Homemade Bagels

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So I’m pretty sure that during the making of this recipe Nathan got sick of hearing me say “Oh my gosh…these are amazing!!!” I just couldn’t stop myself…they were that good.
The thing is, I’m usually not a big fan of bagels…they’re often just a huge ball of bread and I would much prefer to eat something with more flavors, textures, and protein. These bagels, however, are an exception. They are light and almost airy on the inside with a chewy and tangy exterior and a bottom crust with a hint of crunch. Toasting puts them over the top and with a generous smear of cream cheese…I just have no words…for someone that normally doesn’t care for bagels these rocked my world. We made a plain bagel base and then jazzed them up with toppings (cheddar cheese, jalapenos, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, and onion) before baking them in the oven. I thought that bagels were complicated and time consuming but they really only require about the same amount of time and effort as baking a loaf of bread. And as you may have gathered I think the time and effort is more than worth it! Abandon your search for the perfect bagelry (unless you live in NY and are surrounded by perfect bagelries) and just try these!

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Katryn’s Wine Pairing: Heinz Eifel
2012 Riesling

7.0 out of 10.0

I have mixed feelings about this wine…it was a nice contrast to the cheddar jalapeno bagel but with the other bagel varieties it fell a bit flat. It didn’t have a strong ‘wine’ flavor and honestly tasted more like a tart fruit juice (which is an attribute I don’t look for in a wine!) However, for being a ‘breakfast wine’ that could actually be a good thing. It’s slightly lower in alcohol than your average wine (10%) and has flavors of green apple, pear, and peach. Overall, I think this works as a light breakfast wine but I wouldn’t choose it to drink alone or with an evening meal. That being said…if you prefer sweeter wines without an overt ‘wine’ flavor this wine is for you!

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Nathan’s Beer Pairing:  Anchor Bock Beer, Anchor Brewing Co.
Rating: 7.0 out of 10.0

I normally love beer from Anchor Brewing Co. but their seasonal ‘bock’ beer left a little to be desired. The roasted malt and barley make for a nice, dark, and toasty beer but as the beer rolls down your throat you are confronted with an slight sour/bitter flavor which I found unpleasant. Luckily, the roasted flavors of the beer complimented the malt flavors in the bagels really well and the cream cheese and other toppings on the bagels masked the unpleasant sour notes in the beer. I think a dark ‘bock’ beer or any other dark beers such as a stout which a traditionally considered ‘breakfast beers’ would work great with these bagels.

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Homemade Bagels:

Based on this recipe


1 ½ cups tepid water (105°F to 110°F) plus 1 tablespoon for the egg wash
3 tsp. active dry yeast
4 cups bread flour
2 tablespoons malt syrup for the dough plus one teaspoon for the boiling water
2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 large egg white
Sesame seeds, poppy seeds, onion flakes, grated cheddar cheese, chopped jalapenos, and coarse salt for topping


1. Place 1 ½ cups of the tepid water in a bowl and dissolve the yeast completely; set aside. Combine flour, malt syrup, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. Add yeast mixture, scraping any undissolved yeast out of the bowl with a spatula.

2. Mix on low until most of the loose flour has been worked into the dough and the dough looks shredded, about 2 minutes. Increase the speed to medium low and continue mixing until the dough is stiff, smooth, and elastic, about 8 to 9 minutes more. (If the dough gets stuck on the hook or splits into 2 pieces, stop the machine, scrape off the hook, and mash the dough back into the bottom of the bowl.) The dough should be dry, not tacky or sticky, and somewhat stiff.

3. Shape the dough into a ball, place it in a large oiled bowl, and turn it to coat in oil. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let the dough rise in a warm place, until it is noticeably puffy and springs back when you poke it, about 20 minutes. (The dough will not double in size.)

4. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 425°F and arrange the rack in the middle. Fill a large, wide, shallow pan (about 3 to 6 quarts) with water, bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium low and let simmer. Cover until you’re ready to boil the bagels. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper greased with oil or cooking spray. Place a metal rack inside of a second baking sheet and set aside.

5. Turn the risen dough out onto a dry surface. Divide the dough into 11-12 equal pieces, about 3 ounces each. (While you work, keep the dough you’re not handling covered with a damp towel to prevent drying.) Roll each piece into a 9-inch-long rope, lightly moisten the ends with water, overlap the ends by about 1 inch, and press to join so you’ve created a bagel. As necessary, widen the hole in the middle so it is approximately the size of a quarter. Cover the shaped bagels with a damp towel and let rest 10 minutes.

6. After resting, stretch the dough to retain the quarter-size hole (the dough will have risen a bit). Add the teaspoon of baking soda and the teaspoon of malt syrup to the simmering water. Boil the bagels 3 or 4 at a time, making sure they have room to bob around. Cook for about 30 seconds on each side until the bagels have a shriveled look, then remove to the baking sheet with the rack in it. Adjust heat as necessary so the water stays at a simmer.

7. Whisk together the remaining 1 tablespoon water and the egg white until evenly combined. Brush the egg wash all over the bagels, then sprinkle as desired with poppy seeds, sesame seeds, or coarse salt. Arrange the bagels on the baking sheet lined with parchment paper about 1 inch apart and bake. Rotate the pan after 15 minutes and bake until the bagels are a deep caramel color and have formed a crust on the bottom and top, about 10 minutes more. Remove from the oven and let cool on a rack for at least 30 minutes so the interiors finish cooking and the crusts form a chewy exterior.

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5 Responses to Homemade Bagels

  1. Kent Norman says:

    You guys need to open a bagel shop so that I don’t need to make bagels. These look great! I can wait to get a new olfactory peripheral for my computer so that I can smell them!

  2. Cierra says:

    The bagels in my house never look like this in the morning! Can you guys cater? Everything looks delicious!

    • Nathan says:

      Thanks Cierra! You should try making these bagels! They are surprisingly easy to make and they will last for a few days in a paper bag or you can freeze some of them in the freezer too.

      As long as you are somewhere along the Red Line in DC maybe I can look into dropping of some bagels!

  3. Sofia says:

    Wine/beer and bagels…does it get any better?!!

  4. Liat says:

    These look incredible! I’m a terrible baker, but will have to give them a try!

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