I’ve made these Simple Homemade Bagels on my socials quite a few times and I’ve been meaning to get the recipe up for those that have requested it for so long! Finally, here it is! I adapted this recipe from King Arthur Baking’s Bagel recipe – y’all know they are my holy grail for all things yeasted – and simplified it a tad. It only takes a couple of hours of forethought to have fresh bagels – you can even start the dough the night before to make it even quicker.
The last time I made these I decided to recreate Panera Bread’s Cinnamon Crunch Bagels and holy hell were they good! So, if you scroll down in this post a bit – just before you get to the recipe card – you’ll find mini-recipes to help you turn these Simple Homemade Bagels into Cinnamon Crunch Bagels, Cinnamon Raisin Bagels, or Everything Bagels!
Simple Homemade Bagels Ingredients
Feel free to jump to the full recipe, but here are useful notes about the ingredients you will need to make this Simple Homemade Bagels recipe:
- Bread flour: Bagels need a lot of protein. Use bread flour! Yes, if you twist my arm I’ll admit that you can use all-purpose in a pinch, but you’ll want to adjust – likely decrease – the amount of water called for. I don’t suggest making substitutions to this Simple Homemade Bagels recipe unless you’re already a confident breadmaker.
- Water: For the dough, and for boiling the bagels. It’s not a bagel if you don’t boil it! Same with pretzels, by the way.
- Egg: For color! It doesn’t go in the dough, we just use it to brush the tops of the bagels. I like the appearance it gives, whether I’m going to sprinkle toppings on the Simple Homemade Bagels or not, but it’s a personal preference.
- Dark brown sugar, molasses: You can substitute molasses – or regular granulated sugar – instead of dark brown sugar in the bagel dough, but only barley malt syrup can replace the molasses in the water bath. I use molasses because I keep it on hand, but if you happen to have or pick up barley malt syrup, use that instead: it’s a key ingredient for both the flavor and color of bagels.
- Instant yeast: I call for instant yeast so that things move quickly. Active dry is fine, just make sure the yeast has bloomed completely before you add the flour to the mixer.
- Fine sea salt: Flavor, of course. They’ll be some very bland Simple Homemade Bagels without salt!
How to Make Simple Homemade Bagels
Full instructions are included in the recipe below, but here is a basic overview of what you’ll need to do, along with some important tidbits to help you make the most of this Simple Homemade Bagels recipe:
- Make the dough. Add the lukewarm water, yeast, and brown sugar to the bowl of your stand mixer. Make sure the paddle attachment is affixed. Once the yeast has risen to the top and become foamy, add the salt and half of the flour. Mix on low just until a shaggy dough begins to form.
- Finish the dough. Stop the mixer, take off the paddle attachment and affix the dough hook. Add the remaining flour to the bowl and mix on low for 3 minutes. After 3 minutes increase the speed to medium and continue mixing for 7-10 minutes, or until a smooth dough has formed. It shouldn’t be sticky to the touch, and it should spring back slowly if you pull on it. If it’s sticky, add a couple of teaspoons more flour, scrape the sides of the bowl down and mix on medium speed for another 2 minutes.
- Let it rise. Oil a large bowl lightly with vegetable oil and transfer the dough to it. Flip the dough to ensure the ball is coated in oil, then place the bowl somewhere warm and cover it with a wet kitchen towel. Allow the dough to rise undisturbed until doubled in size, which should take about 2 hours.
- Shape the Simple Homemade Bagels dough. After the dough has doubled in size punch it down and allow it to deflate in the bowl while you prepare your work surface: lightly flour it, then turn the dough out. Shape the dough into a tight ball, then use a pastry cutter or knife to cut it in half, right down the center. Cut both halves in half, then cut those pieces in half again: you should end up with 8 rounds of dough. I like to use a scale to ensure they’re all the same size, if you’re good at eyeballing feel free to skip that. Form your forefinger and thumb into an O. Take a round of dough and use the index finger on your opposite hand to push the round of dough up through the O you’ve formed with your fingers, keeping your fingertips together. Repeat this process until the round of dough is smooth all on but one side. Now form your hand into a C, or a cup. Take the dough ball and put it on the floured countertop and cover it with your cupped hand. Keeping your hand cupped, roll the ball around against the counter until it is completely smoothed. Set the dough round aside and continue with the remaining dough rounds.
- Make the dough into Simple Homemade Bagels. Stick the index finger on your dominant hand in the bread flour, then stick that finger straight down in the dead center of a smoothed dough round, all the way to the countertop beneath it, and twirl your finger around a bit to widen the hole. Slip your other index finger into the hole you’ve made and gently stretch the bagel’s opening until it’s just under 1″ wide (it will become smaller while the bagel rests). If the dough resists and you think it’s going to tear, leave the hole smaller. Repeat with the remaining dough rounds.
- Prepare for bagels. Arrange your bagels on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper or a silicone mat. If you don’t have either just spray the cookie sheet with baking spray. Allow the bagels to rest while you preheat the oven to 425°F and prepare the water bath. They won’t double in size, but they will puff up quite a bit.
- Boil the bagels. Add your water to a large pot and bring it to a boil. Just before it comes to a rolling boil, stir in the molasses until it’s completely dissolved. While you wait for the water to come to a boil go ahead and make the egg wash by beating the large egg together with a few drops of water. Add 3-4 bagels to the boiling water – widen the center opening with your fingers if it’s shrunken too much – and let boil for 2 minutes, then flip. Continue boiling for another 1-3 minutes (the longer the boil, the chewier the bagel), then transfer back to the cookie sheet.
- Brush and bake the Simple Homemade Bagels. Brush the tops of the bagels lightly with egg wash. Top as desired (check the post above the recipe for help with that) and bake for 20-25 minutes – until golden brown and cooked through in the center. Let cool as much as you need to, then enjoy as soon as possible. Dassit!
Not-So-Simple Homemade Bagels
You can make endless variations with this Simple Homemade Bagels recipe, so please feel free to customize yours to taste! For example, you could…
- Cinnamon Crunch Bagels (pictured above): In a small bowl combine 2 tablespoons of light brown sugar, two tablespoons of granulated sugar, and one teaspoon of cinnamon. After brushing the bagels with egg wash, sprinkle the sugar mixture generously across the tops of the bagels.
- Cinnamon Raisin Bagels: Add one 1/2 cup of raisins and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon to the mixer at the same time you switch to the dough hook. Continue with the recipe as usual.
- Other Bagel Toppings: Bake the Simple Homemade Bagels as you normally would but skip the egg wash. Pull them out of the oven 2-3 minutes before the cooking end time – just before they reach the brownness that you like. Brush them with a light layer of egg wash, then generously sprinkle your desired toppings over the tops: poppy seeds, everything bagel seasoning, sesame seeds, dehydrated onion flakes, etc.
Obligatory Pinterest Graphic –