Ahhh the smell of freshly baked bagels brings instant happiness to my soul! Now, you would think that making homemade bagels from scratch is super complicated and that it would be easier to buy store made bagels. But believe me, making bagels is an easy process! It does not need too much dedication or any special skills. This is a same-day homemade bagel recipe that comes together in two hours. Making bagels from scratch allows you to enjoy them while they are still warm, toasty and fresh! They also make your kitchen smell so good! Let me share with you how to make homemade bagels from scratch.
Origin Of Bagels
The first reference to bajgiel (in Polish) appeared in the “Community Regulations”, Jewish community ordinances, of the city of Kraków in 1610. It stated that the bread was given as a gift to women who just gave birth.
However the history of bagels goes a bit further back than that. The Polish had actually been making a bread called obwarzanek since at least the fourteenth century. The first mention of obwarzanek dates from 1394 and is found in the accounts of the Polish royal household. This bread was made specifically for Queen Jadwiga.
If we go back even a little further back in time it is exactly in Germany that ring-shaped communion breads started to be popular outside of monasteries to become the pretzel that we know today. Pretzels are believed to have been originally ring-shaped.
In the United States, bagels arrived with the Eastern European immigrants of the late 19th-century. They didn’t emerge into the mainstream until the 1970’s. Although so many new varieties of bagels have now appeared all over the world, the original plain water bagels were made by placing the risen dough into boiling water, then draining, cooling, and baking them util golden brown.
There are a number of baked goods that resemble a bagel all around the world. The bublik in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. In Turkey it is called the simit. In Serbia we have a similar version, called the djevrek. It seems that like many popular baked goods, the history of these recipes is rooted in many cultures around the world in some way. In time we have adapted and popularized many traditional recipes such as the bagel.
Homemade Bagel From Scratch Ingredients
Most recipes for a bagel dough require only five ingredients!
Here is what you will need for these homemade bagels from scratch:
Bread Flour or High Grade Flour – A high protein flour is necessary for bagels. We want a dense and chewy texture, not soft and airy like cinnamon rolls. Bread flour has more protein and produces more gluten, which means chewier bagels. However if you cannot get your hands on bread flour, a high grade flour will do the job too!
Salt – Adds some great flavour to the bagels. I like to be slightly generous with the salt.
Luke Warm Water – Your water needs to be luke warm. This will help the yeast activate and bind the flour and other ingredients into a smooth, elastic bagel dough. On the rare occasion, you may need a little more water than listed in the recipe.
Active Dry Yeast – The yeast helps the dough form and rise. We’re using active dry, not instant. The bagels couldn’t rise without it!
Granulated Sugar – Sugar is used in this recipe to slightly sweeten the bagel dough and most importantly to activate the yeast.
Making The Bagel Dough
A lengthy knead stretches and develops the dough. Kneading helps disperse ingredients in the dough. It also develops the gluten bonds that give bread its strength and structure. Bagel dough does take quiet a bit of kneading.
I start the process in a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. First add the flour and salt. Once the yeast has risen, pour the yeast mixture straight in the middle. Start kneading on low speed. After five or so minutes, remove the dough from the stand mixer and continue kneading with your hands. I usually knead the dough for a further two or three minutes. Then shape the dough into a well rounded ball and place in a greased bowl for it to rest. The dough should rest and rise for at least an hour and a half. It can sometimes take up to two hours, depending on the temperature in your kitchen. You may find that if your environment is super warm – an hour is plenty of time for the dough to double in size.
How To Shape The Bagels
There are many methods in which you can shape a bagel. There is a more traditional method that many bagel shops use which is rolling the bagel dough into logs and binding the ends together. The method used here is done by simply poking the hole in the middle of the rolled ball of the dough.
I personally like making balls first. First you cut the dough into eight equal portions, then form each one into tight balls. You should let them rest for 20 – 30 minutes in a warm spot, covered with a clean towel. Once they have rested it is time to give them their true bagel look. To make the holes in the bagels, push through the center of the bagel (with your thumb), and then rip through the bottom with your finger and form a hole. Use your thumbs to gently work a hole into the center of the ball and try to make the hole about 1 cm wide. As soon as you make the hole it will shrink back a little and this is normal. This is when the bagels will be ready to boil.
Why Boil The Bagels?
Bagels must boil for one minute on each side in a pot of boiling water. Breads such as bagels and pretzels are made by boiling them first because boiling sets the crust before it is placed in the oven.
With bagels, the water doesn’t actually get very far into the bread because the starch on the exterior quickly gels and forms a barrier. This is why your bagel will look somewhat wrinkly after boiling and this is completely normal. Do not freak out! Bagels are typically boiled for 30-60 seconds on each side. The longer the boil, the thicker and chewier crust. I would recommend not boiling your bagels for more than two minutes on each side.
I prefer my bagels to be boiled one minute on each side. Also, since the crust is already set before bagels are put in the oven, the bagels don’t rise very much when baked in the oven. In addition to the high-protein flour that is used, this helps give bagels their popular chewy insides. Skipping the boiling step makes a ‘regular’ bread. It loses that characteristic bagel texture. Boiling sets bagels apart.
And The Toppings…
Everyone has a favorite bagel topping! They’re fantastic plain, as an everything bagel or with a sesame seed or poppy seed topping. I personally love to mix in sesame seeds, poppy seeds and a bit of salt together, this is my favorite option. I should mention that I am quiet generous with my toppings!
You can attach the toppings in two ways: with or without an egg wash. I think the egg wash adds an extra-delicious chew, and it helps the topping adhere better to the baked bagels. However, you can also dip the boiled bagels directly into the topping without an egg wash.
How To Store Bagels
The only disadvantage of bagels is they go stale fast. My advice is that if you want to store them for a week, let them cool all the way, put them in a plastic bag, and keep them anywhere in your kitchen away from heat and air.
If you want to freeze them, slice them in half first and then put them in a freezer bag. You can leave them in there for months. And if you’ve frozen them sliced, you can just stick them right into the toaster.
Happiness is fresh bagels and cream cheese.– Unknown
Homemade Bagels From Scratch
- 500 g bread flour or high grade flour
- 25 g sugar
- 1 sachet instant yeast (about 8g )
- 310 ml luke warm water
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 egg (for the egg wash)
- Oil for greasing a bowl
For The Seasoning
- 25 g sesame seeds
- 20 g poppy seeds
- 1 tsp salt
- In 310 ml of the luke warm water, pour in the sugar and yeast. Give this a gentle stir. Let it sit for 8 – 10 min in a warm spot. It should become foamy.
- Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle and pour in the yeast and sugar mixture.
- With a dough hook, mix the dough on a low speed for roughly five minutes or until the dough has combined and is scraping off from the sides of the bowl.
- Transfer the dough on a floured counter top, knead the dough for a further few minutes until it is smooth and elastic. Work the dough to form a firm and elastic dough.
- Lightly brush a large bowl with oil and place the dough into the bowl. Cover the bowl with a damp dish towel. Let rise in a warm place for and hour and a half or until doubled in size.
- Once the dough is ready, transfer it back onto a floured counter top. Carefully divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a round firm ball. Arrange the balls onto a tray that has been lined with baking paper. Cover and let them rest for a further twenty minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 180 º C.
- Coat a finger in flour, and gently press your thumb into the center of each dough ball to form a ring. Repeat the same step with the remaining dough and place each bagel back on the baking sheet.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Reduce the heat slightly. Use a slotted spoon or skimmer to lower the bagels into the water. Depending on the size of your pot, place two or three bagels in the boiling water at a time. Once the bagels are in, boil them for one minute, and then flip them over to boil for another minute. Extend the boiling times to 2 minutes each, if you’d prefer a chewier bagel.
- Once the bagels are boiled, place them back on the baking paper.
- Brush each bagel with the egg wash and sprinkle the sesame seed, poppy seed and salt seasoning on top. Spread the seasoning generously!
- Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until golden brown. My bagels bake in the oven for 25 minutes every time.
- Once the bagels are done, cool them on a wire rack. Serve warm or toasted.
- If you do not have bread flour, you can use all purpose flour or high grade flour. These will work great as well!
- The recipe does need about an hour and a half or two hours for the dough to rest. After you have prepared the dough you do not need to do anything else other than wait for the dough to rise! If you live in a warm place the dough may only need one hour to double in size. Or if you are in a colder environment it can take anywhere from and hour and a half to two hours.
- If you need to store the bagels for a later time, once they are cool, you can freeze the bagels. Slice them and then freeze them in a freezer-safe plastic bag, and let them thaw when needed.
- To keep the bagels fresh they cam stay in a resealable plastic bag at room temperature for up to two days.
Just thinking about these homemade bagels makes my mouth water. With this easy homemade bagels from scratch recipe you get delicious, chewy bagels every time. If you’re looking for a fun weekend project, give this bagel recipe a try. You only need a few basic ingredients to make it, and it’s surprisingly easy.