I thought bagels would be a lot harder to make, but it turns out they really aren’t all that difficult. I feel like most people have this preconceived notion that bagels are hard to make for some reason, so no one every tries to make them at home. It’s also really convenient to just go buy a dozen down the road instead of slaving away in the kitchen, but homemade is always better!
I did have some pitfalls, but they still ended up pretty tasty! I had to make savory and sweet bagels for the showstopper challenge so first is the sweet ones. I made cinnamon raisin. They’re my favorite when I go buy bagels. As for savories, I made thyme and rosemary.
I used Brown Eyed Baker’s recipe for my first time making cinnamon raisin bagels. This recipe uses a completely different method from the rosemary thyme bagels I also made. These definitely take longer and they have to sit overnight in the refrigerator. I think it might be worth it though, because out of the two types of bagels I made, these came out better.
Sponge and Knead
First I made my sponge which had to sit for two hours and it was supposed to foam up a lot and become bubbly. Mine didn’t. This is the only issue I ran into. My apartment might have been too cold and humid for the yeast to rise in the sponge.
I just rolled with it and after the 2 hours, I added the rest of the ingredients into the sponge. I had to add a little more water to get the flour to stick together to the not-very-spongelike-mixture. After combining all the ingredients in the stand mixer except the raisins and brown sugar, I took the dough out and started kneading on the counter top. Halfway though, I kneaded in the brown sugar to make it look marbleized and then I added in the raisins.
Rise, Boil and Bake
After kneading, I cut it into equal pieces and placed on my greased cookie sheet, and let them rest covered for 20 minutes. Then I poked the holes in the middle and formed them into bagels. I covered the bagels loosely with siran wrap and let them rest another 30 minutes before sticking them in the refrigerator overnight. All the resting time is to allow the gluten in the dough to rest. Overworked dough will be hard to work with and it can effect the flavor as well.
The following morning I preheated my oven and got my boiling water ready to cook the bagels. The water bath in this recipe takes baking soda. I dropped my bagels into the boiling water and they boiled on each side for 1 minute. Then they went into the oven! Compared to my rosemary thyme bagels, these took less time to cook, however, they cooked at a much higher temperature.
After they baked, I let them cool on a wire rack and then had one for lunch toasted with some blueberries like pictured above. It was delicious!
Cinnamon Raisin Bagels
- 1 Tsp Instant Yeast
- 4 Cups Bread Flour
- 2½ Cups Water, room temp
- 1 Tsp Instant Yeast
- 3¾ Cups Bread Flour
- 2¾ Tsp Salt
- 1 Tbsp Cinnamon
- 5 Tbsp Granulated Sugar
- 1 Cup Raisins
- 1-2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
- 1 Tbsp Baking Soda (for water bath)
- Mix sponge ingredients together in big standing mixer bowl. Cover and leave at room temperature for 2 hours. The sponge should almost double in size and look bubbly. Tap bowl on counter top to deflate.
- Then mix in the additional yeast, bread flour, salt, cinnamon, and granulated sugar into the sponge with a dough hook. It should stick together and not to the sides of the bowl. Then hand knead it on the counter top for about 10 minutes. It’s going to be stiff. Halfway through, knead in brown sugar and then the last two minutes, knead in raisins.
- Cut into 12-14 equal portions and roll into balls. Let sit covered with a damp towel for 20 minutes. After resting, poke holes into the center of each ball and twirl around fingers to make hole bigger. Then place the bagels onto a cookie sheet with greased parchment paper. Cover loosely with siran wrap and let sit a half hour. Place in refrigerator overnight.
- The next morning, preheat your oven to 500°F. Fill a large pot with hot water, add in baking soda and bring to a boil. Take your bagels out of the fridge and drop in 2-4 at a time into the water. They should float. Leave for 1 minute, then flip and let boil for another minute.
- Place them back onto the baking sheet. Once all are boiled, put them in the oven. Bake for 5 minutes, then rotate pans and flip bagels so they don’t flatten. Lower oven to 450°F and bake another 5 minutes. They should be golden brown. Let cool on a wire rack.
Thyme & Rosemary
For my savory bagels, I originally planned on making chorizo and thyme bagels, because my husband is Portuguese and I thought it would be a yummy combo, but I never made it to the Portuguese market on time to get the good chorizo, so I’ll make them next time when I try my hand at bagels again. Instead of the chorizo, I subbed in rosemary to make thyme and rosemary bagels. I used dried herbs.
These bagels used a different technique from when I made the cinnamon raisin ones. I wanted to see how they would differ from the others. This recipe did not require a sponge, only a couple hours rising time and then into the boiling pot and oven they went. I used King Arthur Flour’s plain bagel recipe and added the herbs in.
Mix, Knead and Rise
All ingredients including the herbs were combined together in my stand mixer and then I kneaded it myself on the countertop for about 10 minutes. It’s a super tough dough so get ready to build some muscles with this!
The long kneading time is required because a high-protein flour like bread flour requires a longer amount of time to develop the gluten in the dough. After kneading it took about 2 hours to rise.
Shape, Boil and Bake
After rising, you have to cut your dough into equal parts and let rest another thirty minutes on a greased cookie sheet. Then I poked my finger into the middle to create the hole and then rolled it around in my hands to make the hole bigger and give it that bagel like shape.
I preheated my oven and prepared my big pot of boiling water after shaping the bagels. This recipe took brown sugar in with the water, I think to give the bagel a bit darker of a color on the outside. After the oven was preheated and the water was boiling, I dropped in two or three bagels at a time. This recipe called for 2 minutes on one side, then flipped for 1 minute on the other side. I think there was a noticeable difference to the consistency of the bagel because of the extra boiling time, these were a little tougher. I prefer 1 minute of boiling on each side instead. Once all bagels were boiled, they went into the oven
My husband and I tasted them, and these were not as good as the cinnamon raisin. I would say they were just ok flavor wise, you couldn’t really taste the herbs, so I might try fresh herbs next time. The bagels themselves were a bit denser too, so I think it might be worth using the sponge technique. I think I will definitely be practicing more in the future to investigate the inner workings of bagel making! I also want my bagels to be nice and smooth like when you buy them at bagel stores or delis.
- 1 2¼ Oz Package Instant Yeast
- 4 Cups Bread Flour
- 2 Tsp Salt
- 1 Tbsp Brown Sugar
- 1½ Cups Lukewarm Water
- 2½ Tsp Thyme, fresh (optional)
- 2 Tsp Rosemary, fresh (optional)
- 2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
- 1 Tbsp Granulated Sugar
- Combine all ingredients for dough in stand mixer. Once combined, take out of mixer and knead by hand for about 10 minutes. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl and set aside to rise for about 2 hours. It should be bigger than it was, but it doesn’t need to be doubled in size.
- Line 2 baking sheets with greased parchment paper. Take your dough and separate into 8-12 equal sized balls. Cover with siran wrap and let rest for 30 minutes. While the dough is resting, preheat your oven to 425°F and set a big pot of water on your stove top. Add the sugars to prepare the water bath and get to boiling point.
- After the dough balls have rested, poke your finger into the middle of each and twirl the dough around your finger to get the hole bigger, so it looks like a bagel. You want the hole to be about 2″ in diameter.
- Put 2-4 bagels in the boiling water at a time. Let boil one minute, then flip and let other side boil one minute. Take bagels out and place back onto cookie sheet. Once all are boiled, bake in oven for about 20-25 minutes. Flip after 15 minutes, so bagels don’t flatten out. The bagels should be a nice golden brown color. Let cool on a wire rack.