Homemade Bagels – The chewiest homemade bagels you’ll ever make, with the perfect crispy, shiny shell on the outside. You won’t ever want to toast your bagels again after trying these!
Carbs rule my world. No matter how hard I try to avoid them, they manage to sneak back in to my life. And bread is by-far my favorite carb of them all.
I’ve made a few breads on the blog so far, including these garlic herb rolls, this festive pumpkin Challah, and, my most recent attempt, these super-fluffy sweet yeast rolls. And this week I have two more breads to add to the list!
The first is for chewy Homemade Bagels.
I actually tried to make my own bagels years ago. After successfully attempting the classic butter croissants, I felt invincible. Therefore, I felt confident enough to keep attempting more challenging recipes. Welp, the bagels didn’t turn out as great as the croissants, let me tell ya. They were tough and, frankly, not very pretty. So I just kind of gave up on them.
Fast forward almost 7 years later and I decided to go for attempt number two. But not without some research.
To begin my research, I had to decide what was important to me when it came to a great bagel. Here’s what I settled on:
- Chewy texture on the inside
- Crispy texture on the outside WITHOUT the need for toasting
Yup, those two things are all I needed. When it comes to bagels, I’m surprisingly simple. But don’t be fooled – those two things require very important steps in the bagel-making process.
- The bagels need time to rise slowly to help the yeast work its magic. Like a lot of time. So the best recipes I found have the bagels rising overnight in the refrigerator.
- Breads need some sugar to feed the yeast. But for bagels, this sugar comes in the form of barley malt syrup. It adds the signature flavor and color to the bagels, so don’t skip this ingredient! I had a tough time finding it at my local grocery store, but Amazon pulled through for me.
- Bread flour is a MUST! To get that chewy texture that I require, the flour has to be loaded with the right amount of protein and gluten. Enter bread flour. This also makes the dough much more stiff than, say, cinnamon roll dough. So the kneading process will be a little tougher than you’re used to, probably – at least it was for me.
- Like pretzels, bagels need a bath in boiling baking soda water to achieve a gorgeous crust on the outside. The barley malt syrup also comes into play for this step to add more color to the exterior.
- And finally, to help get the crust to the perfect crispiness that I love, I gave in and purchased a pizza stone to bake the bagels on. The stone retains heat at the perfect temperature, which helps the bagels cook evenly and build a gorgeous crust on the outside.
So how did the bagels turn out this time?? Guys….they were INCREDIBLE! Despite all my research and hard work, I was so worried that these bagels would be dry and bland. But they came out so chewy and crispy and heavenly.
I made three kinds: sesame seed, poppy seed, and plain. My absolute favorite bagel is a rosemary and olive oil bagel that I tried a couple years ago at a restaurant in Pittsburgh so keep a look out for this variation next. Or maybe a cinnamon raisin version since it’s my husband’s favorite.
Though you guys have a lot of information above about the bagel-making process, here are a couple more tips I have that are specific to this recipe:
- Above, I mention that this dough is tougher than other bread dough. Therefore, your mixer will be working hard to knead this dough so make sure you do not leave your mixer unattended because it’ll be moving around a bit. You don’t want it falling off the counter!
- Baking times can vary based on your oven and the size of the bagels. I had some bagels that were ready before others so make sure to keep an eye on the bagels as they reach the end of the baking process, in case they need to be rotated around or removed early.
Alright guys – that’s all I got! Like I said, I’ve got another killer bread recipe for you this week so make sure to come back on Thursday to check it out! Any guesses what it could be???? Hint: olive oil is a MAJOR ingredient.
Here are all the kitchen tools and serveware that I used in today’s recipe. For each item sold below, I make a small commission. I only recommend items that I own and love so you can trust that each recommendation is tried and true. Thank you for supporting CPA!
For the bagels:
- 1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- 22 ounces bread flour (I measured in grams for more precision - 623 grams)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 4 teaspoons barley malt syrup
- 3 tablespoons cornmeal for dusting
- 1/2 cup sesame seeds
- 1/2 cup poppy seeds
For the bagel bath:
- 3 quarts water
- 1 1/2 tablespoons barley malt syrup
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
For the bagel dough:
- Place warm water in a small bowl. Sprinkle instant yeast over the water and let it sit to foam a little. It should take no more than 10 minutes. If it does not foam, the water was not the right temperature or the yeast is dead (expired). Prepare large baking sheet by dusting with cornmeal. Set aside.
- Combine flour, salt, and barley malt syrup in the bowl of a stand mixer using a dough hook. Add in yeast mixture and mix on low or until dough starts to come together, about 4 minutes. Now it's time to knead the dough. Increase speed to medium-low and beat for 7-10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and stiff. It should not be sticky, whatsoever.
- Remove dough from bowl and onto clean work surface. Cut dough into 8 equal pieces. Roll into smooth bowls and place on prepared baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough sit, untouched, for 5 minutes.
- Once rested, remove one dough ball from baking sheet, Using your thumb, poke a hole all the way through the center of the ball. Using your thumb as a guide, expand the hole to make the bagel shape. The dough should form a 4-inch bagel. Repeat with the other dough balls. Place the dough balls back onto baking sheet and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator to rise overnight (about 12-14 hours).
- When you're ready to make the bagels, place pizza stone in the oven and preheat to 450 degrees. Let it preheat for 30 mins-1 hour. Before we bake, we'll dip the bagels in a bath. See below.
For the bagel bath:
- While the oven preheats, let's dip the bagels in a bath to give them the shiny exterior. Fill large pot with 3 quarts of water and bring to a rolling boil. Reduce to a gentle simmer and then add barley malt syrup, baking soda, and salt. Give it a stir to combine.
- Place 3-4 bagels into bath and let them poach for 45 seconds. Flip and poach for another 45 seconds on the other side. Remove from liquid with a slotted spoon. Place onto cornmeal baking sheet and cover with sesame seeds, poppy seeds, or keep plain. Repeat with rest of the bagels.
- Once oven is preheated, add all bagels to pizza stone using a large spatula or pizza peel. If your pizza stone isn't large enough to hold all the bagels, bake them in batches. Bake bagels for 12-15 minutes or until they reach a nice golden brown top. Rotate bagels if some are browning faster than others.
- Remove from oven and let the bagels cool for at least 10 minutes before serving. Slice with a serrated knife and serve with your favorite spreads, like butter or cream cheese! Bagels are best on the day they're baked. But you can freeze the leftovers for up to two months. To defrost, microwave for 30 seconds.
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