If you’re snowed in, trying to carbo load, found a really great deal on cream cheese or just need a project for the afternoon, why not make bagels? It may seem daunting, but really the process is quite simple and homemade bagels are exponentially better than store-bought.
1. Measure 2 Tablespoons yeast and 3 Tablespoons sugar into a bowl.
I use my Kitchenaid mixer, but you can use a regular bowl if you don’t might kneading dough by hand.
2. Add 1 1/2 cups hot water.
Lots of people freak out about yeast breads because they don’t know how hot to make the water. I know because I used to be one of those people, and when I first started using yeast I would use a candy thermometer to test the temperature of the water. You don’t have to go to those lengths! Just get the water in your kitchen sink faucet about as hot as a good hot bath (warmer than a baby’s bath, but not boiling). There is a sizeable window of acceptable temperatures here – if you see some bubbles in the yeast/sugar after you pour the water in (as in the picture above), you got it right. You don’t need to stir the yeast mixture, just let it sit for a few minutes while you do step 3.
3. In another large bowl, mix 2 cups of flour with 1 Tablespoon of salt. Mix with the yeast mixture.
If you’re using your mixer, add the flour to the yeast mixture. If you’re mixing by hand, add the yeast to the flour mixture. In either case, rinse out the big bowl when you’re done and grease it with butter or shortening and set it aside for later.
4. Add two more cups of flour and mix until dough is smooth and somewhat firm.
You might need to add a little more flour if the dough seems really sticky, but don’t add too much.
6. Divide the dough into 8 equal portions and form into balls. Cover and let rest for 5 minutes.
You can see from the photo above how I tuck the edges of the dough under to make the ball smooth on top. If you’re adding raisins or whatever to your bagels, very gently knead those in before forming the dough balls.
Here is a dough ball getting ready to rest.
7. Make holes in the dough balls, cover, and let rest again for 10 minutes. While the dough is resting, bring 2 quarts of water to a boil in a big pan and also preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
To shape the bagels, I poke a hole in the dough, stretch it out to look like a bagel, then sort of twist the the dough toward the hole in the center to make it smooth and uniform looking. It might take some practice, but the bagels will taste good even if they look odd, so fret not.
I boil the water in my stock pot, but you could also use a deep sauce pan. The key is to get a pan wide enough to hold the bagels and deep enough to flip them.
8. Toss two bagels into the boiling water and leave them there for 45 seconds, then flip to the opposite side and boil for another 45 seconds. Remove from water and let drain on a wire rack.
It’s a little weird to throw dough into boiling water, but do not omit this step. It’s what gives the bagels that chewy crust. I use a slotted spatula to turn the bagels and remove them, and I put a kitchen towel under the wire rack while they are draining. Keep going two by two until all the bagels have been boiled and drained.
9. Brush the boiled bagels with egg white, then place them on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.
If you don’t have an egg or don’t have a pastry brush or just don’t feel like doing this part, it’s ok to skip it. The egg white just makes the bagel shiny. Bagels taste ok if they are not shiny. If you’re adding cheese or cinnamon or whatnot to your bagels, add it after the egg white but before you bake the bagels. I use a silpat liner on my cookie sheet to keep the bagels from sticking. You could also grease the cookie sheet, or use parchment paper.
Homemade bagels are excellent hot from the oven with cream cheese, or as vehicles for sandwiches, or just eaten plain. You can’t go wrong with homemade bagels!
In case you need the recipe all in one place without pictorial interruptions, here it is.
2 Tablespoons yeast
3 Tablespoons sugar
1.5 cups hot water
4 cups flour, divided
1 Tablespoon salt
Raisins or other additions if you want them
1 egg white (optional)
Toppings like cheese or cinnamon sugar (optional)
1. Put yeast, sugar and water into a bowl, let sit for 3 minutes.
2. Mix 2 cups flour and salt in a large bowl.
3. Add flour mixture and yeast mixture together and mix in mixer or by hand until a smooth
firm dough forms.
4. Place dough in a large greased bowl, cover and let rise until double.
5. Form 8 dough balls and let rest for 5 minutes. If adding raisins or something, mix in before forming dough balls.
6. Make holes in dough balls and shape into bagel shapes, cover and let rise another 10 minutes while you boil 2 quarts of water and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
7. Drop bagels in boiling water, boil for 45 seconds on each side. Remove to drain on a wire rack.
8. Brush with egg white and top with toppings, if desired.
9. Bake 35 minutes.
Note: This recipe is modified from one I found originally on Tammy’s Recipes.