You’ve likely seen these bagels before. Luisa just raved about them last week.  Because of her wonderful post, I considered not posting them here—but it is too important. Think of this post as a public service announcement. You need to make these bagels. For those of you that have experienced the joy of making your first loaf of no-knead bread, this is like that, but with bagels. I mean, what else is there to say? You. Can. Make. Bagels. And not just any bagels, really amazing bagels.

The recipe (from Peter Reinhart) is available here or here. But I wanted to add my two cents to the process.

Bagel Notes:

The dough is very stiff, and not that easy to work with. Be careful if you use a stand mixer. The dough has destroyed mixers, at least according to the internet.
I kneaded my dough by hand for the suggested 2-3 minutes and it was far from smooth. It was sort of a mess. I freaked out a little. It definitely would have gotten a D on the windowpane test. But, I am lazy, so I just decided to proceed with the recipe and hope for the best. These bagels were the best, so I guess it all worked out in the end. My advice is not to stress about the dough at this stage, you’ll still have awesome bagels.

After the formed bagels have proofed in the fridge overnight, you drop one in a bowl of cold water to see if it floats. If is does (and this is what was left out of the recipe, but is included in Reinhart’s book) return the pan of bagels to the fridge until you are ready to boil them. Otherwise, you risk them over-proofing. If the bagel sinks, let it warm up a little more and try again. But again, once it floats return it to the fridge until you are ready to boil.

I used malt barley syrup, but I imagine honey would be fine, it is such a small amount. Luissa used both honey and all-purpose flour, and ended up with beautiful bagels. The recipe seems pretty forgiving. You can also add a tablespoon of barley malt syrup to the mixture you boil the bagels in.

You can top these with whatever you like. If you are using a topping, I recommend an eggwash to help the topping stick. It gets brushed on just before baking.

My biggest problem was that I didn’t join the ends as well as I should have when forming the rings. Press hard. Harder than you think. Otherwise, your bagel will unravel a little, which is actually not a big deal, but less perfect looking.

I strongly recommend that you make a double batch. This recipe makes 6 bagels. Unless you live alone and will not share these with anyone else, make a dozen. They freeze beautifully and Bryan and I managed to eat 7 in 2 days (we gave the rest to friends).

The bottom line is that this recipe is fantastic. Believe the hype. Make bagels.

41 comments to “BAGELS!”

  1. Lovely bagels! I have made Reinhart’s recipe once and while they were definitely really yummy, they didn’t get as browned as I wanted and were a little flat. I will have to try them again sometime…good to hear your tips! :)

  2. Yes! I love homemade bagels – they make you feel like a superstar in the kitchen even though they are relatively simple. My two cents are that I just used sugar because I didn’t have barley malt and it worked well, but I do suspect the barley malt might be slightly superior. I also used the thumb-through-center technique from the following recipe. It might not be traditional but it is certainly flawless.
    Yours came out beautifully! I’m inspired to make more this weekend.

  3. My goodness! All this rave about bagels. Your photos are amazing, I might have to jump on board!

  4. They look just incredible! And bagels have been on my to-make list for a while. Well, actually they’ve been on my “get the husband to make” list…since he is the bread maker at our gaff. Thanks for posting your thoughts – great photos!

  5. Oh boy. I don’t have time for these this weekend. Thanks a lot Tim.

  6. They look great! I’m all too often disappointed when I buy a bagels and they turn out to be bagel shaped bits of bread with none of the required chewiness of a real bagel so I think making my own might be the answer. With you and Luisa both talking so highly of this recipe I’ve been convinced that I must give it a go soon.

  7. I love these – they made me believe in doing it for yourself… so amazing..

  8. I had also made these before I’d seen Luisa’s post. I can also attest, they are amazing indeed!!

  9. Bagels are also on my to-make list. These look so delicious. Thanks for sharing.


  10. I do love homemade bagels and I have my go-to recipe. I’ve seen this one floating around but compared to mine it seems like so much work! I’ll have to try it though, just for the comparison!
    Yours look gorgeous. I bet they taste amazing.

  11. Gorgeous!! Yours are so pretty and plump. Next time I’m only making six.

  12. I didn’t think homemade bagels could be done, but after making pretzels for the first time, I started to realize they’d totally be possible. Thanks to you (and Luisa) for scouting out the perfect recipe…I’ll be trying my hand at these soon!

  13. I love all of this bagel love. I hope everyone tries them.
    Rachel- I think the recipe looks worse than it is. There is very little hand-on work, just a lot of waiting. If you try, let me know how they compare.

  14. Tim, this is certainly encouraging. I’m a big fan of Reinhart, but I have never been able to get this recipe right, for some reason. My bagels always turn out looking a little deflated. I’ve had trouble incorporating all of the flour called for because it was already so stiff (my arms were sore the next day!). Do you think I just need to suck it up and get all of that flour in for a properly resilient dough that will stand up to the boiling?

  15. Hi Katie, I didn’t have any problem with the flour getting absorbed. It was dry and stiff, but fully incorporated. I think get it together as best you can (even if you have to add an extra tablespoon or two of water) and then proceed. I mixed my dough in the morning, let it sit for a few hours and then formed the bagels mid-afternoon and let them proof overnight. The formed bagels probably were in the fridge for about 16 hours. Maybe the long proofing time added to their height? Mine also floated right away. Best of luck if you try again!

  16. Seductive pics! I’ve been wanting to make my own bagels and have chickened out every time. Maybe this is the inspiration I needed :)

  17. When a dough doesn’t form properly, it’s usually when I start to panic. For some reason, it never does when I mix whole wheat flour with all purpose flour. It doesn’t even rise and I have no idea why. But all purpose flour on it’s own, it’s like magic.

    I digress, but thanks for pointing out the bagel dough. I can already imagine myself freaking out if I encountered the dough such as you described the first time I make them.

    They look gorgeous though, exactly how it looks store bought! Hopefully some day I’ll find the time to get busy in the kitchen.

  18. i hear your service announcement. LOUD AND CLEAR. Will be making these soon…my fat ass thanks you.

  19. that last bagel photo? perfect.
    my hubby is a bagel-addict. me not so much UNLESS they are H&H from nyc.
    but yours really look good…soooo. i might have to give these a kicked up go

  20. Are bagels sensitive to how much you knead them?

    I’m actually intimidated by anything associated with yeast – just because I always think that I’m going to screw up somewhere with the rising and the kneading. But then again, it’s all in my head.

  21. I make bread but never bagels. Does this mean I’m now ethically obligated to try? I rather want to think so.

  22. i agree with katie, i did this recipe last spring and they deflated in the boiling water. Did you do that? Your bagels looks so puffy! (and wonderful;)

  23. Hi Kristin- Yeah, mine didn’t have any problem in the boiling water. They just puffed up a little bit. Not sure what the problem was….

  24. my sister has been preaching about the ease of bagels for years – and now that you and luisa have featured these, well, i would feel like i was ignoring a sign not to do likewise. my sis & i (who live on different coasts) are going to try this out on the same day & have a virtual lox & cream cheese party.

    also – re: your saveur feature (congrats) interesting that ‘the wednesday chef’ was your first food blog… mine too! and frankly (as i’m too much of a dilettante to be an outright foodie) your two are now the only food blogs i read! kudos to putting out such a genuine, authentic & compelling piece of the interwebs xx

  25. I am so happy that homemade bagels are making a comeback, I too made my first batch a week ago and can’t believe how relatively easy they were! I used Nigella’s recipe, which makes a dozen, and couldn’t imagine having made any fewer.
    Her’s did not call for refrigeration of the dough, just a quick hour or so to rise, which I’m wondering how big of a difference it makes between this recipe and yours/Luisa/Reinhardt’s? Also, I used plain ole’ sugar…but regardless of those two steps they were just as chewy and bagely as yours look here. Thanks for sharing!

  26. My bagels keep failing the float test :( Any ideas? Trying to warm them up at room temp but it’s already been over an hour…

  27. Hey Sarah- I wish it wasn’t so hard to diagnose cooking problems over the internet. Especially with yeast products, there are so many variables. How long did they proof in the fridge? At this point I would probably just keep them covered and at room temperature. Check them every half hour or so and see what happens. If they aren’t floating in another hour, go ahead and bake them and see what you end up with. Could have been yeast problem? Not sure. In any case, sorry for the frustration.

  28. Ok, I went through with the baking and they turned out pretty well, float test notwithstanding. Not super poofy but they do look like bagels. I used AP flour and honey and when I made the dough, it was super stiff like yours. The bagels proofed in the fridge for about 16 hrs. Next time I’ll try bread flour and maybe some new yeast and see if that helps. Thanks for responding – and for the inspiration!

  29. Seriously about the stand mixer though — this recipe killed mine (a KitchenAid).

  30. I made this recipe Sunday, although I didn’t let the bagels spend any time in the fridge. By 8:30 a.m. I had formed the rings…they spent about 3 hours sitting on the sill of the front room of our house. By 12:30 they were boiled (no problem with floating) and then transferred to the oven. By 1:30 we were eating them topped with cream cheese. We sat amazed at the ease and delicious flavor. Great recipe. Glad it’s making the rounds.

  31. I’ve had this recipe on my “to do” list forever and your post finally pushed it to the top. These bagels are Terrific. I used my over-sized antique Cuisinart to mix and knead the dough. I missed your tip on the egg wash, but I’ll definitely remember it for next time as the poppy seeds and sesame seeds were in tact when the bagels came out of the oven, but totally fell off the ones stored in a bag for the next day. I used the barley malt syrup and bread flour. I’m glad I bought the syrup and look forward to trying it in other baked good which call for honey. Congratulations on your Saveur feature. It’s well deserved.

  32. Thanks, Louise, for the kind words and for checking in on the bagels. I was just thinking I wanted to make these again this weekend, and now you’ve inspired me to make it happen.

  33. I tried making bagels once and they turned out so ugly, the poor things… Yours are perfect!
    Your blog is amazing, too.

  34. Thank you for this recipe. I made these bagels and loved them so I made them again and again and again. I finally had to have an intervention with myself to stop my bagel habit. I made mine with honey. The bagels came out looking pretty much like your photos. For toppings I used poppy seeds and sea salt, both alone and together. The only thing at all challenging was forming the dough into the doughnut shape.

  35. Ann- so glad to hear you made them and loved them! It is pretty remarkable that you can make bagels this good at home. Thanks for checking in…

  36. I did the float test right when I removed them from the fridge (without waiting the 60 – 90 minutes) and it passed what does that mean?

  37. Another question. My bagels had a brownish look, it would’ve passed for whole wheat bagels, is there anything I could do for that?

  38. Your bagels even look better than the ones in Peter Reinhart´s book.
    Good job!!!

  39. Hi Tim, Just taking some necessary me time and going through you older recipes, Some of them look amazing, but this one no longer seems to have the recipe. What happened, and, more importantly, how can I get it? My daughter is a bagel fiend and the last good bagel she had was over 7 years ago when we lived in Jersey. They know how to make fantastic bagels up north, the kind that rival NYC’s. She will be out of town this weekend and i would love to surprise her on her first morning home with a bagel worthy of being called A Bagel, not just a piece of bread shaped like a doughnut. Thanks, Lotte

  40. Hi Lotte- It never had the recipe, just links to the recipe which has been posted elsewhere (see links above). This is one of my favorite recipes ever, and worth the effort! Let me know how they turn out! And be careful with your mixer!

  41. Hi Tim, yes this is the best bagel recipe ever! I make these every week for the farmers market, and the baker I work for made a very slight change that makes these even better: 1/3 of a cup of sourdough starter in the initial mix (following Reinhard version of the recipe with an initial sponge – like this one – if you happen to have some sourdough starter try, it gives them even more flavour! Oh, and the stand mixer has survived til now…
    Thanks for your beautiful blog!

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