Homemade Bagels Recipe - New York Style

Homemade Bagels have a reputation for being a bit tricky to make. In fact, they are not. They take a little time, but for most of that time you are waiting for them to rise rather than doing anything to them. Andy often makes them for breakfast at the weekend and this is his homemade bagels recipe.

Homemade Bagels

Homemade Bagels are not like shop bought bagels

I first discovered Bagels when I worked briefly in New York in my early 20s (long story, another blog post altogether in fact). I'd never heard of them, I couldn't even work out how to pronounce them. Admittedly, this was a long time ago.

Anyway a bagel with smoked salmon and cream cheese for lunch was a revelation to me. When I returned back to the UK there wasn't a bagel to be had anywhere. Then when they did start appearing, they weren't flavourful and doughy like the ones I remembered. More like bullets really.

Homemade bagels are not like bullets. Yes they are chewy, that's how you want them to be. But they are also soft and taste fantastic. And you can decide how chewy you want them, depending on how long you boil them for (see recipe below). Homemade Bagels served with homemade butter... well. The stuff dreams are made of really.

Homemade Bagels Recipe - New York Style


  1. In ½ cup (120ml) of the warm water, pour in the sugar and yeast. Do not stir. Let it stand for five minutes
  2. Now stir the mixture until it all dissolves in the water, forming what looks like weak tea.
  3. Mix the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl
  4. Make a well in the middle of the dry mixture and pour in the yeast and sugar mixture.
  5. Pour  ⅓  cup / 80ml of warm water into the well. Mix and then add more water as needed until you have an elastic dough mix.
  6. Flour a countertop and knead the dough for 10 minutes, adding flour to the countertop as you go.
  7. Oil a large bowl, pop the dough in the bowl and cover with a damp tea towel. Leave to rise for 1 hour.
  8. Punch the dough down and let it rest for 10 minutes.
  9. Divide the dough into 8 pieces and shape each piece into a round dough ball.
  10. Now take a dough ball, flatten it slightly with your hand and then, using a finger you have covered in flour, push through the centre to make a hole.
  11. Shape the hole so that you have a hole approx 1" big.
  12. When done place on an oiled baking tray.
  13. Repeat with the other seven dough balls.
  14. When all eight are done cover them with a damp tea towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
  15. Now preheat your oven to 180C Fan or 200C Conventional and put a large pot of water on the stove and bring to the boil.
  16. When the pot of water comes to the boil, reduce the heat.
  17. Once the bagels have rested for 10 minutes, using a slotted spoon, lower them into the water to cook.
  18. Once they float to the surface they should be boiled for 1 minute, then flipped over and cooked for 1 more minute. If you want more chewy bagels, increase the time to 2 minutes for each side.
  19. If you are using toppings, add them when you take the bagels out of the water as they are sticky and toppings will easily stick to them. You could use an egg wash if you wanted to, but it's not necessary.
  20. Once all the bagels have been boiled and toppings added, transfer them to a baking tray lined with baking parchment.
  21. Ensuring the oven is to temperature, pop them in and bake for 20 minutes.
  22. After 20 minutes, check on the bagels. If they are just starting to go slightly brown, increase the oven temperature by 20C, so 200C for Fan and 220C for Conventional.
  23. If they aren't yet going slightly brown, pop them back for 3 minutes at a time, until they are. Then increase the oven temperature.
  24. Bake for a further 5 minutes at the higher heat.
  25. Take them out and let them cool on a wire rack.
  26. Best served whilst still hot with homemade butter!

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