Bagels were invented in the late 16th century in Poland for Lent. And for good reason. They’re compact, filling, and delicious. This is a recipe I’ve made before and it never fails. Depending on my mood, I’ll either make my bagels chewy or crispy. Today was a crispy day. Boiling them is crucial for a nice crust. I also baked them on my stone instead of a rack. This made them really dense and crispy as I like them. I used bread flour as well for a chewier crumb.
Bagel dough is stiffer and more dense than typical bread dough. It is especially so if using bread flour like I did. You can use all purpose if you want a lighter more airy crumb. I like the higher gluten flour for more protein and density though.
They will puff up A LOT during rising time to space them pretty far away, at least 2 inches from each other. Because these were for sandwiches for the week, I let them rise enough to block out the middle hole. “Then it’s not a bagel” you might say. Well, I didn’t want sandwich guts falling through while I eat it for lunch.
Boiling them lets the outer surface soak up water and when it goes into the hot oven, will form a nice crust. This is similar to spraying water into the oven when you put your french bread in there. The steam makes it form a crust For bagels, I like a thicker crust and boiling does just that.
They were on the stone for a few minutes then flipped to crust the other side. Now it’s perfect for toast or a sandwich!
Bagels and breakfast go together like bacon and eggs.
I normally say 5 cups flour here, but weight is more accurate. A properly scooped cup usually weights 4 ounces so I go with weight. Plus, you’ll be adding flour here and there to make it more dense.
2 cups warm water, about 110 F
2 t active dry yeast
3 T sugar, plus 1 T separated
20 ounces bread flour (about 5 cups)
2 t salt
2 t olive oil
2 T cornmeal (if desired)
sesame seeds (optional)
Combine yeast, water, and 3 T sugar in bowl and mix. While it’s foaming, weigh out flour. In a stand mixer on low, mix in 4 cups of the flour and salt and let the dough come together.
Add 1/2 cup flour at a time to make a stiff dough. When stiff, turn out onto floured surface and knead (I find that with a dough this stiff, kneading in the mixer is inefficient). Add more flour as needed and knead until smooth and no longer sticky, about 5 minutes.
Grease a bowl with oil and add dough. Turn to coat and let rise until doubled, about an hour.
Remove from bowl, punch down, and divide into 12 pieces (you can weigh them here for accuracy). Form into a ball, roll out into a log, then join the two ends and pinch or roll them together to bind the ends.
*note: this will make 12 decent 3-4″ bagels. If you want larger ones, make 8-9 bagels
Place bagels on a greased baking sheet or floured surface if using your baking stone. Cover with a clean towel and let rest for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 F at this time.
In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Add the 1 T sugar to water. In small batches, add bagels and let them float on surface for 30 seconds each side. Flip onto the prepared greased sheet or surface. Bake for 5 minutes, flip over and bake another 30-35 minutes. I sprinkled sesame seeds on them after the boil so they’d stick to the dough. You’d do the same with poppy seeds.
Cool on a rack and store when cool.