Homemade Bagel Recipe - Love and Lemons (2024)

Just thinking about this homemade bagel recipe makes my mouth water. It's super easy to make, and it yields delicious, chewy bagels every time.

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Homemade Bagel Recipe - Love and Lemons (1)

Homemade Bagel Recipe - Love and Lemons (2)

This homemade bagel recipe is Jack’s new favorite thing to bake, and I couldn’t be happier! Like many of you, he’s been baking up a storm lately, churning out crusty loaves of sourdough filled with dried fruit, nuts, or roasted garlic. I love all of it, but I’m especially excited whenever he starts a new batch of bagels. These may be homemade, but they have all the essential qualities of a good bagel: a shiny exterior, a lightly sweet and salty flavor, and a perfect chewy bite. To take them over the top, we coat them generously in crunchy, garlicky Everything Seasoning. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

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. Best of all, it’s a great recipe to make with someone you love – you can shape the bagels together, and one person can boil them while the other piles on the bagel topping. Then, if you’re anything like Jack and me, you’ll watch them through the oven window as they bake, anticipating eating the warm, puffy homemade bagels fresh out of the oven.

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Bagel Recipe Ingredients

This bagel recipe has 3 parts: the dough, the poaching liquid, and the bagel topping. Here’s what you’ll need for each one:

The Dough

  • Bread flour – Because of its high protein content, bread flour makes these homemade bagels delightfully chewy. This recipe also works with all-purpose flour, they’re just a bit less chewy than bagels made with bread flour.
  • Maple syrup – It activates the yeast and gives the bagels a hint of sweetness.
  • Warm water – Along with the maple syrup, it gets the yeast going, and it brings the dough together.
  • Active dry yeast – They couldn’t rise without it!
  • Sea salt – It’s key for really flavorful homemade bagels.

The Poaching Liquid

Did you know that you have to boil bagels before you bake them? It gives them their signature chewy, shiny coating, and it keeps them from puffing up too much and losing their holes in the oven. I boil them in a mix of maple syrup, baking soda, salt, and water to give them a light golden brown color, a crave-worthy chewy exterior, and a nice shiny finish.

And the toppings!

Everyone has a favorite bagel topping, and Jack and I are 100% on team Everything. We like to coat our bagels in a homemade Everything Bagel Seasoning, but feel free to top them however you’d like! They’re fantastic plain, or with a sesame seed or poppy seed topping.

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, this bagel recipe is vegan.

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

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How to Make Bagels

Ready to learn how to make bagels? Check out this step-by-step guide first, and then find the full recipe at the bottom of this post!

First, make the dough. Activate the yeast by mixing it with warm water and maple syrup. When it foams, add it to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, and mix it with the flour and salt until the dough is smooth and not sticky, about 5 to 7 minutes.

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Then, transfer the dough to a clean work surface and knead by hand for 2 to 3 minutes. Form it into a ball and place it in a large bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set it aside for 60 to 90 minutes, until the dough has almost doubled in size.

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Now for the fun part: shaping the bagels! Turn the dough out onto an un-flouredwork surface and divide it into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball.

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Sprinkle a few drops of water onto the work surface, and roll each dough ball into a rope about 9 inches long.

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Place one hand palm up so that your four fingers are centered on top of the rope. Fold each side of the dough over your fingers, so that the ends overlap by about 2 inches. Holding the dough, turn your hand over and roll it on the countertop to seal the two ends together.

Place the finished bagels onto 2 parchment-lined baking sheets, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.

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The next morning, boil and bake! Remove the dough from the fridge, and let it sit at room temperature for 1 hour while you preheat the oven and bring the poaching liquid to a boil.

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Working in batches, add the bagels to the boiling water and cook them for 1 minute per side. Return them to the baking sheets, coat them with your desired bagel topping, and bake for 14 to 18 minutes, or until they’re lightly golden brown. Enjoy!

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Bagel Recipe Tips

  • Weigh your flour.Because this bagel recipe uses a large amount of flour, you should weigh it if you can. This way, you’ll know exactly how much flour you’re using. Cup measurements are much less precise, as they can vary based on a variety of factors (your specific measuring cups, how tightly you pack your flour, etc.). If you don’t have a kitchen scale, check outthis postfor my besttips on measuring flour with measuring cups.
  • Let the dough rise somewhere warm.Yeast responds to warmth, so, for an extra productive rise, stick the dough somewhere warm. We like to put ours on a sunny windowsill!
  • Keep it covered. To keep the bagel dough moist and pliable, always cover it with plastic wrap when you’re not working with it. Cover all of it during its initial rise and its overnight rise, and cover any dough you’re not working with while you shape the bagels.
  • Don’t boil the bagels until they float.Before you start boiling the bagels, place one into a small bowl of water to see if it floats. If it does, the bagels are ready to cook! If it doesn’t, let the bagel dough proof for an additional 30 minutes, or until one floats. This test ensures that the dough contains plenty of air – if you cook it too soon, your homemade bagels will be dense.

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Homemade Bagels Serving Suggestions

Topped with my vegan carrot lox (or regular lox), cream cheese, and classic fixings like cucumbers, capers, and dill, these homemade bagels make a fantastic weekend brunch.

I also like to toast one for a quick breakfast or lunch. Then, I top it with cream cheese, mashed avocado, hummus, or baba ganoush, or I make it into a sandwich. Lately, I’ve been loving these homemade bagels with my egg salad, vegan egg salad, and chickpea salad sandwich fillings.

Store the homemade bagels in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. For longer storage, freeze them for up to 2 months.

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More Favorite Baking Recipes

If you love this bagel recipe, try one of these baking projects next:

  • Homemade Cinnamon Rolls
  • No-Knead Bread
  • Rosemary Focaccia Bread
  • Homemade Pizza Dough
  • Steamed Bao Buns
  • Or any of these 25 Super Fun Baking Recipes!

Homemade Bagel Recipe - Love and Lemons (14)

Homemade Bagels

rate this recipe:

4.89 from 138 votes

Prep Time: 1 hour hr

Cook Time: 30 minutes mins

Serves 8

Save RecipePrint Recipe

Note: this homemade bagel recipe requires overnight resting time, plus 1 hour to proof in the morning. We like to make the dough the night before, and boil and bake the final bagels in the morning.

Ingredients

For the dough

  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup or barley malt syrup
  • 1 pkg. (¼-ounce) active dry yeast, (2¼ teaspoons)
  • cups warm water
  • 540 grams bread flour*
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt

For the poaching water

  • tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ tablespoon salt

For the toppings

  • 1 egg white plus 1 tablespoon water, optional
  • Everything Bagel Seasoning, for sprinkling

Instructions

  • Prepare the dough: In a small bowl, combine the maple syrup, yeast, and water, and proof for 5 minutes or until foamy.

  • In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment, place the flour, salt, and the yeast mixture. Mix on medium-low speed for 5 to 7 minutes, until the dough is well-formed around the hook. If the dough is very dry after 3 minutes, add 1 tablespoon water. (Note: I don't recommend mixing this dough without a stand mixer, it's a stiff dough that gets nice and smooth this way).

  • Transfer the dough to a clean work surface and knead 2 to 3 minutes, until smooth and barely tacky, then form into a ball and place into a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm spot for 60 to 90 minutes, until the dough has risen (it may double in size or slightly less).

  • Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, grease them very lightly with oil, and set aside. Turn the dough out onto a clean, unfloured, work surface and divide into 8 pieces. Form each piece into a ball by rolling on the countertop with a cupped hand. As you work with each piece through the next few steps, keep the dough that you’re not working with covered in plastic wrap.

  • Sprinkle a few drops of water onto the countertop. Take each dough ball and roll into a rope about 9 inches long. Place one hand palm up so that your four fingers are centered on top of the rope. Fold each side of the dough over your fingers, so that the ends overlap by about 2 inches. (see photo above). Holding the dough, turn your hand over and roll your hand on the countertop to seal the two ends together.

  • Place each finished piece onto a baking sheet. Dust the tops with a very slight amount of flour to keep the plastic wrap from sticking to the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

  • The next morning, remove the pans from the fridge and let sit at room temp for 1 hour.

  • Preheat the oven to 450°F.

  • Place one bagel into a small bowl of water to make sure it floats. If it sinks, let the dough proof for an additional 30 minutes or until one floats.

  • Prepare the poaching water: In a large pot, bring two quarts of water to a boil with the maple syrup, baking soda, and salt.

  • Add 3 bagels (or as many that comfortably fit) to the pot, reducing the heat if the water starts to boil over. Boil for 1 minute per side. Transfer the bagels back to the baking sheet, flipping them over so the smooth side is on top. Repeat with remaining bagels.

  • Prepare the toppings: Beat the egg white and water together in a small bowl, if desired. Brush the bagels with the egg wash and sprinkle with the seasoning. Alternatively, you can skip the egg wash and dip the top of the bagel straight into the seasoning, but the egg wash helps the seasoning adhere better to the bagel.

  • Bake for 14 to 18 minutes or until lightly golden brown.

Notes

*Note: I highly recommend weighing your flour for this recipe since it’s a high quantity of flour and measuring with measuring cups can often result in too much flour which will result in dry dough. The cup conversion is 4 1/3 cups, but I can't guarantee results without precisely weighed flour.

This recipe also works with (540 grams) all-purpose flour, they're just a bit less chewy than bagels made with bread flour.

Homemade Bagel Recipe - Love and Lemons (2024)

FAQs

What is the secret to making bagels? ›

10 Tips for Making Schmear-Worthy Homemade Bagels
  • Moisture: Wetter dough means crispier bagels. ...
  • Water temp: The colder the better. ...
  • Dry active yeast: Let it chill. ...
  • Flour: Embrace the gluten. ...
  • Mixing: Low and slow is the way to go. ...
  • The rise: Your kitchen climate is A-okay. ...
  • Flavor kick: After the proof.
Jan 13, 2023

Are homemade bagels healthier than store bought? ›

Enjoy bagels a healthier way by making them at home and considering some alterations. Store-bought options are not usually the healthiest. Many are made with more sugar than necessary and unhealthy ingredients. Making bagels at home allows you to see exactly what is being put into your mix.

What makes a bagel taste good? ›

Salt is sometimes added for flavor, as is barley malt syrup or non-diastatic malt powder (for a New York bagel), or honey (in the case of a Montreal bagel); sugars like malt and honey also increase the bagel's sheen.

What kind of flour is best for bagels? ›

Bread flour – Because of its high protein content, bread flour makes these homemade bagels delightfully chewy. This recipe also works with all-purpose flour, they're just a bit less chewy than bagels made with bread flour. Maple syrup – It activates the yeast and gives the bagels a hint of sweetness.

What makes bagels in New York so good? ›

a regular bagel is the water you boil them in. Much like a specific vineyard terroir is used to make a wine, certain minerals in New York City tap water are attributed to creating the best bagels. These include low concentrations of calcium and magnesium and a high level of sediment.

Is it OK to eat a bagel everyday? ›

"The portion size of most packaged bagels is equal to just over three slices of bread. Enjoying a bagel every morning is fine if you watch your portion size. Consider eating half a bagel one day and the other half the next day," says Laura M. Ali, M.S., RDN, a culinary nutritionist in Pittsburgh.

Why are bagels more unhealthy than bread? ›

First, bagels can have more calories and carbs than bread because the serving size tends to be higher. However, this does not inherently make bagels less healthy, it just means when you eat a bagel you need to pay attention to how much you're eating and what you're pairing with it.

How long do homemade bagels last? ›

Fresh bagels are best eaten on the same day they're baked. When stored at room temperature in a paper bag, fresh bagels can last for about two to three days. Fresh bagels can last for about three to four months when stored in the freezer, and thawed in a toaster.

What happens if you don't boil bagels before baking? ›

If you don't boil your bagels, you'll be baking round bread. There's more to a bagel than the shape. The boiling sets the crust of the bagel to get the signature thin crunchy crust. It also affects the texture of the bread inside.

Is it better to boil bagels in honey or baking soda? ›

The Secret To A Perfectly-Browned Bagel Crust

Some people like to add sugar to their bagel boiling water, whether in the form of brown sugar, honey, or malt syrup. While this adds a slight sweetness, it doesn't appear to contribute to the browning process very much. Baking soda, on the other hand, works like a charm.

What's the difference between a New York bagel and a regular bagel? ›

Many people claim the main difference in taste and texture of a real New York bagel compared to other styles of bagels, is due to the use of New York City tap water, which contains certain minerals which they attribute to creating a better bagel, specifically the low concentrations of calcium and magnesium found in New ...

Can you make bagels with pizza dough? ›

but we have figured out a really easy way to make a really comparable delicious bagel. From pizza dough. you want to divide this up into balls about two to three ounces each. you want to form these into a rough ball shape and set them on a greased baking sheet.

Why are my homemade bagels so dense? ›

If your dough is too wet, it'll create large holes in the crumb of the dough and your bagels will be more like French bread, with a fluffy interior (see top photo). When too much flour is kneaded in, bagels become dense, hard and tough, instead of crisp and chewy.

Why are my homemade bagels chewy? ›

What Makes a Bagel Chewy? Bread flour is the essential ingredient to creating that distinct chewy bite we all crave in a bagel. Its high protein content creates a stiff dough that holds its shape while baking and develops more gluten for more chew.

How do you make homemade bagels less dense? ›

If you want a thinner crust and airier texture in your bagels, shorten the boiling time slightly (around 45 seconds, instead of the 60 seconds called for in the recipe). The shorter boil means the crust has less opportunity to preset, which allows more rising, and thus a “fluffier” bagel.

What makes New York bagels different from other bagels? ›

A New York–style bagel is always boiled in water that has had barley malt added, which gives a bagel its signature taste, texture, and leathery skin.

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