Home | Lauren's Blog | Shopping & Services | Your Cart | Contact Lauren
Strengthening Lives through Cooking and Baking

Join the Newsletter

Sign up for Lauren's newsletter & blog and
receive her (free) 7-part cooking e-video series!
Loading...Loading...


Search the Site

Lauren’s on Instagram!


Shop Lauren Groveman’s Kitchen

Cooking for a Delicious Life: A Lauren Groveman Kitchen Instructional Video Series

Aprons for Real Life with Matching Towels
Designed for real-life cooking, this Apron is just the thing for keeping everything a busy, 21st-century multi-tasking cook needs within reach at all times.
I Love to Cook: A Lauren Groveman Kitchen Cookbook
Bring back the joy of cooking with Lauren's acclaimed second cookbook.
Lauren Groveman's Kitchen Cookbook
Makes homemade meals possible again with a comprehensive, inspiring book that reinvents cooking as a relaxing, creative, fulfilling activity for even the busiest people.

Homemade Bagels

Homemade bagels are very different from store-bought bagels, which are too doughy for my taste; I always end up scooping out the center. This recipe, which I have truly labored over, produces bagels that are lighter and crisper with infinitely more flavor. I’m really quite prejudiced since I have worked on these bagels for many years, perfecting the shaping process. I’ve learned, through a lot of trial and error, that the secret to creating and keeping the correct bagel shape through rising, boiling and baking is to make the hole disproportionately large, when shaping. Because the bands of elasticity are so strong (because the flour used is so glutinous), the shaped dough has a tendency to rise up, not out. This can cause the hole to disappear if too “appropriate” looking at the onset.

As for texture, the choice is yours. The chewiest bagels are made with just water, but the taste is a bit richer with milk; a combination of the two will also produce a fine bagel. Using liquid barley malt extract instead of (or in addition to) sugar in the dough also gives bagels their unique hint of sweetness (and yeast just loves barley malt!). Look for it in gourmet or health food stores. And for best results, I bake my bagels on a large clay stone, but you can use a dark steel baking sheet instead. Please don’t be afraid to try this recipe; I’ve already made all the mistakes for you!

Any time I’ve suggested a tool, a piece of equipment, or a culinary term that’s unfamiliar to you, you can go to Kitchen Management for more information. And, if making yeast bread is new for you, you can go to this page on “Food Matters A to Z,” to learn about how things work. You can also check out the previews of my Pizza video and/or my Country White Bread video to see if you’d like to watch them in their entirety. And, finally, to read my blog, which has lots of detailed “bagel making” photographs, click here.

Special Equipment

  • 5-quart mixing bowl, for rising dough
  • Wooden surface, for kneading
  • Pastry scraper
  • Set of quarry tiles or large pizza stone or shallow dark steel baking sheet
  • Stainless steel skimmer or large slotted spoon
  • Wooden baker’s peel or a flat cookie sheet, only if using quarry tiles or a stone
  • Cornmeal Sweeper, only if making successive batches of bagels using tiles or a stone

Ingredients:

  • 3 to 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, for brushing
  • 2 cups tepid water or any combination of slightly warmed milk and water to equal 2 cups, plus 1/4 cup tepid water, for yeast
  • 3 rounded tablespoons solid vegetable shortening
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons sugar or 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 tablespoon liquid (not dry) barley malt extract, plus 1/4 cup sugar for when boiling the bagels
  • 1 tablespoon fine table-salt
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, optional
  • Up to 6 cups high-gluten flour, including flour for dusting (I prefer to use “super-gluten” flour, which I purchase at my neighborhood pizza place. If unavailable, use a supermarket brand of bread flour)
  • For the boiling water bath: Boiling water, as needed, 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon baking soda

Remaining Ingredients:

  • Cornmeal or a combination of cornmeal (preferably medium-ground), poppy and sesame seeds, for baker’s peel
  • Vegetable oil or spray, for baking sheet (only if not using a baking stone)
  • Glaze: 2 egg whites, at room temperature, lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon water
  • 6 ice cubes and a small splash of water, for baking
  • Optional Toppings
  • Sesame seeds, poppy seeds, caraway seeds
  • Kosher or sea salt
  • Minced onions sautéed in a little vegetable oil
  • Dried garlic chips or dehydrated onions reconstituted in some hot water until softened

Recipe instructions:

1) To set up: Brush the interior of a 5-quart mixing bowl with melted butter and set aside for rising the dough.

2) To assemble liquid mixture: If using milk, heat in a medium-sized saucepan over medium-low heat until just warm throughout. Pour the milk into a large mixing bowl and add shortening and 1/2 cup lukewarm water. (If the milk became too hot, let it cool until just warm.) If not using milk, pour the 2 cups lukewarm water into a mixing bowl and add the shortening (no need to melt). Dissolve the yeast in 1/4 cup lukewarm water with a pinch of the sugar. When yeast is creamy and starts to bubble, add to mixing bowl with 2 tablespoons of the sugar or the barley malt extract, salt and black pepper, if using.

3) To complete and knead the dough: Briskly stir in enough flour, a cup or so at a time, to make dough that is not easily stirred in the bowl. Turn out the dough onto a floured wooden board and knead in a brisk push, fold and turning motion, until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Add only as much additional flour as necessary to keep dough from sticking to your hands and work surface. As always, use a pastry scraper while kneading to scrape dough off the board cleanly as you continue to knead in a sufficient amount of flour.

4) To rise the dough: Place the dough in the buttered bowl. Brush top of the dough with more melted butter, and then cover with buttered plastic wrap and a clean kitchen towel. Let rise in a warm, draft-free spot for 1 hour (or up to 2 1/2 hours for an extremely light and flavorful bagel). Uncover bowl and punch down dough with several swift swats with the back of your hand. Recover bowl and refrigerate dough for 4 hours or, preferably, overnight (and up to two days!!).

5) To set up for shaping bagels: Position the rack to the lower third of the oven. If using a large pizza stone, place it on the oven rack and sprinkle a baker’s peel generously with cornmeal and, if desired, a combination of seeds (poppy, sesame and caraway). Otherwise, brush or spray a large dark steel shallow baking sheet with vegetable oil and sprinkle the interior as described above. Place an (empty) heat proof pan on the rack underneath the tiles or stone. Preheat oven to 500o F at least 30 minutes before you plan to shape, boil and bake bagels. (If working with a double oven, preheat the second oven as well). Pour the prepared egg-white glaze through a small medium-mesh sieve into another bowl to remove excess coagulation. Set the glaze next to your work surface. While the oven preheats, bring one or two large pots of water to a rapid boil. Lay a clean kitchen towel on each of 2 shallow trays or baking sheets (for 10 bagels) and sprinkle the towels lightly with flour.

6) To shape bagels: Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Punch the chilled dough down, with several swift blows, until totally deflated. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board. Using the blade of a pastry scraper, divide the dough in half. I recommend baking only 5 bagels at a time (per oven) so each has enough space around it to bake properly. If not working with a double oven, place half of dough back in bowl, cover and refrigerate. Divide each half of dough into 5 equal pieces (for 10 in all). You’ll work with 1 piece at a time, keeping the remaining pieces covered with a towel. Shape one piece of dough into a very tight, round ball by drawing dough up and pinching it at the top. Keep pinching and pulling upward, always keeping ball on a lightly floured board to prevent sticking. The ball should be perfectly round with the exception of a little knot of pinched dough on top. Turn ball (knot side down) and flatten gently. Push your index finger through the center of dough (right where the knot was). Gently stretch the hole, while being careful not to tear the rim, until hole measures about 2 to 2 1/2 inches in diameter (the hole will shrink after rising and baking). As each bagel is shaped, place it on the prepared towel-lined trays spaced 2 inches apart. Cover bagels with another clean towel.

7) To boil the bagels: Add 1/4 cup sugar and the baking soda to the pot of boiling water. Bring 1 tray of risen bagels over to the stove and carefully lower 2 to 4 bagels into the water (one at a time). Bagels should be able to sit freely in the water without touching and will expand in the water. Once the bagels rise to the top of the pot, continue to boil for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes on each side, turning with a large round slotted skimmer or a large slotted spoon. After bagels have cooked on the second side, remove them with spatula (draining water) and drain on a kitchen towel (smoothest side up). Repeat with the remaining bagels

8) To glaze and top the bagels:  Place bagels (again, smoothest side up) on the prepared baker’s peel or baking sheet. Using a pastry brush, paint boiled bagels with egg-white glaze. Don’t worry if the glazed bagels seem wrinkled; this will smooth in the oven. When all of the bagels have been boiled and positioned on the peel or baking sheet, brush tops and sides of bagels once more with glaze. Sprinkle the desired toppings on each bagel or just glaze and leave plain. (Try not to let the glaze fall into puddles around bagels or into hole as this makes bagel dough stick to the peel. (Having the egg whites at room temperature and straining, helps remove their clumsy gelatinous quality.)

9) To bake the bagels: Just before baking, place the ice cubes and a few tablespoons water into a cup and pour this into the pan that sits below the baker’s stone. If using tiles, place baker’s peel all the way to the back of the hot oven and with a swift jerk; remove the peel, leaving the bagels on the hot tiles (or place baking sheet on hot oven rack). Reduce oven temperature to 450o F and bake for *25 minutes (see note); turn oven off and allow bagels to sit there for 5 minutes. Open oven and allow bagels to sit in oven for 5 minutes more. Remove bagels to wire racks when uniformly golden and crisp. Cool thoroughly before storing.

Note: If working with a convection oven, bake the bagels at 450 for 20 minutes. Keep the rest of the instructions the same.)

10) To prepare the oven for the remaining batch of bagels (if not using a double oven): Before reheating the oven to 500o F, sweep away any excess cornmeal and seeds from the tiles and onto a baking sheet to discard, using a cornmeal sweeper. (This is to prevent burning and smoking.) Preheat the oven, boil, and glaze, top and bake remaining bagels as described above.)

11) To store: Store cooled bagels to be served on the day of baking in a paper bag. Store the remaining bagels in a jumbo-sized, heavy-duty plastic bag, at room temperature. Bagels also freeze well in well-sealed freezer bags. To thaw, remove from the freezer the night before and allow bagels to thaw, overnight, in the sealed bag.

Bagel Chips

Don’t throw away your day old-bagels! Instead, slice, butter and bake them for a delicious cracker! Using a sharp serrated knife, cut bagels into 1/4-inch slices; lightly spread them with softened butter (or extra-virgin olive oil) mixed with herbs of your choice, and sprinkle with coarse salt. Place on a wire rack set inside a shallow baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 375o F oven until crisp throughout and golden brown, 10 to 20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack and store in an airtight tin. (Bagel chips made with olive oil and dried herbs will be less perishable than those made with butter and fresh herbs.)


SHOPPING LIST

At-a-Glance Reminder of Ingredients

For a batch of bagels:

  • 3 to 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, for brushing
  • 2 cups tepid water or any combination of slightly warmed milk and water to equal 2 cups, plus 1/4 cup tepid water, for yeast
  • 3 rounded tablespoons solid vegetable shortening
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons sugar or 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 tablespoon liquid (not dry) barley malt extract, plus 1/4 cup sugar for when boiling the bagels
  • 1 tablespoon fine table-salt
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, optional
  • Up to 6 cups high-gluten flour, including flour for dusting (I prefer to use “super-gluten” flour, which I purchase at my neighborhood pizza place. If unavailable, use a supermarket brand of bread flour)
  • Cornmeal or a combination of cornmeal (preferably medium-ground), poppy and sesame seeds, for baker’s peel
  • Vegetable oil or spray, for baking sheet (if not using a baking stone)
  • Glaze: 2 egg whites, at room temperature, lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon water
  • 6 ice cubes and a small splash of water, for baking
  • Optional Toppings
  • Sesame seeds, poppy seeds, caraway seeds
  • Kosher or sea salt
  • Minced onions sautéed in a little vegetable oil
  • Dried garlic chips or dehydrated onions reconstituted in some hot water until softened

From the supermarket shelf:

  • Solid vegetable shortening
  • Sugar
  • Fine table salt and black peppercorns
  • High-gluten bread flour (preferably a “super gluten” flour from the pizza shop and, if not, you can go to: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/ for a large assortment of types of flour)
  • Cornmeal (medium-ground)
  • An assortment of seeds (sesame, poppy, caraway)
  • Dehydrated minced onions (plain or toasted)
  • Dehydrated minced garlic
  • Vegetable oil (only if not using a baking stone and if using sautéed fresh onions as a topping for the bagels)

From the produce aisle:

  • Yellow onions (if using a fresh onion topping for the bagels)

From the dairy case:

  • Unsalted butter
  • Milk (only if planning to use milk in your bagel dough)

From the refrigerated section:

  • Active-dry yeast
  • Eggs or just whites (for egg-white glaze)

Specialty ingredients:

  • Liquid barley malt extract (available in all health food stores and in some well-stocked supermarkets.)
  • Pretzel salt (optional as a topping): You can find this at this website: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/
Comments (17)

17 Comments »

  1. Tried this recipe and even though my first try the bagel were a little distorted they tasted great! On my first attempt I tried it with all milk which gave them a tasteful cakey texture. My second attempt was 1/2 water and 1/2 milk and I found this mixture allows dough to rise a lot easier than the full milk mixture and texture was just what I enjoy in a bagel. The chewy outside and light fluffy inside. Mixture will depend on how you like your bagel. Great recipe and easy to follow!

    Comment by Lourdes — August 21, 2010 @ 1:47 pm

  2. […] is by Lauren Groveman. It’s included in the book Baking with Julia, but you can find it on Lauren’s website as well. Homemade bagels are fiddly, but totally worth the several steps and 2-3 hours it takes to […]

    Pingback by Weekend Foodery « Principessa Grassa — January 24, 2011 @ 6:24 am

  3. Saw you on Julia’s show on PBS. I love, love, love your bagel recipe. We live in the west and cannot find a decent bagel in our entire state. I have made your recipe 4 times. Twice it was AMAZING and twice the bagels were flat. I tried to find a FAQ or troubleshooting info on your website, but no luck. Any suggestions about what I did wrong?

    Comment by Nora Barlow — February 18, 2012 @ 5:17 pm

  4. Hi..I’m thinking maybe you boiled them too long or that the yeast wasn’t in great shape at the start. Bread making can be quirky-I’ve found that each dough has a little story that combines it’s inner workings (the ingredients) and the present state of the handler (us bakers). Keep going–next time will probably be the best batch yet. Thanks for writing–let me know how you do.
    I’m here for you.
    Laur..

    Comment by Lauren — February 22, 2012 @ 3:29 pm

  5. Well, my bagels taste very good, our neighbor ask for recipe……I just have to practice to shape them better.Thanks Laura for your video.

    Comment by Yen — July 31, 2012 @ 9:27 pm

  6. I made the bagels! they turned out great!(slightly under-cooked on the bottom, but I used a baking sheet instead of a stone). I thought I was more of a beginner, but I guess I’m not too much of a newbie after all, lol! Can’t wait to make these again! Thank you!

    Comment by permafrost — August 23, 2012 @ 12:45 am

  7. Hallo, can i use instant yeast instead? If so, how much of it? And if not, how much weight or measurement is a packet of active dry yeast? Where i live they are available only in 250gm packaging. Thanks!

    Comment by Amna — April 4, 2013 @ 7:48 am

  8. Since there are more “live” yeast cells in a packet of instant yeast, use about 25% less than active dry yeast. And don’t reconstitute instant yeast as you would active dry. Add the yeast directly to 1/3 the amount of flour called for in your recipe. Add the remaining liquid (include the total amount of liquid asked for, including liquid that would be used for reconstituting active dry yeast, whisked with the salt and sugar called for in your recipe). (If using beaten eggs, they would be combined with this liquid and then added to the bowl of dry ingredients. Stir this till combined, adding enough of the remaining flour to create a dough that can be turned out and kneaded. Complete the dough-let rise, shape and bake as directed. (each packet of active dry yeast contains about 2 1/4 teaspoons so use about 1 3/4 teaspoons instant yeast). Hope this helps.

    Comment by Lauren — May 8, 2013 @ 12:30 pm

  9. Laura,
    I made a batch of these great bagels after watching the show Baking with Julia yesterday. They taste delicious! My problem was that they didn’t sink in the water at all. I used bread flour with the addition of 2 tbsp. of vital wheat gluten. After they raised, were shaped and raised a second time, I put then in the boiling water and they floated. Cooked them 2 min on each side, brushed them with butter, added toppings and baked on a stone. We ate a half batch last night and I just finished the second half this afternoon. Any suggestions, should I knead it more, add more flour? Texture was good, crispy on outside and very nice inside.

    Comment by AnnMarie Davis — May 22, 2013 @ 11:48 pm

  10. Sounds good to me! When I say the bagels sink, I mean they (at least for me) dive in (when added to the pot) go down and then pretty quickly float to the top. If yours are of good texture and taste, I say “keep doing what you’re doing.” I’d like you to try using the egg white glaze on a few of them next time. The glaze makes any topping stick and also gives a finish with a higher sheen. Having said that, there’s nothing beta than butta!

    Comment by Lauren — May 26, 2013 @ 9:30 pm

  11. Hi Lauren:
    Just watched you and Julia making bagels. That must have been a wonderful experience! My question is what is the difference between a packet of instant yeast and active dry yeast as mentioned in your question 8 Thanks, Kay

    Comment by Kay — June 15, 2013 @ 10:09 pm

  12. Hi there, I’ve used my own bagel recipe at home for years and have never had a problem with them until I changed kitchens and used a convection oven. I use a gas oven normally. The problem with the bagels that I have it that they puff up like baseballs in the convection oven. In my own oven at home they are fine. What am I doing wrong in the convection oven and how can I rectify?

    Regards
    Samantha

    Comment by Samantha — June 25, 2013 @ 9:00 am

  13. Hi, I do believe this iss an excellent blog. I
    stumbledupon it ;) I am going to come back once again since I bookmarked it.
    Money andd freedom is the greatest way to change, may you be rich
    and continue to help other people.

    Comment by Roxanne — March 13, 2014 @ 2:27 am

  14. I’m making this recipe at this moment. I’ve done the steps including shaping the bagels and putting on floured towels.
    Do I need to let them rise again at this point? Or are the ready to boil and bake?

    Comment by Colette — July 5, 2014 @ 11:23 am

  15. I made your bagel recipe, following the instructions very closely. The recipe worked much better than other recipes I have tried, but I still have 3 questions: #1-Should the shaped bagels be allowed to rise again, or be boiled immediately? #2-How can I prevent the “hole” area of the bagel from remaining doughy even after baking and cooling? #3-All of my bagels puffed up beautifully while boiling, but shrank back while baking! What is the cause of this? Thank you!

    Comment by Shelley — August 4, 2014 @ 5:56 pm

  16. Hi there! This is kind of off topic but I need some advice from an established blog.

    Is it very hard to set up your own blog? I’m not very techincal but
    I can figure things out pretty fast. I’m thinking about setting up my own but I’m not sure where to begin. Do you have any points or suggestions?
    Many thanks

    Comment by chocolate logos — September 18, 2014 @ 9:49 am

  17. […] used a hybrid of this recipe from CHOW and one from Lauren Groveman, featured on an episode of Baking with Julia. I hadn’t realized how straightforward making […]

    Pingback by The Seventh Sphinx » sourdough bagels — September 28, 2014 @ 4:14 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment