough, I also add 2-3 TB. to the water bath that they are boiled in. It makes a big difference in the taste, color, and shine to the bagels. I usually don't top them with any seeds or wash.


shericyng's picture

sheri    made these today....they were easy and so good. because i'm a chocolate freak I added chocolate chips at the end of kneading.......rave reviews. One question......I took them out of the fridge 2 hrs. before boiling and they seemed to deflat a bit. Should I have left them in the fridge and then right in the water??

LuceFLY's picture

Tried making 1/2 the portion. Taste good and chewy but I find that the bottom is too soggy. Also when the beautifully smooth raised dough was put into the boiling water, it came out with a moon surface. Ha..ha..! Instead of boiling can we steam them before baking. Steam like the Chinese Pao then bake. Has any one tried this method before?

Trishinomaha's picture

For anyone who hasn't tried this recipe - you don't know what you're missing! We've made these several times now and each time the results get better and the process easier. Just finished my second one and these get better after a day or so, especially toasted and then a little (ok a lot..) of cream cheese on top. We  will keep the four in the refrigerator for this week's breakfasts and freeze six which will no doubt come out of the freezer next Saturday morning. Very good stuff, thanks again Floyd! There are only two of us in the house but these never go to waste.



Floydm's picture

Glad to hear you enjoyed them. All credit should go to Peter Reinhart though, since this is almost exactly his recipe from Bread Baker's Apprentice.

Lilandra's picture

I just made these. They were awesome.

 Next time I'll try standardizing the sizes :-)

Mary Jane D. Toribio's picture
Mary Jane D. Toribio

i just want to ask if i can omit the malt in the bagel that ill gonna make.



gaaarp's picture

Mary Jane, you can substitute honey for the malt.  Use a good, dark honey, if you have one.  I am making bagels today and couldn't find my malt syrup to save my life. (My mom was just here for a visit and must have put it away somewhere.)  So I used buckwheat honey in the dough.


Mary Jane D. Toribio's picture
Mary Jane D. Toribio


lukemansell's picture

.. I'm just a goy who can't say no


The recipe I use has an initial step of boiling a large chopped potato for 20 minutes - you discard the potato, then let the water cool and use it in the dough - most flavoursome and textutralious

Lucy-Sue's picture

Hi: I am new to this site and just love baking.  I have never made bagels before, only bread.  I can hardly wait to try this bagel recipe.

Would it be ok to substitute agave nectar or brown rice suryp for the malt powder or honey?

Does anyone have a great recipe for a sunflower bread?

Thanks in advance for the help!

mrfrost's picture

Brown rice syrup is maybe the next best thing as a sub for malt syrup. The agave would probably follow the others you mentioned along with molasses and brown sugar.

dasmueller's picture

Being more accomplished as a homebrewer than a baker I ask- would one use the dry malt powder used in brewing work well here-I think so. What would the equivalent be ?


RachelJ's picture

I don't use instant yeast, but active dry yeast. Can it be used in this recipe, if I activate it first? I'd love to make bagels, and have seen so many delicious photos of homemade ones... oh boy it tickles be funky!

ragreen's picture


jaltsc's picture



I have made a number of batches of bagels using Hamelman's recipe, with some changes after trial and error. I live in Thailand and the bread flour here does not seem to be the same as in the states. So, to 2 pounds of bread flour, I add 2T of wheat gluten (surprisingly available here), and 2 t diastatic malt powder (which somehow found its way into my baggage after me last visit to the states). I bake the bagels on wooden planks, like I remember them doing in the bagel bakery in the Bronx, where I was raised. This seems to keep the bagel rounder and bake more evenly after flipping them over.

So, everything about the bagle is great...flavor, density, chewiness, shape, except the surface is not the smooth surface I remember bagels to possess. I even used different boiling times, with no difference.

As you can see in the photo, I also make bialys which look and taste exactly the way I remember.


Any insight or suggestions?

brijnet23's picture

Hi folks, brand new to the site. I caught this post and figured why not begin by adding my 2 cents here ! I spent many years at the beginning of my cooking career working in a few of bagel shops here in NYC, one of which is just about the most famous you can think of. I noticed several replies on this post regarding the bottom of the bagel coming out too wet, and there is a very simple explanation for this. Traditionally, when the bagels are removed from the kettle, they are then tossed onto a series of boards ( basically 2x4's) covered with burlap. Once lined up on these boards they are slid one by one into the oven for approx. 1 minute. During this time the top of the bagel begins the drying and rising process. After the minute or so, which for most ovens is one revolution on their shelves, the bagels are then flipped off the boards and the boards removed. Aside from the boards being your vehicle for getting the bagels into the oven, they most importantly enable the bagel to dry and rise on one side before the flipping and continuation of baking. There is a very easy way to duplicate this process at home. I use a stone in my oven for the final bake, but prior to that I use sheet pan with a damp towel placed on top of it. After removing the bagels from the boiling water, place them on the towel/sheet pan combo, seed or dont seed, and place the pan on the rack above your stone for approx. 90 seconds depending on your oven. After this time, quickly remove the pan and place what had been the tops of the bagels face down on your stone. This process will give you a much more evenly cooked bagel throughout, with a nice rise and no " flat " side to your bagel.

erdosh's picture

I have been trying to make the perfect New York bagels for some time and I am very nearly there. My bagels look like they were just purchased from the bagel shop and they taste perfect. I do like them chewy, however, these are a bit TOO chewy. What do I do next? I bake them at 425 for 26 minutes. Should I reduce oven temperature to 400? Note: I make my bagels a little smaller than standard commercial ones.

Thanks for the help!


mrfrost's picture

What brand and type of flour are you using?

Try a lower protein flour. If the lower protein flour doesn't make enough chew, then try various blends of your present flour and the lower protein flour until you get the desired chewiness.

There are tools available to calculate a desired protein level with various blends of flours, but of course that's probably not really necessary.

You can also play around with how long the bagels are allowed to rise, and/or the boiling times to get a bagel that is a little more "bready".

patman23's picture

Ok, like many others I have never made bagels before.  I made two batches.  A whole wheat and a white / sessame seed version.   My results were mixed.

1.  The While Wheat bagles:

     A.  I used 50% Bread Flour (KA) and 50% Organic Stone Ground Whole Wheat (Bob's Red Mill)

     B.  I added about 1 teaspoon additional yeast and about 1/4 cup of additional water.

     C.  I also added a tablespoon or two of honey to the water alon with the baking powder.

     D.  I extended the boil time to 1.5 minutes on each side.

The result was a slighty crunchy, chewy, wonderful bagel.  Now, I ate on while it was still hot.  I did toast it and used a little butter and was quite pleased.  The flavor was a bit lacking but according to the other posts the flavor may develop after they cool down a bit yet.  I'll be trying another for dinner. 

2.  The White / Sessame Seed Bagels:

     A.  I followed the recipe exacty and the dough turned out a bit slack so I added a bit more flour.

     B.  I used corn meal on one pan and a cooking spray on another pan to prevent sticking and to see what the differences would be in the finished result.

     C.  I also added a bit of honey to the waer.

The result was less than what I had hoped for.  The bagles that I used cooking spray on the pan were perfectly browned on top, however, the sooking spray prevented the bottoms from browing and as a result they were soggy on the bottoms.

The dough was  a bit slack coming out of the fridge.  They seemed to "fall" once I picked them up however they responded well to the water.  They never regained their fullness and ended up bing sort of semi-flat / lumpy.  The crust developed well, I like the look of these quite a bit. 

On the pan that I used cornmeal as the stick preventer, for lack of a better term, the bottoms were perfect as expected. 


Over all this was a great experiment and a well thoughout recipe.  I really appreciate you posting it.  I also appreciate the comments that the other uses added.  This helped me fee more confidant in playing with the recipe a little.  I'll do it again and make a few changes.

1.  I'll bake them a bit longer

2.  For the White / Sessame Bagels, I'll ensure the dough is a bit stiffer prior to shaping

3.  I'll never used cooking spray again on bagles!

That is about it!  Thanks again!!!




djeffsmith's picture

I've been having great success with this recipe with a couple of modifications.  First - I am combing KA Bread Flour with enough Arrowhead Mills Vital Wheat Gluten to get it up to @ 14.5% Protein.  I like the chewiness this gives me.  I also found that my bagels would over-proof if I shaped them before retarding them.  So now I mix the dough from the sponge and then retard in the bowl overnight.  In the morning I punch down, portion & shape then let rest for ~30 mins.  As soon as the Bagels are able to float in a glass of water I boil in Lye water (1 tsp Lye for each quart of boiling water).  This gives me a crust that I've been unable to duplicate with Baking Soda or Barley Malt in the boiling water.  I preheat to 500, but turn down to 450 and use convection when I put them in the oven.  



R.Acosta's picture

I've been promising Tim(DH) for the past year or so that since I was loving making bread so much that I would totally be up for trying to make bagels sometime.  As I was scanning over this post at about 10pm (not intending to be starting anything at that time of night) he looked over my shoulder and got excited asking if I was going to finally deliver on my promise of homemade bagels.  I must admit, I was less than enthusiastic about starting them since our little one has been a VERY touchy sleeper lately, but I relented because I just can't say no to that childish glimmer in my husband's eyes :).  So after briefly scanning the recipe I made the sponge (thinking that was the only part of the night before prep) and then I went to bed. I woke up at 6am the next morning and read the recipe again realizing my mistake and hoping that it wouldn't affect the outcome too badly.  The only effect it seemed to have was that the crumb wasn't nice and tight and dense as you would expect from a bagel, it was slightly more open (like white bread), but these were still delicious.  I used honey in the recipe and after a little research found that traditionally bagels are boiled in honey sweetened water with baking soda. So into the alkaline bath went the honey as well. Here are my yummy, crunchy results :)!

Grenage's picture

I'm a very novice baker, and had absolutely no idea that bagels are boiled during the process; I always assumed that bagels were nothing more than circles of bread.  I'll have to give these a go.

BoyntonStu's picture

Some years ago, I invented and trade-marked "Squagels", a square bagel.

"For a square meal eat a Squagel".

They won't roll off your table".

"We don't cut corners". etc.

We had a lot of fun, and when a large company made us an offer that we could not refuse, we sold Squagels for quite a lot of 'dough'.

kwonders's picture

Bagels are a passion of mine, and I have written extensively about the process. See my recipe and technique at:

Crumb is dense yet soft, taste is just what I remember growing up


The crust has just the right amount of crunch

suzyr's picture

I have made these bagels for quite a while. I was reading on here a while back all of the different posts to your original one. Yours photos are great. 

Chef Reinhart is the greatest teacher.  in all his books.  I can't tell you how many times I have pulled out his books to reference a recipe.  

Here is my batch that I finished this morning.  They are so good and with it being so cold. What a treat. 


AndreiI's picture

First take on bagels and came out great. Soft on the outside, a little chewy inside (10pm and I could not resist eating one ...the butter just melted on it...drooling already)

I changed the recipe a little. Used half of the ingredients. Used honey (1Tbsp in the dough and 2 in the boiling water). Boiled 1.5min / side and baked about 8-9 min / side at around 475F. Retarded them in the fridge after forming for about 6 hours. I wasnt sure if they would rise but the came out quite big. I think next time I'll shape them a bit smaller


Overall I am very pleased with the taste and the result

wheeledgoat's picture

I've never made bagels, but I've got my pretzels dialed in.  Similarities between recipes include the boiling sodium bicarbonate bath, but for my pretzels I've come to use lye instead.  (The purpose is to use an alkaline solution to denature the proteins on the surface so you get the maillard reaction while baking.  The reason you have to boil the sodium bicarb is to enhance the denaturing since baking soda is a weak base.  Sodium Hydroxide (lye) however, is a strong base and you can just dip in a room temp solution (30g to 1L water).  Lye is a STRONG base though, wear eye protection and wash your skin immediately if it comes in contact.  Be sure to keep it safe from kids and pets!)

I'm curious if the sodium bicarbonate part of this recipe is because of liability (you have to look long and hard to find someone willing to recommend since people can hurt themselves with lye) or if, for bagels, we don't want THAT much browning.

FWIW, I get my sodium hydroxide from Ace Hardware drain cleaning aisle.  No, it's not "food grade".  Works great.  And none of my pretzel consumers have died.  Yet.

Dave Merritt's picture
Dave Merritt

Diastatic malt powder is commonly used for beer making.  Try you local brewing supply stores to buy some for your bagel making!