Is your favorite deli closed down? No need to fear, homemade bagels are here! Don’t be intimidated: this recipe is fun, doesn’t require complicated ingredients, and tastes amazing. Sign up for my cooking class to learn more!
Yield 8 bagels
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) dry-active yeast
4 cups all-purpose or bread flour (use AP for a light, fluffy bagel, and bread flour for a denser, chewier version)
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup everything seasoning (or use a combination of poppy seeds, sesame seeds, garlic and onion flakes, etc.)
1 egg, beaten, or 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
2 quarts water
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon brown sugar
Combine the water, sugar, and yeast in a small bowl. Whisk to combine. Let stand until the yeast are bubbly and frothy, about 10-15 minutes. If the mixture looks the same as before, your yeast may be dead! In this case, take a fresh packet and start over.
Combine the flour, salt, vegetable oil, and yeast mixture in a large bowl. With a wooden spoon, spatula, or your hands, mix together until a sticky ball begins to form.
Lightly dust your work surface with a little more flour. Dump the dough ball and knead until smooth and barely sticky to the touch, about ten minutes — or three songs on Spotify. (I suggest Truth Hurts by Lizzo, Gone by Charli XCX, and Overnight by Maggie Rogers.) You can also do this with a dough hook in the bowl of a stand mixer, but it’s a lot more fun to do it by hand.
Clean out your big bowl and lightly grease it with a little more vegetable oil. Return the dough ball and cover it with a tea towel or plastic wrap. Let proof until doubled in size, about 60 to 90 minutes, depending on your climate. (My dough practically tripled in size in my parents’ Florida kitchen!)
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
Turn the dough out onto a well-floured work surface. Cut it into eight equal pieces — you can use a scale, but you should be fine as long as all eight dough balls are roughly the same size. One at a time, take a ball and knead it a bit to form a sphere. Using your thumb, punch a hole right through the center. Using your pointer and middle fingers, stretch the hole out until your dough ball resembles a typical bagel shape. Make sure that hole isn’t too small — your dough will keep expanding, meaning it might close up!
Place the newly-formed bagel on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough balls. Cover the baking sheet with a tea towel or plastic wrap and let stand for 15-20 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring the 2 quarts of water to a boil with the baking soda and brown sugar. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and prepare a wire rack next to your stove.
Once the water is boiling, add the bagels, one at a time, cooking each for 1 minute total, turning halfway through. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bagel from the solution and repeat with the remaining bagels.
Transfer the boiled bagels to the prepared baking sheet. Using a pastry brush, brush the top of each with egg wash or coconut oil, if you’d like to keep it vegan.
Pour the everything seasoning into a shallow bowl or onto a plate. One at a time, dip the top of the bagel in the seasoning, being sure to tilt it so the sides are covered. Return it to the baking sheet and repeat with remaining bagels.
Bake the bagels until golden brown and crisp, about 20 to 22 minutes. Let cool before eating with cream cheese, smoked salmon, and your favorite veggies! Bagels will be good for three days, or cut in half and freeze for up to 3 months.