bronx-worthy-bagels Recipes

peter reinhart’s bagels

Although I’ve never come up short in the crazy category, there are some gastronomical indulgences that even I refuse to make at home. You see, a lot of what drags me into the kitchen is a complaint: I find something dissatisfying in its availability, quality or it brings me ennui. But items on my list of cooking refusals fall into none of these categories, and that’s why I’ll gladly leave the sausage, sushi and bagel making to others in this great city.

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Oh, except that last one. Because you see, there is one thing that bothers me about bagels is that they’re too big. There’s just no reason to eat 7 ounces of bread for breakfast. I end up glutted and then hungry three hours later. Yes, yes, yes, I know, just eat half of one, and while that’s a bright-minded suggestion, there is also the fact that Peter Reinhart’s bagel recipe has been calling my name since I bought the book last winter, which just about brings us to last Friday.

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I followed the recipe to the letter, beginning the process on Friday night and finishing it on Saturday, yet although the bagels were gorgeous and smelled wonderful, I was a bit disappointed. They were so chewy, crispy and tough on the outside and soft on the inside and a bit unlike the bagels I was used to. And this is where SantaDad steps in, who sent me this email on Sunday, after trying one of my bagels the night before.

The memories are fuzzy, but it was back in the mid ’40’s and early 50’s. We (my Dad and I) used to go to the local bakery on Sunday mornings for bagels and Jewish rye/corn bread. It was right around the corner … the first of what would ultimately be a chain: Zaro’s. In fact, Phil Zaro, one of the two brothers that owned the bakery was our upstairs neighbor in our apartment building.

I always wondered why we couldn’t get bagels during the week. My father explained that there was only one bagel bakery in NY (probably the nation). It was located on an island in the East River. I imagine it was the island where the Queensborough Bridge crosses. Anyway, the bakery only made bagels on Saturday nights after Shabbat. The local retail bakeries would go to the bagel “factory” early on Sunday mornings and pick up their weekly orders.

There was real consistency in bagels then … no surprise since they all came from the same place. There were only two kinds of bagels, plain and egg. None of this cranberry, raisin, chocolate chip stuff. The bagels were more chewy than bagels today (which are very bready.) They were sort of crisp on the outside, and soft but chewy on the inside. More like an intermediate between today’s bagels and bialys. Bialys then were like rubber. The bialys sold today are more like what we then called “onion rolls.”

Then, sometime in the 50’s people started opening bagel shops and bagels became available 365 days a year. ….and the decline started. I imagine it was like the proliferation of pizza joints. Everyone thought they knew how to make bagels (pizza) and no one had the memory of what they really were like originally. One who was old enough, would probably say that bagels from THE East River bagel bakery had no resemblance to the bagels in eastern Europe where they probably originated. (An aside: I think “bialys” are named after the town Bialistok (sp?) in Poland.)

Since Phil Zaro was about 25 years older than I am, it is likely that his stores are now run by his children or grandchildren. He didn’t have children back then as well as I can remember, so his children would also be about 10 years younger than I am. If this is true, it’s possible that the memory of what bagels were was lost in that generation … a reason why Zaro’s bagels today are nothing like the East River bagels of yesterday.

I do remember having bagels in Israel on one of my trips, but they were nothing like the bagels in 1940’s NYC. The Israeli bagels were large and bready … good, but just not bagels.

Having said all this, I just want you to know that your bagels last night were the closest thing I have ever had to the original bagels of my childhood. It’s a good thing that they are so much work to make, since otherwise they could easily be the undoing of my Atkins program.

GOOD BAGELS!!!!

And that, my friends, is the final word.

Peter Reinhart’s Bagels
Adpated from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice

Hoo boy, there are a lot of notes for this one, so you might want to skim ahead to the end first. Otherwise, these are utterly glorious as-is, chewy with a crispy and tough exterior and a soft, flavorful interior. I have it on good authority that these are as good as, if not better, than the Old School variety.

Yield: 12 extremely large, 16 regularly large or 24 miniature bagels

Sponge
1 teaspoon instant yeast
4 cups unbleached high-gluten or bread flour (see note below)
2 1/2 cups water, room temperature

Dough
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
3 3/4 cups unbleached high-gluten or bread flour
2 3/4 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons malt powder or 1 tablespoon dark or light malt syrup, honey, or brown sugar (see note below)

To Finish
1 tablespoon baking soda

Cornmeal or semolina flour for dusting

Sesame seeds, poppy seeds, kosher salt, rehydrated dried minced garlic or onions (Deb note: this was what I chose, and found the taste very authentic), or chopped onions that have been tossed in oil (optional)

1. Day one: To make the sponge, stir the yeast into the flour in a 4-quart mixing bowl. Add the water, whisking or stirring only until it forms a smooth, sticky batter (like pancake batter). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for approximately 2 hours, or until the mixture becomes very foamy and bubbly. It should swell to nearly double in size and collapse when the bowl is tapped on the countertop.

2. To make the dough, in the same mixing bowl (or in the bowl of an electric mixer), add the additional yeast to the sponge and stir. Then add 3 cups of the flour and all of the salt and malt. Stir (or mix on low speed with the dough hook) until the ingredients for a ball, slowly working in the remaining 3/4 cup flour to stiffen the dough.

3. Transfer the dough to the counter and knead for at least 10 minutes (or for 6 minutes by machine). The dough should be firm, stiffer than French bread dough, but still pliable and smooth. There should be no raw flour – all ingredients should be hydrated. The dough should pass the windowpane test and register 77 to 71 degrees F. If the dough seems to dry and rips, add a few drops of water and continue kneading. If the dough seems tacky or sticky, add more flour to achieve the stiffness required. The kneaded dough should feel satiny and pliable but not be tacky.

4. Immediately divide the dough into 4 1/2 ounce pieces for standard bagels, or smaller if desired (Deb note: I used 2.25 ounce pieces, and yes, I weighed them because I wanted them to bake evenly). Form the pieces into rolls.

5. Cover the rolls with a damp towel and allow them to rest for approximately 20 minutes.

6. Line 2 sheet pans with baking parchment and mist lightly with spray oil. Proceed with one of the following shaping methods:

Method 1: Poke a hole in a ball of bagel dough and gently rotate your thumb around the inside of the hole to widen it to approximately 2 1/2 inches in diameter (half of this for a mini-bagel). The dough should be as evenly stretched as possible (try to avoid thick and thin spots.)

Method 2: Roll out the dough into an 8-inch long rope. (This may require rolling part of the way and resting if the pieces are too elastic and snap back, in which case, allow them to rest for 3 minutes and then extend them again to bring to full length. Wrap the dough around the palm and back of your hand, between the thumb and forefinger, overlapping the ends by several inches. Press the overlapping ends on the counter with the palm of your hand, rocking back and forth to seal.

7. Place each of the shaped pieces 2 inches apart on the pans (Deb note: I got away with 1-inch space for the minis). Mist the bagels very lightly with the spray oil and slip each pan into a food-grade plastic bag, or cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let the pans sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes.

8. Check to see if the bagels are ready to be retarded in the refrigerator by using the “float test”. Fill a small bowl with cool or room-temperature water. The bagels are ready to be retarded when they float within 10 seconds of being dropped into the water. Take one bagel and test it. If it floats, immediately return the tester bagel to the pan, pat it dry, cover the pan, and place it in the refrigerator overnight (it can stay in the refrigerator for up to 2 days). If the bagel does not float. Return it to the pan and continue to proof the dough at room temperature, checking back every 10 to 20 minutes or so until a tester floats. The time needed to accomplish the float will vary, depending on the ambient temperature and the stiffness of the dough.

9. The following day (or when you are ready to bake the bagels), preheat the oven to 500 degrees F with the two racks set in the middle of the oven. Bring a large pot of water to a boil (the wider the pot the better), and add the baking soda (and optionally, a few tablespoons of barley syrup, see Note at the end). Have a slotted spoon or skimmer nearby.

10. Remove the bagels from the refrigerator and gently drop them into the water, boiling only as many as comfortably fit (they should float within 10 seconds). After 1 minutes flip them over rand boil for another minute. If you like very chewy bagels, you can extend the boiling to 2 minutes per side (Deb note: I used the 2 minute option). While the bagels are boiling, sprinkle the same parchment-lined sheet pans with cornmeal or semolina flour. (If you decide to replace the paper, be sure to spray the new paper lightly with spray oil to prevent the bagels from sticking to the surface.) If you want to top (see note below) the bagels, do so as soon as they come out of the water. You can use any of the suggestions in the ingredients list or a combination.

11. When all the bagels have been boiled, place the pans on the 2 middle shelves in the oven. Bake for approximately 5 minutes, then rotate the pans, switching shelves and giving the pans a 180-degree rotation. (If you are baking only 1 pan, keep it on the center shelf but still rotate 180 degrees.) After the rotation, lower the oven setting to 450 degrees F and continue baking for about 5 minutes, or until the bagels turn light golden brown. You may bake them darker if you prefer. (Deb note: I actually baked them quite a bit longer, often almost five extra minutes. I judge by color, not internal temperature, in this case. I did not lower the oven temperature because I had multiple batches to bake.)

12. Remove the pans from the oven and let the bagels cool on a rack for 15 minutes or longer before serving.

Cinnamon Raisin Bagels: For cinnamon raisin bagels, increase the yeast in the final dough to 1 teaspoon, and add 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon and 5 tablespoons of granulated sugar to the final dough. Rinse 2 cups of loosely packed raisins with warm water to wash off surface sugar, acid, and natural wild yeast. Add the raisins during the final 2 minutes of mixing. Proceed as directed, but do not top the bagels with any garnishes. When they come out of the oven and are still hot, you can brush the tops with melted butter and dip them in cinnamon sugar to create a cinnamon-sugar crust, if desired.

Notes:

  • In his introduction to bagels, Reinhart mentions two ingredients that are not exactly ordinary, but completely essential to the bagel texture and flavor. The first is barley malt powder or syrup, more for that typical bagel shop flavor than anything else, and something that was readily available at Whole Foods and a bunch of other stores. Sadly, I cannot tell you if this ingredient is as essential as he said because I woke up with a startle at 7 a.m. the next morning, “Oh my god I forgot to add the barley syrup!” Don’t you hate it when that happens? Later, I read a recipe that suggested you add the barley syrup to the boiling water bath, and I did so in my later batches, figuring it wouldn’t hurt to get the flavor in somewhere. I ended up feeling that these bagels had a slightly darker, and more stereotypically-bagel color than the earlier batches, so I am adding this as an optional step.
  • The second is high gluten flour, a step above the extra gluten in bread flour. (Though he says regular bread flour will work in a jam, I’m used to getting top-notch bagels, and was convinced I’d be able to tell the difference.) This can be ordered online or available in a specialty store (though I couldn’t come up with one in NYC that had it). Or, you can beg your local bagel shop for some of theirs, and given that the other two options would take time and energy, I turned to our beloved Murray’s on 8th Avenue. They came through, and then some, and I am now the proud own of some ten pounds of super-high gluten flour, and a sinking feeling that I’ll be making bagels again or some very tough cookies (bah!) this winter. The crazy, it keeps coming.
  • I had difficulties getting my seeds and onion bits to stick to the top of the bagels. Though the recipe does not call for an egg wash, I would definitely use one next time to get them to stick, after the boiling and before the baking.
  • These pictures were taken with a film camera! Our camera had a mishap (we’ll call it) last Friday and was out for repair when I made these bagels. Instead, I used Alex’s old manual Canon Rebel, replete with my macro lens and our Speedlite flash. How cool is it that everything works together? On Saturday, my dad was kind enough to lend us his Rebel XTi until ours came out of the shop, which is supposed to be today. (Pictures taken with his camera can be seen in the previous post.) Hooray for SantaDad, and camera repair shops that work quickly!
  • Although Alex may have been the cause of the camera’s injury, he deserves a hearty round of applause for typing this entire recipe for us. 1,999 words!

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261 comments on peter reinhart’s bagels

  1. They look amazing — they make me (almost) aspire to cook. But mostly because I would be excited to garnish with a variety of savory sprinkle-type things. Or would that be considered bagel blasphemy?

  2. oh my, am i drooling. I am such a bagel snob type–the bready ones just dont do it for me. I’ve tried to make them at home before but with dismal results–I’ll have to try this recipe–it sounds like you had great results!!

  3. That’s exactly why I don’t bake bread at home often…they are often not what I’m used to….I’m used to a softer bread…while the one I bake at home comes out crusty and chewy…*sigh*
    I’ll leave it to the professionals….and eat all the preservatives thrown my way….*sigh*

  4. Yum! I could tear into one of those right now, maybe with some cream cheese. My husband Quinn makes wonderful bagels. Now that I mention it, he hasn’t made any in ages. I’ll have to give him a gentle reminder….

  5. Oh, we made these bagels at one of our cooking club meetings. The hostess did all the prep and we just had to boil and bake them. They were amazing, probably my most favorite bagels outside of Murray’s.

    Oh Murray’s, why can’t you have a storefront in southern ohio?

  6. These look delicious — and sound like the famous Montreal-style bagels here in Canada. They’re known for being chewy and crisp on the outside, soft in the middle.

  7. Between your photos and your father’s lovely story (I walk by a Zaro’s every day in Grand Central but have never been a customer–perhaps I’ll get a bagel from them tomorrow), I’m sold! BTW, don’t even think about making cookies with that flour–they’ll be awful. Just make more bread.

  8. Wow, this is such a great post, in so many ways! The pictures are mouth watering, all the notes from having tried out this recipe for us and a post from SantaDad. Well, I guess it’s true the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, your dad sure can tell a story! Now if I could just find me some high gluten flour, I’d be all set!

  9. What an amazing letter that is! Truly an inspiration for any cook or baker.
    When I made bagels a little while ago, I was under-whelmed by my full size versions, they just didn’t live up to Murrays. However, I also made minis, and I loved those, not only were they the perfect portion, but they had just the right flavor and texture.
    Thankfully, mine were not a multi-day project, so kudos to your determination!

  10. I made this recipe just last week. The bagels deflated a bit during boiling (maybe they over-proofed in the fridge?), but they were still really tasty. Not as pretty as yours though. Homemade bagels are one of those things that are worth the effort!

  11. Famous Montreal Bagels… there is nothing to compare to those – or maybe your version, as one mentioned. just walking into the Fairmounts Bagels, night or day, where nothing seems to have changed in 50 years. the smell… and you can see how there made, just there, it’s such a small shop. and then just “trying” one, still warm, out of the paper bag. so chewy and just aahh… if ever you need one good reason to visit Montreal, let it be this one (ask for a dozen warm bagels with sesame seeds).

  12. I agree with Anna and Allana – Montréal bagels are the best!I am biased because I live here I guess and lucky because I can get some easily and often. Grocery store bagels are donut shaped bread – not bagels! My favorite place is St-Viateur’s bagelshop on St-Viateur street. They are open 24 hours so you can always get a fresh warm bagel. The smell is divine! They supply a lot of restaurants with their bagels – including Beauty’s which is the best breakfast place in Montreal. Their Beauty’s special – bagel and lox with the thickest cream cheese ever- is to die for!

  13. My only attempt at bagels resulted in tough. I couldn’t figure out what I’d done, so I never tried again. Maybe I’ll have to go searching for that malt stuff again. . . .

    I’ve heard of–but never tried– something called ‘QuickShine’ that is supposed to help with keeping the topping on. (My mother gets the King Arthur Flour catalog.)

    I love to make bread, so I’m kind of envious of all that flour you’ve got. . . .

  14. I loved this bagel post! Every year, we spend Christmas with friends. We have a Yankee Swap, where everyone brings a gift (under $25). We pick numbers and then pick gifts in order. You have the choice of taking someone else’s already-opened gift or picking a new one. Each year, my brother brings a dozen bagels from NY. That bag of bagels is, by far, the most popular item, changing hands numerous times. There’s something about a soft, warm bagel with the topping of your choice!

    BTW, I come to you by way of McGee raving about your red velvet cake, which I cannot wait to try myself!

  15. How many mini bagels does that recipe make? I wonder wehre I can find high gluten flour….there aren’t many bagel shops in DC (not real ones anyway).

  16. Molly — Nope. I think garnishes on bagels are pretty old-school. I’m an Everything Bagel girl, myself.

    Jennifer — Ooh, is the post in your archives? I’d love to see!

    Skeezix — That’s so cool! I want a cooking club. How fun would that be?

    maddy — They do deflate in the boiling, but mine seemed to (mostly) spring back while baking. It could have been over-proofing… then again, Reinhart’s end-product pictures in the book looked a bit flatter than mine. I was actually happy to see mine come out perkier! (Don’t tell.)

    Denet — Is this the stuff?

    Mike — I realize that must be confusing, eh? You know, this recipe really had me torn about posting it because it’s so long and the processes in the book are so involved. I think anyone interested in serious bread-baking should buy it. That said, as uncomfortable as this Google feature makes me, you can see the page scanned over here. Otherwise, the temperature test is plenty adequate when determining if a dough has been kneaded enough.

    lyra — It makes 12 full-sized and 24 minis. I made a 1.5 batch (terrible idea, btw, too big for my KitchenAid, baking pans and refrigerator) and yielded exactly 37 minis, and the last one was even tinier, just a leftover ounce or two. I’ll update the recipe now.

  17. I made my own bagels once before. And I remember that they were good, but not so good that they were worth the extra time and effort, when good enough one were available just about anywhere. But methinks it might be time for another go ’round.

    The other thing that was a real pain in my bum the first time I made them is that the recipe I was working from had a major typo – the salt and sugar was switched!! I made two batches of dough that just wouldn’t rise to save my life before I realized I was killing with salt instead of feeding it with sugar!

  18. Thanks for trying this recipe for me, they all look totally cute and puffy. I was actually not too sure about it precisely because of how Reinhart describes them (very chewy and all). Not having had a real bagel experience before, I wasn´t too enthusiastic when I made them a couple of months ago using another recipe precisely because they were a bit too chewy for me.
    I think I´ll just wait until I go to NYC in May to try different varieties and see which one I like the most (oh and BTW, I´m hoping you can give me some tips later on when the trip approaches).

  19. Your bagels look and sound very much like the the heavenly offerings in my neighborhood- Scratch Baking Co. in South Portland, Me.
    Crispy crust and light chewy interior, always second on the grocery list (after lobsters) when my city pals come to visit.

  20. Damn ! I wanted to see a paint shop thing done showing how to make the rope and roll them !! Cmon Deb, you know you wanna!

    I hear you on old school bagels… my Great Grandpa Abe and Gramma Ida were bagel makers in LA.. They started it in the 20’s and did it till like the mid 70’s.. As k00ky as this sounds… i LOVED them frozen… i know, weird.

    Im gonna have to try this.. there are NO bagel places around here and the grocery store kind is just bread… blah. Unless youd like to send me some… that would be swell and well, a lot easier for me. Im impatient and as much as i hate to admit it, my attention span is lacking… (why i have a cupcake shop now and decided to ditch the CPA job [long story, but kinda amusing])

    As always, love the site, love the writing..and thanks for the 5 or so pounds Ive put on. (it was the lemon pound cake’s fault)

  21. so how much would it cost to hire you out? :) i’m only in CT but grew up on Long Island and I have yet to find a decent bagel anywhere in the state that compares to what i grew up on (i was dubbed the “bagel queen” as a kid and the nickname still stands today). these look absolutely fantastic and as described, they sound exactly like how i love my bagels. nice job and keep the mouth-watering posts coming!

  22. I want some of those bagels. Beautiful pictures as always.

    By the way, I wanted to say thank you for telling me to buy my 50mm macro lens. It’s simply the best investment EVER! I use it all the time now. :)

    Best,
    Bee at Rasa Malaysia

  23. Wow, I haven’t made bagels in AGES, but I’m feeling inspired! I have the same issue as you do about the size – they’re just too darn big and bready, far too much for one sitting, so I usually just pass on them. Your bagels look perfect!

  24. These look delicious! I recently tried making baked donuts for the first time, and that of course led to an intense desire to try bagels next. I’m looking forward to trying your recipe!

  25. This look delicious! I agree — bagels these days are toooo big. I grew up in the Philly ‘burbs, and there was one place in my neighborhood that got the size — and texture — just right. But alas, I now live in DC and the one decent bagel joint near my apartment (and quite possibly the entire city…) is closing in January. I just might need to give this recipe a try!

  26. Aw what an incredibly nice letter! Interesting to know that about bagels. Now I want to try this kind. Your bagels look like they turned out beautifully. But personally I have no problem with larger bagels, though yes I agree that you eat one and are full the hungry before your next meal.

  27. Being too impatient to search for high-gluten flour or to wait to have some shipped, I usually fortify all-purpose flour with vital wheat gluten. I add about 1 tablespoon wheat gluten to a cup of flour. All purpose flour is usually around 10-11% protein, bread flour is about 12% protein and high gluten flour is about 14% protein. While there are subtle differences, I have had really good results using vital wheat gluten and all purpose flour as a substitute for high gluten flour.

  28. Oh, I just wanted to add about that high-gluten flour: usually we don’t like it in sweets like cookies and cakes, for the obvious reasons. However, high-gluten flour can also add a desired chewiness to cookies. Both Alton Brown and Jacques Torres use high-gluten/bread flour in their chocolate chip cookies to get the right chewey effect. Just in case anyone has excess high-gluten flour sitting around…

  29. I love this post! I made bagels once–when I was living in Japan, snowed in on a February weekend, and terribly homesick. I boiled them one by one (tiny Japanese soup pots) and baked them in a toaster oven (two at a time) and the whole process took two days. I don’t know how great they really were, but at the time I thought they were the best thing I had ever tasted because they had the flavor of home. Perhaps SantaDad knows what I’m talking about (and on a related note, how cute it your father? I’ve loved his occasional comments but this takes the cake–or the bagel. You are both awfully charming).

  30. This is such a delight to read. Kiss your dad for me – if that’s not overly familiar – and tell him that I, too, missed REAL bagels until I found this same recipe. Now I bake my own all the time and am very happy indeed.

  31. Hm, must give this a try when I have a weekend free. I usually use Nigella’s recipe. It’s passable in taste and texture, but my bagels end up looking like donuts with acne. Is instant yeast the dry kind?

  32. Aww that’s such a sweet email! I’ve never had bagels so I don’t really know but bready and chewy sounds good =) Talking about reminiscing, the first picture does have a little vintage look to it =p

  33. What beautiful bagels! My dad worked in the city and we lived in CT and grew up with great bagels. Now I live in Portland OR where the bagels, as Calvin Trillin’s daughter would say, are just round bread. When my folks come to visit they fill out their suitcases with bagels which I slice and freeze, but they still go too quickly. I am going to the market TODAY to get the super high gluten flour (or the best I can find) and the barley syrup and we’ll see if we can’t have bagels on the table tomorrow, just like an old time Sunday breakfast in CT; bagels, cream cheese, lox, red onion and capers. If we do, it is thanks to you!

  34. (in affected Brooklyn accent) This is what I’m talkin bout! I love these pictures and what a great story about your Dad. I wish I had the type of kitchen / oven set-up to try to make these. I can almost taste these smothered with Apple Butter (yes, Apple Butter).

  35. I have, most likely, never eaten a real bagel. I wouldn’t even know what it tastes like! I’ll have to give the real stuff a try sometime. This recipe looks great, but alas I have no time.

  36. why have i looked up bagel recipes several times (since moving from new york to portland, or), printed them out, solicited advice, planned to do it, and yet never followed through until i saw your pictorial? because of the easy step-by-step? enticing end product photos? endearing hand-holding throughout? dunno, but my rolls of dough are resting on the counter right now. i made faux high-gluten flour by throwing some gluten into bread flour, so if anything goes wrong i’ll blame that, not you. come to portland and be my baking buddy.

  37. I fell into the trap of NOT reading the labels on the Bagel bag…and somehow thought that Bagel (normal size) was only 3 points in Weight Watchers. To my complete surprise, after the spouse said “Hey, these taste so good they must be bad for you, how many points are in them?” and after a race for the points calculator- did I realize that they were indeed 6 points! Disaster week!
    Your bagels look deadly, although, I’m the type of person that wants the cooking done in the ‘right now’ moment and not over a 24 hour period. I’ll stick to my bread machine maker, lol.
    Pictures look deadly tasty too!

  38. well, I did it, and they came out great! I didn’t get started until 9:30pm so I was up a bit late but everything was so easy it was no problem. I used King Arthur Bread Flour (no super high gluten at the store) and Aunt Patty’s Barley Malt syrup and they floated instantly after 20 minutes of resting. I boiled and baked them this morning with my 3 year old twins, who applied a nice thick coating of seeds and kosher salt to everything (stuck very well, maybe the barley malt syrup made them stickier?). Took 15 minutes to bake to brown, after 10 minutes still pale around the edges. Chewy outside but not tough, chewy and just right inside. The barley malt is a sweetener, making them without it would be like leaving the sugar out of bread dough, perhaps that had an effect on the texture of your bagels? Thanks so much for posting the recipe and photos, was a breeze and so satisfying. I will never eat another puffy west coast bagel again!

  39. Your bagels look absolutely perfect!

    I make bagels for my family regularly, but I cheat. I use my bread machine to make the dough for me. I’ve seen quite a few bagel recipes that call for barley malt syrup, where I just use a few tbs of sugar. What does the malt syrup do that the sugar doesn’t?

  40. God, I love a good bagel and unfortunately, in Singapore, no one makes anything close too authentic. Frozen ones don’t cut it either. KUDOS on making these. They sound fab. I am going to have to follow in your footsteps one day soon and make a batch of these. Thanks for posting the recipe. And GREAT story!

  41. Omg, you have no idea how much I miss authentic bagels. I grew up in S. Florida (I was born in NY as were my parents) and we have wonderful bagel shops there. I bought everything for this recipe last year( except the High gluton flour) but have yet to make them. I’m going to beg the bagel shop in Hallandale Beach, Fl for some flour when we’re down in December.

  42. I’ve never much liked the bagels you get at everyday bakeries, mainly because I think they’re too bready. Sounds like I should try these!

  43. beautiful! i agree, bagels that you get in bagel shops are just TOO big. i usually just eat half and then feel wasteful about leaving the other half behind.

    how big are the ones u made? didnt notice a picture comparing them in size to something…

    now im tempted to make them too. (but i think im too lazy to go thru the process) heehee…

  44. What gorgeous bagels! I totally sent this post to my parents, both native New Yorkers who greatly appreciated the letter from your Dad – adorable! I also love that he mentioned the infamous “cornbread” which my Dad and Grandfather both remember fondly from back in the day. Great post! Such beautiful pictures AND writing!

  45. Erin, yes the “cornbread” was amazing. I’m always reluctant to use that name today because of the obvious potential for confusion. For those who have never had cornbread, my memories of it are as such:

    It was always round … and very large. In fact so large, that we usually bought a half … the bakeries did that then. They would cut it in half and sell halves. Why they didn’t just make them smaller, I’ll never know. Maybe people objected to too much crust. You see, the inside of the cornbread was very moist and heavy and a little more chewy than a typical rye bread.

    It was in fact a rye bread and usually garnished with caraway seeds. I think, perhaps it had a bit of a sour dough flavor unlike rye bread, but nothing as potent as a San Francisco sour dough bread.

    I defintely miss it. It was as much a Sunday morning staple as the bagels.

    Maybe Deb will take off on this and do a Bronx Sunday Morning Breakfast, complete with the bagels, cornbread, and who can forget the magnificent sponge and honey cakes.

  46. After great success with the rustic white bread I will be definitely giving those a try, because I cannot find bagels in Greece. And if a New Yorker can actually bother to make bagels, well, I am sure that they are really good ones!

  47. You know there’s a whole (good) book about bialys? Mimi Sheraton’s _The Bialy Eaters_. If I remember correctly, she concludes that the only authentic bialys in the world are made at Kossar’s in New York; with the virtual extermination of Poland’s Jews there’s no one in Bialystok who knows how to make them, although people remember them from the old days.

    SantaDad, you can call that bread “corn rye” and then people won’t expect crumbly yellow squares. A friend was saying just the other day that she can’t find it in New York any more, she imports it from Albuquerque. I will have to investigate.

  48. I read the Bialy Eaters, actually, and it was fascinating, and we’ve checked out Kossar’s more than once on her recommendation. (It doesn’t help that its two down from the Doughnut Plant!) But it seems that Sheraton’s love affair with Kossar’s has ended, at least according to NYMag. She told them last month that their bialys aren’t what they used to be, now “barely with any onions and much too soft, bland and puffy, often with barely defined center wells.” Guess I should try to make them at home, eh?

  49. Dad of BCD Dad, a resident of Manchester, CT. has found a bakery in central Connecticut that is still making the old fashioned “corn” bread discussed by SantaDad in 65. One of the highlights of visits to CT is a trip to that bakery for a flashback to Lydig Ave in the Bronx.

  50. Heather in no. 42 answered my questions!! I can get the vital wheat gluten in bulk at the natural foods store, but not high-gluten flour. I’m off to start my bagels.

  51. I shouldn’t have doubted you’d be well up on the bialy literature. How discouraging about Kossar’s! I’ll definitely keep an eye out for corn rye, though, and let you know if I find any.

  52. Thank you thank you thank you!! They were truly delicious… I’m afraid I will have to make a new batch every weekend from now on.

  53. Overall my experience with the homemade bagels was exactly as you describe. I like the homemade version but I assumed it was simply impossible to replicate a commercial bagel. I’m heartened by your dad’s reassurance on crust and crumb.

    I have made these with bread flour and also with King Arthur high gluten flour (I think it was the Sir Lancelot product). I found little difference between the two and have gone back to regular bread flour.

    I’m very curious. What results did you get with the flour from the bagel shop?

  54. you can order Sir Lancelot Flour from King Arthur Flour (www.KingArthurFlour.com)..they advertise that it’s the highest gluten flour on the market today (14.2% protein)….but it MUST be mixed by machine to properly break down the gluten…i use it in my bread machine to make bagel dough…My NY-born husband says they’re great…

  55. stumbled across your website from the red velvet cake recommendation over at the amateur gourmet’s…. i grew up in new york and never appreciated any of the food until i moved away. bagels, pizza, and a few other ‘key’ items are so sorely lacking out here in montana!

    anyway, i was re-introduced to new york bagels when i lived in charlottesville, VA. there is a place called bodo’s bagels, and rumour has it that the owner spent a lot of time in nyc, and ‘apprenticed’ at a bagel shop. to get the toppings on their bagels to stick, toppings were placed in a bowl, and immediately after boiling, the bagel was dropped into the bowl before turning right-side up onto the baking board.

  56. Hey, I know I’m coming at this several months late, but I figured I’d get my 2 cents in anyway.

    Not living in NYC and therefore without access to great bagels, I’ve been making my own for several years. After a whole lot of playing around, my favorite recipe is to follow Reinhart’s method, but CI’s list of ingredients: 22 ounces high-gluten flour, 2 teaspoons salt, 1 tablespoon barley malt syrup, 1.5 teaspoons yeast, 1.25 cups water. Basically, CI uses about 20% more flour (by weight). I also skip the baking soda in the poaching water and poach them for only 30 seconds. I really like the barley malt syrup – something about the subtle smell of it just screams bagel to me.

    Oh, and I’ve never used high-gluten flour. Instead, I add substitute about 2 ounces of the flour for vital wheat gluten. I’ve also used about 10 ounces whole wheat flour without any detrimental effects on the bagels.

  57. I am a super-fan of authenticity (and of the Smitten Kitchen) AND I love to try new things. That’s why your article on bagels fascinated me so much. This weekend I made a test batch of this recipe in preparation for an upcoming breakfast-themed supper club party. I felt a bit like I was flying blind…baking is not one of my strong points. I was also a little intimidated by the complexity of the recipe but found that its actually pretty simple once I got into it. And, best of all, the result was amazing. The batch I made yielded 13 regular-sized bagels and my little family ate them all in one day…for breakfast, lunch and dinner. My kids were literally begging for more. In my opinion these bagels are better than anything I’ve had in Nashville where I live, which I guess isn’t saying much as Nashville is not exactly known for its bagel shops.

    Oh, and like commenter Bridget, I didn’t use high-gluten flour…couldn’t find it. Instead, as she did, I used added vital wheat gluten I found at Whole Foods to my bread flour.

  58. I’ve made half a dozen batches, all of which were met by blank stares of incredulity from all tasters – “you made them from scratch?!!!”. Everyone who tastes them loves them and wonders why they can’t buy bagels like this. I made two small modifications to the recipe. 1. Egg wash and toppings (sesame & poppy seed) were applied to both sides of the bagels – with good result. 2. I used 3/4 cup vital wheat gluten (85% gluten content)and 7 cups of bread flour (12-13% gluten) to arrive at an average gluten of around 20%. They were really chewy (especially after cooling) and delicious. I also boiled them for two minutes per side. Hearty thanks for the recipe and the great story.

  59. I actually made a DVD about making bagels. It was based largely on Peter Reinhart’s recipe with a few tweeks. I’ve sold about a hundred of them to people who want to see the process. In fact I made the thing because someone who I work with wanted the recipe. I figured it would be easier to just make a video. Well, that was clearly wrong. It took months to complete.
    Bagels fresh from the oven are a treat that few get to have. I just found this website tonight and will check back often.
    Thanks, it looks like a fun and informative site.

  60. Thanks so much for putting this up! I grew up in Cleveland and then lived in NYC for several years, but now live in New Zealand, which has many yummy foods but alas, very few good bagels. I used this recipe and your helpful notes to make a batch at home and they’re so much better than anything I can get in the shops around here. Yum yum yum.

  61. These are so gorgeous! God, why did you do this — I might have to try making my own, now. ;) We’ve been having a big debate around my blog’s parts about what constitutes a real bagel. To me, nothing but what you’ve got here is a real bagel or ever will be. Thanks for a beautiful post complete with your dad’s wonderful memories; I loved it.

  62. I really want to make these, but could I make themv all in one day? If so, how many hours should they sit in the refrigerator for? I’m thinking that 8 hours would be enough if you put them in the fridge overnight, but do I have to wait that long?

    Thanks!

  63. I am originally from NJ and there is a bagel shop near my house called Sheepshead Bagels. I have been eating them since the shop opened about 10 years ago and they are out of this world delicious, chewy on the outside and soft in the middle, totally unlike bagels any other place.

    About a year ago, I relocated to a place that does not even have bagels that are as good as the non-Sheepshead bagels in NJ. The ramifications of this move didn’t sink in until I was here about a month and the craving for a bagel hit. I proceeded to scour the internet for a recipe and came up with this one (also this is what started me on reading your fabulous fabulous blog!)… I decided to give it a go (I was dying for a bagel at this point) and I could not believe the results. I had found a recipe that makes a bagel just like Sheepshead Bagels! Thank you thank you thank! Now I can move anywhere in the world that has high gluten flour and still have my morning bagel and coffee!

  64. I just made these today and they turned out wonderfully, despite the fact that I added the entire amount of flour to the sponge right off the bat. I ended up not being able to incorporate all of the flour–probably left at least 1/2 cup out because of my not reading the instructions thoroughly. Even so, they were a pleasure to make and a great way to pass the time over a blizzardy weekend. Thanks for this and all of your other fantastic recipes!

  65. With 2 kids under 3 it is hard to make it all the way to New York City (from the ‘burbs of Boston) to eat fresh H and H bagels. So, instead, I made them with the kids this weekend and they were such a hit. It was definitely worth seeking out the ingredients, though everything was available at Whole Foods. Although they weren’t quite as crunchy on the outside as we love (I think I need to bake them a bit longer or try the pizza stone), the taste was fabulous. Thanks for such a well-written and delicious recipe.

  66. I just made these. I love to work with dough, so found it all very easy. Flavor was good. A few came out gummy/soggy not sure what happened (Perhaps boilded to long or added to much gluten to the flour, since i didn’t have bread flour). My kids loved the ones I kneaded dried blueberries into to.

  67. I have made this recipe several times using King Arthur Bread flour with excellent results (I also tried a commercially available High-gluten flour from King Arthur, but it wasn’t as good, go figure).

    I have also tried to hurry up this recipe to make it in one day–with not so good results. The retarding step is crucial for flavor! If you want to try to do it in one day, you might want to make your sponge with COLD water. A longer, slower ferment has yielded excellent results for me with other breads.

    I too have gotten soggy bagels with this recipe, but it was because my refrigerator wasn’t cooling properly: if yours are soggy they may have over-risen (they’re structure could have been compromised prior to hitting the boiling water), or the gluten wasn’t properly developed–if they don’t form a tight “skin” when forming the bagel there will be ways for water to get in.

    Btw, I have tried no less than 10 different bagel recipes and this one is the best by far.

  68. I made bagels twice last week–different recipe though. I used all-purpose flour in those, but I’ll whip out the bread flour next time. There was no waiting time involved, though, with the fridge.

    My husband said they needed to be a bit chewier; I’ll have to experiment with the boiling time.

    And barley syrup! That’s a new one for me. I never shop at Whole Foods (gasp! Seriously?!?); I buy those big bags of 25 lbs of restauarant bread flour from Sam’s Club (it’s a good thing because I used half a bag making bread one day last week–all day! There’s only half a loaf on French bread left now. . .)

    And here, another bagel recipe, just tempting me to try it. The book looks good; it will probably make its way to my kitchen cookbook spot one day, but not yet.

    Incidentally, I used chopped dried onions too. They were awesome–the perfect size. I soaked them in water for a couple of minutes before using them. I did an egg wash right after boiling and my toppings stuck well too.

    I’m seriously tempted to try cranberries next time. Probably next week. Maybe with this recipe (okay, only half, because I like everything bagels too, but not everything plus cranberries. Yuck!)

  69. Made these this weekend and OH MY GOSH they are good! Even though I used plain bread flour and had no malt syrup, they still turned out wonderful. I will be making our bagels myself from now on- thank you!

  70. I’ve never had a real bagel — I’m in Toronto so growing up I’ve only ever eaten the ones sold in donut shops or found frozen in the grocery store. Now, there are several places to buy fresh bagels, but friends who’ve visited or lived in Montreal or New York feel immense pity for me. They describe in detail what a real bagel tastes like.

    Well, now you have given me the tools to find out for myself!

    Or, I could buy a plane ticket to New York City. I mean, really, it’s not that far. I want to be one of those people who miss New York bagels.

    Now excuse me while I order high gluten flour and warm up the Kitchen Aid.

  71. A freshly made bagel in the hand is worth far more that the sum of the time to make them. My daughter bakes mini versions of these for famiily gatherings much to everyone’s delight! And we get the yummy leftovers.

  72. I can’t wait to try this recipe but I just wanted to comment to say that my favorite thing in the whole post were the following words:
    “The crazy, it keeps coming.”
    I think you just summarized my artistic temperment, and therefore my life, in one sentence. BRAVO!

  73. The flavor was great but mine came out a bit flat? Any tips or suggestions about where I may have gone wrong?

  74. I just made these and they were wonderful. Big, chewy, and delicious. I used 1c. white whole wheat and buckwheat honey instead of the malt. The ten minute bake time is way too short! Mine baked for 17 and after cutting into 5, one of them was still a little raw/gooey in the center but still fine to eat once toasted. I also like to do an egg wash on my bagels, which I forgot to do, it adds such a nice shine and color.

  75. Torrie: I have read that over proofing the bagels can cause them to fall flat once put in the oven, also true for other breads. Keep in mind the temp. of your kitchen and set a timer for each rest/rise.

  76. I’ve started making the sponge, but it looks nothing like in the picture and the consistency isn’t that liquid. It immediately turned into a rubbery ball of dough. I covered it up though, to see if that would change things? I don’t see this getting bubbly or foamy in the next two hours. I am at a higher elevation(5500 ft), so I wonder if that has anything to do with it?? I’m dying for a decent bagel, but if I can’t even make the sponge, I am in trouble here! Help!

  77. I’m a newcomer to your blog and found the bagels almost immediately. To all those who yearn for NY bagels, be assured they aren’t what they used to be when I was young (and I’m 87). My husband and I moved to North Carolina about 18 years ago and good bagels are non-existant. Last Wednesday I received a gift from a friend in CA who bakes all her own bread and Reinhart’s bagels – one taste of them and my husband and I were taken back 50 years when bagels were bagels in NYC. Evie sent two dozen and we are rationing ourselves (with difficulty).

    To BECKY who posted on May 10th, my friend lives at 8500 feet elevation but she has never had any problems. She said that it sometimes takes longer to get to the point where it is usable, until it rises it might take 3-4 hours. So give it another try – they are really worth it.

  78. I made these over the weekend and they are BRILLIANT!

    Here in England, I couldn’t get a hold of malt syrup (so I went with the sugar option) nor high-gluten flour (so I used Organic Strong White Flour) without spending a fortune ordering them (i.e. shipping them from the States!). I’d be really interested to try the suggested ingredients, but these didn’t seem to suffer too much. I tried both of the rolling methods and am still undecided on which I like both. The ‘pokey’ method gave me a much bigger whole, and generally ‘bigger’ bagels, but they both cooked just fine and I kind of like the funkiness of the rollie ones.

    I cooked these in two batches over two days, and the taste is fine. The only problem was that i didn’t put enough cornflour on the tray the next day, so I had to peel the bagels away, taking the ‘crust’ off! Oh dear. Never mind!

    I will definately definately be making these again. Thanks so much for your helpful notes and wonderful post.

  79. Great description of BBA bagels! Yours look absolutely wonderful and the description of the crispy crust and chewy insides is exactly what I would expect a bagel to be! I too tried his bagels but my results were, er, less happy than yours. Check it out if you’re interested: http://strangerkiss.wordpress.com/2009/06/20/the-great-bagel-disaster-of-09/

    Love your blog. Great articles and pictures. FYI: I nominated your site over at the Bitten blog. They’re looking for the best new cooking-related blogs.

  80. These are wonderful! I made them last weekend. I couldn’t find malt syrup or high-gluten flour (the bagel-making was a spur-of-the-moment decision), but I did come across some gluten supplement. The instructions on the box are to add 1tsp per cup of AP flour for bread making… I added 1tsp per cup of bread flour for bagel making, and I think it really improved the texture.

    Also, I split the difference of your size suggestions and went with 3oz bagels – they still feel like full-size rather than mini, but aren’t enormous. I got 18 bagels. The egg wash is definitely good advice, too.

    Thanks for the recipe! I love your blog.

  81. I’m making these right now! Thanks for the recipe!
    On a technical note, do you find that the more you knead the dough, the stickier it gets? I add a spoonful of flour, happily knead away for another 3 minutes, and it starts to get sticky again. Add more flour. Knead until a little sticky. Add more flour. I assume the dough can’t be sticky *forever*… I just stopped after about 15 minutes of kneading. Did anyone else notice this?

    Love your blog. Your pictures are fantastic. I honestly don’t know how you bake/cook and photograph at the same time. I will take pictures of mine after it’s all done, if they’re worth photographing. :)

    1. I usually find that it gets less sticky. One tip (and I realize now that this post does not link to my Bread Tips post, but it should!) that works great for me is that when I get into one of those frustrating bread phases where I am adding flour and adding flour and the dough still feels too sticky to work with, to step aside and let it rest (with a piece of plastic wrap or an upturned bowl over it) for five minutes. When you come back, the dough has often magically absorbed that added flour and the glutens have relaxed a bit, making the dough a lot less sticky. It can save you from adding too much flour, which in the end will just make the bread tougher. I hope that helps, at least for next time. Share your pictures when they’re ready!

  82. Okay, I think I’m in trouble as I just mixed this dough in my Kitchenaid and after about 5 minutes the dough hook just stopped mixing! I hear the motor running, but no action. I’ll check it out again tomorrow after the machine cools down and with luck I won’t have to tell my wife!!

    Anyways, the process for these seems pretty straight forward. I found the malt syrup at the local health food store, though it’s a bit expensive at $6.99 for a fairly small jar. Unlike other bagel recipes I’ve tried, this dough feels good; silky and smooth. I’ve hidden the 3 trays in our spare refrigerator out in the garage and can’t wait to boil and bake tomorrow. I’m currently unemployed so to fill my time I bake and then pass it out to family and friends. My favorites are mandel bread, chocolate rugelach, challah, and now bagels! My friends don’t won’t me to find a job, but my wife thinks differently!

  83. Baked off the bagels this morning. I made 22 – 3 ounces each, boiled with the baking soda and malt syrup. I made some plain, some with fresh onion mixed with oil, and then some with some type of dried garlic topping we had in the spice cabinet. I don’t suggest the fresh onion as they are a bit oily and take a few minutes longer to bake, but the others look great! I tried a plain bagel, though I would have preferred a garlic one which I’ll save for my tasters. The bagel was quite chewy, crispy on the outside, but a bit tough in the middle. The next time I try these I’ll be making them a bit fatter. i know that these will be great toasted! I’ll be making my deliveries soon. TTFN

  84. I skipped the malt/barley options, used honey as my sweetener, and just ate a sample of my first batch of bagels. Holy smokes, these are scrumptious! Perfectly golden and chewy. Won’t be heading to the bagel shop for a while! :)

  85. I just made these. Lordy, are they good. The baking time was really unprecise, but I just kept a close eye on them. I made a half batch and made it into 8 bagels, and they’re a really large; I should have made 10 or 12. They just seemed a lot smaller when they were just in ball form…

    I didn’t have barley malt syrup and used agave nectar instead in both the dough and the boiling water, and I think it worked really nicely. They got a little bit of that bagel-shop taste you mentioned, which was great. Whether it was as good as with the syrup I can’t say, but I definitely like it with the agave. I already ate one of these slathered with butter tonight and it’s taking all my willpower not to eat another one. I’m looking forward to my colby jack, hummus, and cucumber sandwich on one at work tomorrow. If only I had some avocado too.

  86. The whole process of making these was terrifying and I kept having to turn to my better half to reassure me that everything was going to be FINE regardless of the outcome. I was nervous all last night and all this morning until five minutes ago when the baking was done and I chomped down on my first sesame seed bagel slathered in butter. Ahh. They’re really bagels! Thank you so much for this recipe, and WELCOME to your son!

  87. Oh man, I was just thinking about my BBA bagels. I had the last three(!) in one sitting last week, after finding them inside the bottom drawer of the freezer next to all the hops and yeasts. Love the story from SantaDad

  88. I started these last night leaving the sponge in the fridge overnight and making the dough in the morning to retard throughout the day. I used malt powder and high gluten flour but did not add in the last 3/4 cup of flour because my dough was already formed and quite stiff (it actually broke the welded handles off my KitchenAid bowl at the lowest speed). I boiled one minute on each side and feel the crust has the right “chew” but would like the interior to be more dense (perhaps the bit of flour I left out would have helped) and have just a little more salt (I did not use any toppings…maybe rock salt would be perfect). Regardless, it was a fun process and a good recipe.

  89. After successfully making these a couple weeks ago, I chose them as worthy of Christmas morning breakfast, and made them today for my parents and his brother and girlfriend. They’re delicious, even without the barley syrup.

    I, like many others, find that the least successful part of the bagels is the way they look. Deb, I’m convinced that you’re some sort of superhero for being able to generate such beautiful bagels. How in the world can you get them from parchment to pot without making them horribly misshapen? They’re so delicate when they rise that for me, any attempt to handle them results in seriously bruising their structure. I try to lift them off the sheet with my hands. I try to nudge them onto a spatula. I try to invert the pan over the pot and plop them in. None are successful!

    They come out delicious, just flatter and bumpier than the incredibly perfect bagels pictured here.

    Anyone have any handling tips? It’s the final frontier between myself and never having to buy another bagel again.

  90. My 23 year old cousin recently had a bone marrow transplant in treatment for Leukemia that was diagnosed this past 4th of July. Until he reaches his 100 days post treatment (February 24th), he cannot eat foods prepared outside of the home. He’s been craving bagels now that he has his appetite back, but bakeries are off limits. Living in North Jersey, grocery store bread aisle bagels just don’t cut it. Hopefully, the dozen I made him for Christmas will suffice until the end of February! Thanks for giving me the confidence needed to pull this one off!

  91. I’ve wanted to make these ever since you posted this recipe. this week, my daughter Dorothy (4) started asking about making bagels. I knew immediately where I would find the recipe (right here)
    they are the project for this upcoming long weekend.

    can’t wait

    must buy cream cheese!!!

  92. The bagels were amazing. The kids could not stop eating them, and we will definitely be making these again
    my kitchen aid had some trouble with kneading the dough. Next time I might only make a half recipe. Or knead it in 2 batches

  93. When I began baking breads way back in 1973 — because I was tired of supermarket mush — one of my goals was to be able to make bagels. I conquered croissants with no problem. French breads. Easy. (sold them for nearly 20 years). Bagels, however, were never good. Until yesterday and today. I made your recipe. I saw it Monday night. I mixed it on Tuesday. This morning we had bagels for breakfast (and lunch). Thanks to you, I feel as if I have finally achieved another goal in my breadbaking life. Now if I could just find a good recipe for a New York Rye bread……….

  94. Tried the recipe, but didn’t have malt anything available except beer! Used that. Followed the recipe and process other than that……….Should add I have a crap oven that will not reach and maintain a high temp. Let them rest overnight after proofing. My only complaint is that they spread out more than I would have liked. But living in NC where they have no clue what bagels are they were GREAT!!! May never buy a bagel again!

  95. In case anyone finds it helpful: Peter Reinhart’s new book, Artisan Breads Every Day, has an updated, simpler bagel recipe that removes a couple steps, like creating a sponge. In fact, the theme of the book is revisiting artisan bread-making to streamline by leveraging modern techniques (like refrigeration)…I think it is a nice compromise between the 5-minute approach and strictly back-breaking artisan bread. I was lucky enough to get this book for Christmas and have made the bagel recipe twice with fantastic results. I was able to find a copy of the bagel recipe online via google pretty quick.

  96. I can’t wait to try this. I tried Jo Goldenberg’s bagels a few times, and they never worked for me. Also, re: the cornbread/rye bread, it’s still a St. Louis staple called “tzitzel bread.” Although I don’t live there anymore, anytime my Brooklyn-born grandma used to come visit she would by a bunch of loaves to take home.

  97. Thank you so much for posting this recipe! I have tried all versions and enjoy cooking all kinds of bagels for my friends and family! I come to your page all the time for this recipe! Here are some flavor variations I made:

    Asagio cheese: Get a block of asagio and grate it. Put half in the dough and reserve half for sprinkling on top of the bagels after boiling/before baking.

    Lemon-Poppy seed: Add zest from 1 lemon to the dough. Add poppy seeds to the dough. If you want, make a glaze with the lemon juice and sugar to coat before the bagel is baked.

    Marble-rye: Double the recipe. Make one standard batch and another batch with 1/2 rye, 1/2 standard flour. Add brown sugar/molasses/caraway seeds for flavor. Twist 2 rods of batter together and connect to make the marble effect.

  98. Wow! These bagels are awesome! The only thing we have down here in South Jersey are Dunkin Donuts bagels (one of worst excuses for a bagel I have ever seen). The only problem I had was that I didn’t get the fish eye on the crust. Any thoughts as to why?

  99. I’ve made these a bunch of times, and they’re fantastic (and fun to make, to boot)! I’ve only done plain, sesame, and poppy so far but want to venture into the wonderful world of everything bagels. Sorry if this is a dumb question, but how exactly do you rehydrate the dried garlic and onion? Do you just soak them in water? For how long? Thanks!

    Oh, and you should try Reinhart’s croissant recipe from Artisan Breads – amazing!!

  100. I have just finished making a batch and they are beautiful. I did not have barley syrup though, but I did have buckwheat honey. Which is much darker and richer then normal honey ( almost black). I think it gave them the color the barely would have and the flavor is so much better then anything I can buy in Euclid, Oh!

  101. Hi there! I want to try your bagel recipe but have one little question….since you are using high gluten flour, is the 24 hour refrigeration period needed? I wasn’t sure if this is just allowable for convenience’s sake or a necessary step in the recipe. I know with my pizza dough, my recipe that uses HG flour requires a 2 day lounge in the fridge to be its very best.

    Thanks, and I am enjoying perusing your site.

    Erin in Ohio

    1. The rest periods are less about the kind of flour, more about developing flavor. Generally speaking, resting times in the fridge can be reduced or increased, but the longer it hangs out in there, the better it should taste.

  102. For my starter I used gluten flour and it turned into a big sticky ball – couldn’t even finish stirring it. Did I use the wrong flour? The bread flour worked much better.

  103. Nice story. A lot of flavor is built by letting the dough sit for a day, which is probably a lot of the old ‘Jewish’ style taste. Because of religious prohibitions they always let the dough rest the entire day before baking. I always mix my dough, let it rise for an hour on the counter, punch it down, let is sit out for another hour then toss into plastic bags and let sit in the frig until I’m ready. Day of bagels or pizza making, the dough is ready, and full of flavor. I form the bagel, let ’em sit for 20 minutes or so, then they’re good to go. I really don’t have a lot of room in the frig for cooking trays.

    A word of caution, though. While parchment paper is a necessity, any temperature over about 450 degrees is outside of the safety zone for the stuff. I’ve never it seen it catch fire, but I’m pretty sure it’s possible.

  104. I made the dough yesterday and baked them today. They were amazzzzinggg! So much better than the bagels bought at the local store, and even the ones sold in Trader Joe’s. The ones I made were nice and crisp on the outside, and a nice bready texture on the inside. Love it! Compared to the dry, flavorless bagels from the store, these are wonderful! I also added maybe 1/4 cup of ww flour, and 4 tbsp. of flax seed meal into the batter. I left out around 2/3 cups of flour, and added 1/4 cups of water. Definitely going to make these again~
    Thank you (:

  105. Has anyone had any trouble with the sponge being too dry? I am making four batches of these this week and it is the second time that I’ve made these. Both times I’ve tried, I add two and a half cups of water to my 4 cups of flour (did it by measure the first time, by weight the second time with the same results) and ended up with a dry, shaggy bowl of dough bits. The recipe clearly states that I will end up with something akin to pancake batter. I had to add another, nearly, cup of water just to have it soft enough to mix all together. When I added the remaining flour for the dough, I had to add yet more water to get it to come together and be fully hydrated.

    I have had this problem before with baking recipes, including a pizza dough recipe that I found on this site. As I stated above, I’ve tried doing it by measure and by weight. The weight and the measure come to just about the same, so it’s accurate. I don’t know if it’s a regional thing (air humidity, air pressure) being in the Pacific Northwest, or if I am missing something.

    The bagels turned out AMAZING the first time I tried it, despite my water issues, and I am hoping they turn out again this time. I am going to be feeding my office this Friday morning with home-baked/boiled bagels and homemade Danish gravadlax. If anyone has any tips to the water issue, though, I would be very interested.

  106. I have lived in Manhattan for 40 years. I have tried all the “best” bagels shops listed in competitions or known by reputation. The ONLY bagels I continue to eat are from “Ess A Bagel” on 1st Avenue @ E. 21st St. They are as good as they were in 1972 when I moved to the neighborhood for college!!! Favorite? Chopped liver on a sesame w/ salt…yum!!!

  107. Ok, not a typically bagel type of ingredient, but I added finely chopped sun dried tomatoes to the mix and they were delicious!! In another fit of trying new another time I added finely chopped Jalepenos and some parmesan with parmesan sprinkled on top, and it was another winner!

  108. I just made batch of what I am sure will be basic bagels, and upon searching for freezing techniques, came across this recipe. I have Peter’s crust and crumb cookbook and haven’t made the bagels because his starter yielded so much and I wasn’t sure how to do the math. I’m so excited to try these. I am following the cooking instructions here, as I think they will help my bagels taste better. Thanks for sharing all your wonderful kitchen knowledge!

  109. I made these today (well, started last night, finished today) and I swear, I am never buying bagels again!!!! these were amazing and delicious, and i can’t wait to start experimenting with different flavors (cinnamon chocolate chip bagel anyone??? Maybe pumpkin flavored?? Ah the possibilities!!!!!) I boiled them at least two minutes on each side, and cooked one tray at a time for 10 minutes each, and they came out perfectly from doing that. I used unbleached AP flour and added some wheat gluten to it. The bagels were the perfect chewiness and consistency and I just can’t stop thinking about them. They are staring at me from the other room. Thanks for sharing this recipe!!!

  110. Hi,

    I have had bagels from a specialist bagel cafe (in Brunswick, Melbourne) and from my local Woolworths’ Bakery section, and made them before with a Dan Lepard (British baker and bread specialist). I saw this recipe and had it on my to-do list. Then our Australian McDonald’s chain (which has been putting out some upmarket style selections to compete with cafe culture) put a bagel on their menu last week. To avoid being lured into their doors I decided I had to act!

    I made half the mix plain (using Lauke’s white bread flour and a smidge of the Barrossa sour dough flour because I was running out of plain) and half raisin. The doughs were lovely and silky after kneading in my Kenwood mixer. I made 125g dough balls (which are retarding in the fridge for the weekend), but cooked up my 65g leftover pieces for breakfast this morning.

    Absolutely well worth the effort. More time consuming than an actual lot of work.

  111. I just made my first batch and they look beautiful. I did let them sit for 2 days in the fridge and it was too long – they overproofed. Most of them sprung back up in the oven, but a few did not. Definitely making these again and will bake after one day.

  112. I want to make Reinhart’s bagels but don’t have instant yeast, only the “proper” bona fide kind. SK, do you have any idea how to substitute one for the other?

  113. V. sorry to add so many comments, but Luisa of Wednesday Chef wrote up the recipe for Peter Reinhart’s bagels very recently and her version is simpler for the most part, and just different. I’m not talking about ingredient quantities since it’s clear that you’ve altered those yourself, but the method. The comments on her page have now closed (bet you’re wishing you did the same here) so I couldn’t as her why. Good example: she says that you knead the bagel dough for just 2 to 3 mins not 10.

    http://www.thewednesdaychef.com/the_wednesday_chef/2011/03/peter-reinharts-bagels.html

    1. No, I don’t wish I’d closed comments. (That’s usually done because of spam issues, which I am lucky to have the software to avoid.) I enjoy getting comment from people whenever they make something, even if it’s years later.

      I agree that her instructions are more streamlined and that these would benefit from the same editing down — no reason not use hers instead. One day I hope to get back into the archives to clean up overly cluttered recipes. Or, the next time I make bagels!

  114. Thanks, Deb. Aha! Louise, mystery solved. That’s where Luisa got her bagel recipe from. So the simplification for less able (talented, patient) cooks came from Reinhart himself, good for him. My bagels were delicious only the corn oil I used to brush the pan and surface of the bagels with gave them a strange un-bagel-like flavour. Maybe the oil is getting old or I need to be even more sparing with it next time.

  115. THANK YOU!

    I grew up on a farm about 100 miles from Chicago. In the fall a Jewish (the only one I knew until I was an adult) and his wife would come to our woods to search for and pick mushrooms. They would bring us this huge bag of bagels from New York Bagel and Bialy. Where I grew up there was no such thing as a bagel and this was a wonderful treat.

    At 20 I moved to Chicago and one day happened upon NYBB. It was a weekly ritual to go get fresh bagels. When we moved to NYC we lived on 10th and 21st and would walk down to the bagel factory at 4 am to get these delicious treats as they came out of the oven.

    I now live in Amman Jordan and despite all the amazing bakeries and the fresh bread at any hour there is not a bagel to be found. Thank goodness I grew up with a Grandma that baked bread every week so it is one skill I learned from her and bread it not intimidating to me.

    I found your recipe and decided that bagels were worth a 2 day adventure. Thank you so much for taking the time to post this long and laborious recipe in such great detail. My bagels turned out perfect! They are exactly like the NYBB’s in Chicago.

    This will not be a weekly thing but it will be an often thing. Thank you for saving me from my cravings.

    XXOO

  116. you just saved my neck! i have been making bagels for two days now. my boyfriend thinks i have finally lost it, lol. could not get a decent result and was about to give up. then i found your blog! THESE ARE GOOD. well worth the effort, and it was fun anyway, to make them. thank you!

  117. Ive made bagels a few times now, each yielding a different result. As I put them into the boiling water they get all lumpy and full of finger prints. When I take them out of the water they look strange like flat finger printed circles. The dough feels quite sticky/wet before I put it in the boiling water. Should it be this texture?The finished product is great, I just cant help but try to perfect the process. Thanks much!!

  118. When my husband became addictedto bagels ($$$) I fooled around with making them from several recipes before I pieced together a winner. Guess what? Mine is almost exactly like this one! If you have a heavy duty mixer it makes it all much easier, and I also found that keeping the dough in the ‘fridge overnight before shaping the bagels is much easier and yields the same taste as having awkward trays of bagels in the ‘fridge for a long time. It’s also easier to avoid over proofing which seems to be happening to those making comments. Boil them as soon as they pass the float test, or refrigerate up to an hour before boiling.
    I agree that commercial bagels are too big and make 16 from a recipe for 12.
    Thanks for posting this long process. Now when people want my bagel recipe I’ll send them to you!

  119. I know this is an older article, but I really enjoy this bagel recipe and was wondering if you had ever tried the other recipe from Peter Reinhart’s “Artisan Breads Every Day” book. The same basic ingredients but some of the steps are different and I’ve not found anywhere that compared the two.

  120. Cameron – Having the same hydration problem as you did… 2 1/2 cups of water to the 4 cups flour for the sponge resulting in dry, shaggy bowl of dough bits. What am I doing wrong?? (It’s been a few months since your post; I was wondering if you or others have cracked the code)

  121. I love when my everything bagels have everything in the dough not just on top. How much of each should I add to the dough. Sunflower seeds, garlic, poppy seeds, sesame seeds etc.?

  122. I have been drooling over these bagels for weeks and I finally made these bagels! I couldn’t find the malt powder or high protein flour so I just used bread flour and brown sugar. The bagels don’t look great but they taste pretty yummy, like a really soft chewy bread. I don’t think that they taste like bagels though … maybe those two special ingredients would make the difference.

  123. I’m having a hard time keeping the fluffiness of the bagel when moving them from nice puffy and risen on the baking sheet to having them flatten out when i place them in the water, then when they are baked they don’t puff up again, hence flatter bagels….any suggestions? Could it have something to do with the humidity outside?

  124. Hi Anna – I was just about to make these again and stumbled on your comment. I found that the longer the time between boiling and baking, the flatter my bagels turned out. The ones I popped in the oven straight away were plump and round and those I left sitting while boiling more I didn’t get the same height or plumpness with. How long did you leave them between boiling and baking?

  125. I was looking for a bagel recipe and came to Smitten first to see whether there was a recipe here, and alas there was.

    I found the recipe easy to follow (the notes were helpful) and even though the recipe takes two days, that is mainly waiting time so it felt like barely any effort went in at all.

    They taste great (although I don’t have much to compare them to, bagels being a bit normal bread like in Australia) and I am sure I will be making them again, but making sure I add the garlic or onion (only sea salt this time).

    Thanks again for an awesome recipe, Deb.

  126. I made these over the weekend. I am a bread fiend…seriously, I would do unethical things for a loaf of sourdough. But, my husband doesn’t share my cravings. He could take bread or leave it. When I told him I was making bagels, he was pretty unexcited. I decided then and there that he wouldn’t be allowed to have one.

    But, then after 2 days of prepping, rising, waiting, kneading, waiting, rising, boiling, and baking….they came out of the oven and resembled little holy (literally) rolls of heaven. The chewy/tough outside…the warm, doughy moist inside…I couldn’t deprive him of their greatness. I gave in, and let my husband eat one. He was actually speechless. He LOVED them. He wanted to eat all of them at the same time. Now HE is the one who will do unethical things for these bagels! And me…? I will never buy store bought bagels again. It just wouldn’t be right.

    Thank you for making my bread cravings a little bit stronger…too bad these take so long to make…it just makes me want to eat 4 or 5 when they are finally ready. If my jeans don’t fit anymore, I’m blaming you.

  127. Hey deb, I’m actually making these as we speak and I notice that my sponge is too thick (or, I think) what would you recommend for water to flour ratio when substituting?

  128. Anna– I have this problem too, but I’m going to decrease the liquid in my next batch to see if that helps.
    Deb–from the number of continuing posts on this recipe, I think you should definitely make bagels again and report your results. Personally, I like egg bagels–but I suppose that would just complicate the basic discussion.

  129. Hello! I have made this recipe a couple times and found the bagels to come out too hard and a little too small (even though I divided the recipe for large bagels). Today I made them again and decided to cut out the fridge step completely, and actually let them rise in a slightly warm oven for about 20 minutes. This gave me huge, delicious, still chewy and still fluffy bagels. Not sure what the fridge step was adding (sometimes I don’t notice depth of flavor that well anyway), but I won’t be doing it in the future. I also made one of two batches into chocolate chip bagels by adding cocoa powder (1/4 cup), sugar (1tbsp), and chocolate chips (1/2 cup) and they were incredible. Thanks!!! Gave these to family members for Chanukah presents.

  130. Can you make half the recipe? Or would it not work to do half the sponge and half the dough. This is just too many bagels for our small family. thank you

  131. I’ve made these three times and the third time was by far the best. I think the difference may have been that I put more gluten in with the flour. I used approximately 3 cups ‘high gluten flour’ (from the bulk bins at Winco) mixed with all-purpose for the rest. I make my bagels small- 2 oz each- and 1 minute of boiling per side was sufficient for a good chewiness, while a 2 minute boil made them too rubbery. These are delicious, and I love that just by varying the toppings, you have what seems like a whole new creation. Oh, Deb, I hope you make these again in your new-found time since your book is off to the publishers!

  132. Finally made these after eyeing the recipe for probably a year. I have no idea why I waited so long. As a displaced New Yorker living in Colorado, I couldn’t have been happier with the results. Thank you for another fab recipe.

  133. i’ve made these a few times now and love them! questions: do you have any idea how i could convert this recipe to use my own sourdough started instead of the instant yeast. perhaps the instant yeast is key to the recipe. i’m finding conflicting info in my research. thanks!

  134. Marcus, I had a similar problem, and I have a theory that it might have to do with excess water getting on the pan after boiling the bagels. I was afraid it would happen, so I started pat-drying the bottom of each one a little before I put it down. When they were done, the ones I’d dried were great, while the first few had soggy spots.

  135. I followed your directions for my first foray into bagel-making … SUCCESS! They are fantastic! I’m going to try my favorite, rye, next time …

  136. Hello! I’ve been admiring this recipe for a long while and have finally decided to try it out for myself, because I’ve at last found the free time to do so. I just had a question about flavors and toppings for the bagels. Would it be possible to add chopped chocolate pieces at any time? I thought that maybe adding the pieces in the final dough might work, but am afraid that they might melt in the process of boiling and ruin the bagel. Any ideas? Thank you!

  137. So this is my first time commenting, though I follow The Kitchen for about a year now and have tried a bunch of your amazing recipeas. But this time I just had to stop by the comments section and thank you for the bagel experience :) I have actually never had a bagel before in my life, since i come from Slovenia and nobody here knows what a bagel is. But I have this little obsession about NY – and the baked goods that go with the idea of it ( I blame Seinfeld ;) ). Anyways, yesterday i made my own batch and, well, it was like a fantasy :) Thank you so much!

    P.S. Teagan – I was wondering just the same! Can chocolate chips survive the bath? Help! :)

  138. This was my first try at bagels. What a disappointment! I probably needed 2 extra cups of flour than were called for in the recipe, they didn’t rise at all, and mine also had soggy spots, and not just on the bottoms. I followed this recipe to a tee. :( Sorry to say that I will be looking for a different recipe to try next time.

  139. I forgot to add that the plastic over the bagels stuck to them so they were nearly impossible to separate. You might want to spray the plastic before you cover them.

  140. My mother loves blueberries bagels and I would love to try and make them for her using this recipe; would it be possible to adjust this recipe to make blueberry bagels? Could real blueberries be used or would it have to be dried ones? Thanks for everything; I love your website (for both the food and photography).

    1. Hi Jennifer — I’ve never tried a blueberry bagel before! Are they usually made with dried or fresh? These bagels are intended for a dried fruit — raisins, of course — so I can’t imagine that using dried blueberries instead would pose a problem.

  141. They worked out perfectly : ) thank you so much for posting this recipe, not being in the vicinity of any good bagels I am going to be making these often.

    I found that my sponge rise time was 3,4 hrs, and needed 20 mins in the oven. I also made a rye version, substituting 2 cups of the flower with rye flower and kneading for 20, 30 min rather than 10.

  142. Thank you for posting this recipe! I have been wanting to make bagels for so long & I was so happy my bagels worked out perfectly first time!…I had a go at adapting your recipe (not because I think there is anything wrong with it, just because I really enjoy adapting and playing around with recipes): http://foodblogfood.tumblr.com/ My best adaption was the Raspberry Fennel Bagels I made with fresh raspberry’s & fennel from the garden.

  143. Hey Deb,

    Been following your blog for a while and wanted to thank you for all the great recipes. Quick question on this one though. I don’t know if its just me, but every time I make the sponge, its more dry than I think its supposed to be. In the end, I always have to end up adding more water to the dough. Is this typical?

    1. Santi — I haven’t made these in a couple years so it’s really hard for me to remember the texture. I’m also not positive that there’s a right or wrong texture for sponges, but I do think that most that I have made are on the loose side (I would think to make it easiest for the yeast to do its thing before having to toughen it up with more flour). If it’s working for you when you add more water, keep doing it. And I promise to come back to this post when I make them again (possibly soon — I have a crazed idea brewing…)

  144. Thanks for this recipe! They were fun to make, and delicious! I think next time I’ll try making wheat bagels – any suggestions for that? How much all-purpose flour should I switch out for wheat flour?

  145. I am looking forward to trying this and am now proofing my sponge! I am a little worried that I won’t get the desired NY bagel style consistency without the hi-gluten flour and am not up for mail ordering hi-gluten flour just yet. I have read online that one can add vital wheat gluten to my flour as a substitute, realizing it is not going to be identical to hi-gluten flour. Has anyone tried this substitution yet and, if so, what were your results?

  146. I had the same problem as adina – mine are flat, flat, flat. I don’t think they rose at all in the 20 minutes after shaping – maybe they need to sit longer?

  147. In order to get really good bread I became an experienced bread baker when we moved from the city to the “back of beyond” in rural KY. And then, after missing good bagels, I’ve tried this recipe several times (also tried Peter Reinhart’s recipe out of “Artisan Breads Every Day”). The bagels always look perfect when I remove them from the refrigerator and then……..they completely deflate when I carefully put them into the boiling/simmering water. What am I doing wrong? Might one solution be to use high-gluten flour? Other suggestions? Help!

  148. I have been looking for decades for a recipe close to Montreal Jewish Bagels, haven’t found it yet but sure hope this is the one. Only thing is I think that the ones in Montreal, by the research I have done, all are made and baked at one place too and get distributed to the shops every day. They use a wood burning oven to cook them in from what I have read. They have such a distinct texture and taste, fabulous is the only word that comes to mind!
    Have the people that failed with this recipe, mainly rising and deflating from the sounds of it, found out a solution?
    Look forward to seeing more answers and as soon as I get the high gluten flour I will give them a go too and will post again.

  149. I made these because I did not like the store type bagels, too much like bread. I gave away four of them as they were cooling. Sort of a mistake, now they want to know when I am making them again. Do not give out samples to people who do not bake! But, seriously these are great. thank you.

  150. These were amazing! Made them with bread flour and non-diastatic malt powder in the dough and poaching water. My Jewish grandparents (who, to put it lightly, know their bagels) were blown away. Thanks for taking the time to write out the recipe in such detail–it is much appreciated!

  151. I made these bagel babies yesterday. My hubby approved all aspects, he said, they were like the old NYC bagels. I used bread flour (plus 1 tablespoon vital wheat gluten for every cup of flour), sponge time was 3 hours, honey sub for the barley malt syrup and weighed each 3.4 oz. I will definitely buy barley malt syrup (wholefoods has them). I divided the dough into two balls, one plain, one cinnamon raisin. When I boiled them, they were rising a bit more. The cinnamon ones were a bit flat than the plain ones (assuming raisins made them heavier? Maybe).
    Deb, thank you so much for the recipe. No more store bought bagels!

  152. I scrupulously followed this recipe and even cross-referenced it with Peter Reinhart’s amended version and another “expert” recipe (“The Baron’s Bagels”) from the NYTimes. I ordered high-gluten flour and diastatic malt powder from Amazon, used a scale to weigh ingredients – the whole nine yards. And, sadly, like many on here, my bagels came out flat and misshapen. Is this the result of over-proofing? They were puffy and promising when I took them out of the fridge this morning to boil. I was full of hope. Would it be better to proof the dough overnight in the fridge as one big ball and shape them day-of? Does anyone have any advice? I’m dying to try them again and I want the gorgeous, puffy and chewy bagels in your beautiful pics! I will not surrender! Please, any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  153. I started making bagels about a month ago, but this is a new recipe for me. While we loved the old recipe, I don’t think I’ll go back to it! This one is perfect. I used plain old bread flour and used brown sugar instead of the malt powder. They turned out very well–crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside. So glad I found this!

  154. Deb, I have become the home made bagel evangelist. I made them last weekend with friends and convinced them that it was not really that hard and completely worth the effort. I am known as the crazy one who will make things that normal people buy. My latest favorite is hoisin sauce which is amazing, but I digress.

    Many years ago it was possible to buy par cooked H&H bagels in San Diego, so that is how I bake most of mine– 10-12 minutes until they are firm, but not brown. I cool them, freeze them on a cookie sheet, and then put them in a ziplock bag in the freezer. The bagels come strait out of the freezer and into the toaster oven at 400 or so for about 10 minutes. I would have to compare them side by side to tell that they were not freshly fully cooked. Works wonderfully if you only have two people to eat the bagels and do not want to eat them three meals a day.

  155. I love bagels and have been making them myself for a few years – I can’t wait to try this recipe. It is mentioned in the story that “There were only two kinds of bagels, plain and egg. None of this cranberry, raisin, chocolate chip stuff.” I love egg bagels and have never found a good recipe for them and since I live in the south now I cannot even buy egg bagels. Do you have an adaptation for egg bagels? I am not sure what to add to make a great eggy bagel. Thanks!

  156. Deb – Thank you for sharing this outstanding recipe. I’ve made bagels multiple times using a few different approaches, and this one resulted in the best combination of taste and presentation that I’ve yet found. The overnight retarding process has the dual benefit of controlling proofing as well as firming up the shaped dough for transfer to the water. Also, your bagels are so photogenic! Any other insight into minimizing the warping that happens when handling the shaped dough from baking sheet to pot? I’m using shortening-greased parchment paper and it still sticks.

  157. Thank you for sharing your recipe. I was wondering if it was a typo that you used the term “retarded” to define putting the bagels in the fridge. I understand the concept, but I don’t know if that is the proper term or a typo.

    Thanks again.

  158. I made these last night and then baked them this morning. They’re so good!! Lovely and chewy and taste great with butter! I’ve never had a bagel before [I’m an Aussie] but I’ll be making these again!

  159. The sponge is working as I type this. Makes me a bit nervous combining yeast with room temp water and no sugar for it to work on. I’m assuming it will activate, since others have had success with this recipe, but don’t see how. But then I’m not a professional baker.

    For questions about the windowpane test, see YouTube for video instructions.

  160. Just finished my first batch of these today and they were pretty successful! I used the barley malt syrup in the dough and a couple Tbsp honey in the boiling water — both seemed to contribute nicely to the flavor.

    A couple things I encountered, which don’t seem too out of line based on other bread I’ve made: when kneading by hand (I don’t have a stand mixer) it actually took me 30min instead of 10 to get the right consistency in the dough.

    Throughout the kneading I probably incorporated another cup of flour from flouring the board to keep the dough from sticking — the dough started out very, very sticky and loose — but eventually I ended up with the perfect stiff but silky, pliable dough that passed the windowpane test. I’m a total convert to measuring by weight, and it’s possible I was light with my cup measurements to start. Would love the same recipe with weight instead of cups. I also used bread flour, but may add a bit of Bob’s Red Mill Vital Gluten to the flour next time too.

    I separated the dough into 15 balls around 4.1oz each. These resulted in quite large finished bagels, so I’ll probably do 3.5oz next time. I proofed for 20-30min, then refrigerated for about 18hrs.

    Oh, and I egg washed them after boiling like you recommend and that worked great for sticking the sesame seeds to the bagels. Baked for 12min total at 500deg the entire time. Could even do 15-18min next time I think, for an even better flavor on the crust.

    All in all, no complaints — they taste wonderful and I stuck nearly all of them in the freezer to pull out 1 by 1 so they don’t go stale before I can eat them all. Will definitely make again!

  161. Confused!
    The first time I followed this recipe the bagels turned out fantastic. I have tried twice more and they were a disaster but I do not have a clue what happened so I will explain and see if someone can help me out.
    The 2nd and 3rd time the bagels just spread out on the sheet while resting in the fridge overnight. Rather then rise, they just flattened and spread out. They were porous and only partial skinned over the next day. While I managed to get them out of the water in one piece, they looked horrible and did not cook on the inside, just raw dough.
    Sooo, outside of ordering “peter reinharts artisan bread,” what did I do wrong?
    Thanks in advance.

  162. Hi- I am looking forward to trying this recipe. I always have trouble though, when I have to boil bagels it pretzel bread. When I’m getting the baked into the water bath they always become misshapen. Any suggestions?? Thank you!

  163. Sooo…. I just finished baking the last tray of these bagels (using 2 oz balls of dough) and I would say about 40% of each sheet totally flattened out/ deflated while the rest were beautiful and perfect! I cannot for the life of me figure out how this happened; I followed the recipe, rolled them out and shaped them all the same, they all proofed for the same amount of time, boiled for the same amount of time, baked for the same amount of time, etc., etc. The bagels all looked the same, felt the same, boiled the same UNTIL after I pulled them from the boiling water and that’s when the random few would start to shrivel up while the rest stayed plump and beautifully bagel-esque. I’ve read through all of the comments and it looks like other people have also had problems with the bagels deflating, but not all of mine deflated. Anyone else have this problem?? The only thing I can think of is maybe some the ones that shriveled had bigger/ more air bubbles in the dough?

  164. Two mistakes. I used active yeast instead of instant, and I didn’t put the baking soda in the water. As a result I have slightly yeasty tasting flat bagels, but I am galvanized for next week when I will try again. I live in Albuquerque. “Bagels” here are just circular pieces of bread that taste nothing like what I remember growing up on the east coast, and tragically no one here seems to realize what they are missing (yes, I am a snob, but only about bagels and maple syrup).

  165. I am a professional baker, and the recipe I use is similar to yours. I use malt in the boiling water but no baking soda. To tell the truth, I don’t feel that bagel making is tedious or excessively time consuming or complicated. It’s like most breads really, but the shaping part does take a small bit of practice. I use method 2 for shaping my bagels.

    Rachel, I will be visiting my daughter who lives in the East Mountains, next month. We will be having lessons on making sourdough bread, and I do want to teach her how to make bagels, too. And some other things. I’ll only be there for a week, so it’s going to be a very busy time in the kitchen!

  166. I made these 2x using bread flour and they turned out fantastic- didn’t have high gluten flour, and was wondering if adding some of that vital gluten protein powder they sell at whole foods would be like having high gluten flour?
    Wanted to chime in and say thanks for this great website, and this wonderful recipe. A friend of mine turned me on to your site- beautiful pictures, and great writing. Thanks!

  167. Mine came out great today! Even though I forgot to add the baking soda to the boiling water, oy. I couldn’t figure out why they were still so light colored half way through baking them (basically white, since I used honey, not malt syrup). Then I remembered what I forgot…but the texture was still good and totally better than the lame steamed bagels you get in Chicago. My friends loved them. I have one raw one left that I plan on making tomorrow. It’ll be nice to know what the baking soda versus no baking soda will do. I baked half for 15 minutes and the the half for maybe 17, I was trying to see if I could get them to darken a little more. I was so paranoid about these, my sponge didn’t seem to foam up as much as some of the other pictures I saw (I even threw out the first batch since I was using fairly old yeast, bought new yeast, and it did the same thing). Clearly it was fine though!

    Anyone else every forget the baking soda/worry the sponge wasn’t working really?

  168. After moving to Boston from New York, I was desperate for a good bagel. These do the trick! They taste great-chewy and flavorful. My issue is that once I boil them, they come out horribly lumpy. It doesn’t affect the taste, but I would like a nicer presentation. Is this related to how well I mix the dough at the very beginning? Something else? Any help would be appreciated!

  169. I just made these incredible bagels in one (New Orleans snow) day. Did everything that you suggested minus the overnight wait time in the fridge. Rather I left the bagels out to rise for 4 hours on my kitchen table and they turned out phenomenally. Thanks for the recipe and all the tips! Will definitely make these again.

  170. I’ve made these twice in about a month. They are so good. Just like a bagel should be. The first time, I also made a recipe of pumpernickel that were amazing. Anyway, that’s not why I’m posting. My very picky almost 5 year old didn’t like the first batch because they weren’t the same color as the Sara Lee one’s she was used to. So this time, when I boiled them, I didn’t put the barley malt in the water for the first 1/2 of the bagels. They didn’t turn that color that she found so objectionable. The second 1/2 I did use the barley malt because I wanted to know if it affected the taste. Not only did it have a bit of an impact on the color and taste, the second batch ended up bigger. I had weighed the dough when making the bagels so I know that they were all within 1/8 of an ounce of each other. I found that interesting and unexpected.

    These are becoming a staple in our diet. I’ve always liked mini bagels because they are the perfect size for so many things and then I don’t go into a carb induced breakfast coma when I have a bagel. So easy. My mixer doesn’t much like how firm the dough is so I have to hand kneed it but that’s a good upper body work out. Anyway, thanks for the recipe. And my husband says thanks for this one and the one for bialys. He ate 3 batches of your bialy recipe in one weekend!

  171. do these need to go into the boiling water directly from the fridge or do we need to get them to room temp first?

  172. Thank you SO much for posting this recipe and your amazing instructions and photos!!
    I made these bagels for the first time (unsuccessfully) in a college dorm kitchen five or six years ago, and since then I’ve made them again and again, figured out a lot of my original problems and questions, and gotten rave reviews from bagel connoisseurs and newbies alike.
    Since I’ve seen a lot of comments here from people whose various bagel dilemmas sound a lot like the ones I’ve had, I thought I’d post some suggestions that might help:
    My sponge is always pretty thick – more like muffin or drop biscuit batter than pancake batter – and I just go with it.
    If your bagels flatten out in the fridge and don’t seem to rise at all, you’ve got dead yeast. Start over. :-(
    If the yeast is alive, but you still end up with flat, ugly, bagel-disks, the dough or formed bagels probably rose too much, too quickly. They’ll rise quickly if left out in a warm kitchen, forming lots of large air bubbles in the dough. Then, when you boil them, that structure collapses and you get sad, flat bagels. I always form the bagels quickly and get them into the fridge as soon as they pass the float test. Actually, sometimes I’ve forgotten to do the float test, with no adverse results.
    I’ve had the best results when I let the formed bagels sit in the fridge for no more than 12 hours, in an airtight container, on a greased surface so that they don’t stick and have to be pried off the next morning. Don’t let them return to room temperature before boiling.

  173. Romila- directly from the fridge has always worked best for me; they tend to retain their volume more during and after the boil.

  174. At present, I am halfway through my second go at this recipe. The first time around was a bit flawed, but I think I’ve corrected those missteps. Regardless of an imperfect first try, the bagels came out pretty fantastic nonetheless (even better when toasted), so this recipe seems somewhat foolproof.

    Evidence that these are as good (better, even) than NY bagels: my boyfriend and I are considering making a big batch of these, freezing them overnight and driving back home to NYC with them to eat with smoked fish from Russ and Daughters (R+D cannot be improved upon!). So there you have it: a heck of a lot more trouble than picking up a dozen at Absolute Bagels, but apparently so much better that it’s worth it :)

    I thought it might help others to know the winning ratio I’ve found works for AP flour and vital wheat gluten. Be sure to go cup by cup and sift/whisk/combine diligently so as to ensure a homogenous high-protein flour. I used 115 grams AP flour to 10 grams vital wheat gluten (about 1 c minus 1 TBS flour, plus 1 TBS gluten).

    Hope that helps!

  175. And oh my gosh THANK YOU DEB not just for this recipe but for all your amazing work, hilarious commentary and just generally for sharing your gift with all of us :)

    You are so, so talented!

  176. Thanks so much to you and the Wednesday Chef (and Peter Reinhart!) for this recipe. Just made these this morning and had bagels for the first time in forever. No bagels in France, and I could just not go one more day without. I always figured making bagels was impossible, and it turns out to be not that hard. Thanks for guiding me through another new cooking adventure!

  177. I read yours recipies rolls call bagels ,but this is “simits” is make in Turkey to this day.Bagels is origin from Poland is different product more than 400 years old
    In my family we make more than 80 years bagles,in Poland and Australia.You don’t have idea haw make bagels and ingredients.Bakery production technologist ,and master baker,in trade from 1966
    greg

    1. Hi greg — It’s my understanding that simits aren’t dipped in boiling water, as bagels are, but dipped in a mixture of cold water and molasses — the cooking is quite different, only the shape is similar. Please correct me if I’m wrong; they’re delicious and I’d love to make them one day. That said, it wouldn’t surprise me that there are many different ways to make bagels, given the way food travels across a diaspora. The recipe here represents the way they’re made in the U.S.

  178. Good bagels, indeed!!!
    Made these today and found that like many other commenters, my bagels were a bit flatter on top than the ones pictured. This did not affect flavor at all– they were crisp on the outside and soft but still chewy on the inside. Used bread flour and a baking soda bath. However, I did not let them retard overnight, but for about five hours– don’t have the fridge space, and it stays around 40 degrees outside during the day, hence insta-fridge on my porch.
    I do wonder how much impact this had, as others have said they followed the recipe to the letter and produced similarly less-than-globe-like bagels.
    I weighed 4 oz dough balls/13 bagels and found the end result to be absolutely huge, will def. make ‘mini’ bagels next time.

    In the end, do we really care how round they are when they taste this delightful? My answer is a resounding no.

  179. I think I’m with Santi- I definitely don’t get a pancake batter consistency in the sponge when I make these, and I’m not sure one is even possible with the nearly 2:1 flour to water ratio. I can’t find a reference to Reinhart’s sponge elsewhere on the web, but this bothers me every time I make these (yearly on Christmas Eve) as I struggle through adjusting a dry dough. Perhaps you could clear this up with the general logic and a reference to the source. Thanks!

  180. hi deb, I have been making bagels with your recipe for the past 4 years and it is AWESOME. just wanted to add, you can make your own hi-gluten flour by mixing in a tablespoon or two of vital wheat gluten to your bread flour when you make the sponge. I’m in chicago and it’s really hard to find high gluten flour here, and King Arthur DISCONTINUED theirs wtf!!!

  181. Hi Deb, i have so far only once made bagels according to your recipe (hi Chloe, I’m a little slow sometimes) but they where utterly fantastic. Just what i want in a bagel.
    I blogged it in German and adjusted the recipe so people here in Germany could make great bagels too. We have the same problem like Chloe in Chicago, high gluten flour is very hard to come by. Thanks for your blog and the great inspiration I get from it all the time!

  182. I made these today for the second time – the first time being about two years ago – and I was once again so impressed and thankful that you posted this recipe! My family is from NJ and when I moved to the midwest I really missed the delicious bagels. Nothing here compares. These are the perfect chewy texture on the inside with the tougher outside and a little crunch on the bottom. I don’t know why I waited so long to make them again! The process looks intimidating, but once you read through it a couple times it becomes clear that it’s not too difficult and the results are worth all the effort! (I find the same to be true for your pizza dough recipe which I also love! Lots of notes, but not as hard as it looks!) I made a double batch this time and froze almost 40 bagels! Thank you, thank you!

  183. hi, great recipe. I kind of weigh all my ingredients. I find it easier when I know how many grams of things I use in a bread recipe. Do apologize if someone requested this earlier :) Do you have a version of the recipe in grams or maybe I can figure out the bakers percentage and work it out from there. Sorry for the trouble but I was interested in the recipe and wanted to try this out.
    Thanks for all the notes and explanation.

    1. Active yeast needs to be proofed in a warm liquid first and may rise at different speeds than instant (actually, I find it can be faster), but otherwise, yes, it should technically work too.

  184. Just made these. Very tasty, chewey with a crunchy crust. Fantastic. 2 mins boiling per side and around 15-20 mins in oven. Also using egg wash helped my pumpkin seeds to stick nicely. Thanks for the recipe!

  185. Hi! I’m currently in the czech republic (a country which sadly has no bagels) and was wondering what I can use instead of malt since it’s absolutely impossible to obtain here. Thanks!

  186. Just pulled these from the oven. They aren’t as crispy/doughy as I expected, rather light and almost fluffy. I’m excited to cut into one and toast it up with some spread! Thanks, Deb <3

  187. @Kari The malt syrup/powder is also used in some beer brewing recipes (usually called “malt extract” in English when sold for brewing). If you can connect with a brewing supplier, you might be able to get some that way. It’s often sold in light and dark varieties. I’ve used the dark so far for bagels and like it. I don’t know whether you would notice a difference by using the light.

  188. OH MY! These turned out perfect. I mixed several flours -1/2 all purpose, 1/4 wheat, 1/4 cake flour..only cause it’s all I had at hand. Added my own gluten (1/2 TBSP per cup flour) and added malt syrup (King Arthur sells it). Follow the direction exactly and have the patience to rest,rise,proof and retard. Google anything you don’t know or understand like the window pane test-there’s even a video. The time is absolutely worth it. These are the best bagels ever!!! Thank you.

  189. Not sure if someone has already mentioned it in the eight years since this was posted, but to get toppings to stick you add them the instant the bagel comes out of the water. Waiting ten seconds means they won’t stick.

    I use normal flour and they’re a little wider, but still really great.

  190. So here we are eight years later and little has changed. Your bagels are still superior to anything I have been able to find, period! Second, size matters; yours are just right. Third, I’m still on Atkins (although there have been a number of departures in between.)

  191. This was such a fun recipe! My first attempt at bagels and my first use of high-gluten flour and it was a rousing success. I made 20 bagels from the recipe (75g each) and used the egg wash (brilliant!) to get the seeds to stick. We had sesame, fennel + kosher salt, plain, and cinnamon + sugar. I preferred the bagels once they had completely cooled (and esp on day 2 for the sesame) and next time will double the recipe so that I have some to freeze. My husband – a native of NYC – loved them, which says a lot around these parts!

  192. These were delish! Thanks to my home-brewing husband who let me borrow a little malt powder for the boiling. Used Momofuku’s everything mix from their bagel bomb recipe to top, but still had trouble getting it to stick despite using an egg wash.

  193. I just came across this recipe (I’ve loved your website for years) and for some reason the note from your Dad made me all teary. Then I scroll down to see that he commented on it eight years later to tell you he still loves these bagels and well, now I’m crying at work.

  194. I use a VERY simple bagel recipe- since I am HAPPY just to be able to bake something my hubby will enjoy-so I do NOT profess to know ANYTHING except my simple,finished bagel, which works for us—– I DO use an egg wash, right after boiling the bagels… I buy ASIAGO cheese at Aldi’s ($3 I think), I use the coarsest grater, I even have tried the vegetable peeler method which is awesome but a bit tedious… anyways: after I put the egg wash on, I sprinkle the cheese on nice and a bit thick… I use the “ALMOST” LOWEST OVEN RACK with my round PIZZA STONE, which has been heating up all the while my oven is heating up…I put 4 bagels on the stone, turn the oven down from 500 degrees (warming up), down to 425 degrees… SPRAY MY OVEN with my water mister… close the door and bake for 10 minutes… open the door and mist again… bake another 10 minutes… PERFECTION!! My recipe calls for 8 bagels, about 3.5 oz each (yes- I also weigh them out on my cute kitchen scale- I LOVE IT!!)… my recipe calls for me to make 8 bagels, turn out to be medium size…WORKS FOR ME! Maybe this info will help someone… ENJOY!

  195. I noticed several comments on the sponge being more doughy than batter-like. Not sure if anyone has already made this suggestion since I didn’t read all the previous comments, but try weighing your dry ingredients rather than cup-measuring. You can easily add an extra 2-4 oz of flour to a recipe if you just scoop-and-dump into a bowl. That’s an entire cup! My sponge is a thick batter that bubbles nicely after a few hours and I’m sure it’s because I weight my flours. My Oxo kitchen scale is the best baking tool I own (thanks hubby!)

    I live at 7000 feet and this recipe works beautifully – just be careful not to let the bagels rise too much, which is easy to do when air pressure is lower (speaking from messy experience). Mine pass the float test within a couple of minutes after shaping, so I refrigerate immediately. When it’s cold outside, I retard the shaped bagels in our chilly garage overnight for about 12-15 hours. I bring them in, boil, bake and – yay! Bagels for breakfast.

    Great instructions, Deb! Thanks, nine years later.

  196. Deb – Just listened to The Sporkful podcast on toasting bagels. ;-) You mentioned how you now freeze bagels whole instead of sliced. What is your process for reheating in the oven? And thus do you eat them untoasted when ready? Fun to hear your voice!

    1. Rhianna — I put them in the oven at a lower temperature (maybe 300) while still frozen to give them a chance to thaw/warm inside without overly browning on the outside in the process. They seem to come out best these way. Yes, you can then eat them right away, but they’ll also be somewhat forgiving if you keep them in a warm (lower temp than 300) oven for a while if needed. And thank you.

  197. Ryan — Not sure where you got the idea we made these into 7-ounce bagels. 7 ounces is what they usually are from bagel shops, which is was the post mentions. In Step 4, I share Reinhart’s suggestion (4.5 ounces) and what we used (2.25 ounce).

  198. I’ve made these at least 3 or 4 times now…do everything in my bread maker (even though it is a little too much and spills over a bit): starter in bread maker first, then just let it rise through the dough cycle and add the second batch of flour. I then let it mix for about 10 min, then pull it out and form the bagels. I also use 1 tbsp of wheat gluten per cup of flour, since I don’t have room for a third bag of flour in my apartment! I tried simpler bagel recipes in the past, but the starter, wheat gluten and overnight rise really make a difference…I also used to have bagels with quicker recipes come out sort of wrinkled and ugly, but with this recipe I only occasionally have that problem; they usually come out picture perfect. Thanks for all the effort put into a great recipe!

  199. I’ve made these (from Reinhart’s book) a bunch of times, and more than once they’ve been raved about by self-avowed NYC bagel snobs. I find the best way to add the toppings is to spread them out on a plate and plonk the bagel onto it straight out of the pot, then use a chopstick and a small spatula to flip it onto the sheet pan.
    Am I the only one who thinks Reinhart was on crack when he specified the baking times? I do 10 minutes, rotate, 10 minutes and they’re perfect.

  200. Hello!

    I’m currently making the sponge for the dough and while I followed the recipe exactly, the water was just not enough to make a “batter” consistency with 4 cups of flour. I ended up adding almost 1 1/2 cups more water… is this normal or should I start over?