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bagels spread on the bottom of the photo

Homemade Bagels

These Homemade Bagels are a delicious treat. Try them lightly toasted with butter for breakfast, lunch or a snack!
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Keyword bagel recipe, homemade bagels
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Rise Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 45 minutes
Servings 16 large bagels
Calories 233kcal
Author Lauren's Latest



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


  • 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 3 3/4 cups unbleached high-gluten or bread flour, see note below
  • 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


  • First, make the sponge for the bagels. Stir yeast into the flour. Stir in the water until it forms a sticky thick batter. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave it in a warm spot in your kitchen for about 2 hours or until the mixture is foamy, bubbly and almost double in size.
  • To make the dough, stir in the rest of the yeast to the sponge using a stand mixer {use the dough hook}. Stir in 3 cups of flour, salt and malt powder or syrup. After a minute or two, the dough will come together into a ball. Continue to sprinkle the remaining 3/4 cup flour into the dough with the machine on low. {At this point, I had to remove the dough and knead the rest of the flour in by hand.}
  • If you keep your dough in the mixer, continue kneading for 6 minutes. If you transfer the dough to the counter to knead by hand, knead for 10 minutes. At this point, all the flour should be incorporated into the dough and the dough should be soft, smooth and firm. If the dough is too dry {rips} add in a little water. If the dough is tacky {sticky} then add in a little more flour.
  • Divide dough into 4 1/2 ounce pieces for normal 'standard size' bagels and 2 1/4 ounce pieces for mini bagels. Roll dough into smooth balls and place on lightly greased parchment paper. Cover rolls with plastic wrap or a damp towel and let them rest for 20 minutes or so.
  • Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and lightly spray with non stick cooking spray. Take each roll in your hand and carefully pinch a hole into the center forming a bagel. Try to keep the bagel as even as possible doing your best to avoid thick and thin spots. {You can also roll the dough into a rope and form bagels that way--I just thought it was easier to poke the hole in the center.}
  • Place each bagel 1-2 inches apart on the prepared pans. Mist the bagels with non-stick cooking spray and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let the pans sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes.
  • After 20 minutes, check to see if you're ready to finish the bagels. Drop a bagel into room temperature water. If it floats within 10 seconds, then they are ready to be boiled and baked or retarded in the fridge. If the bagel doesn't float, pat it dry lightly and return in to the pan to continue to proof. Check back every 10 to 20 minutes or so until a tester floats. Once a tester floats, place bagels into the fridge until you are ready to cook them OR get ready to boil and bake!
  • 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, and add the baking soda and optionally, a few tablespoons of barley syrup.
  • Remove the bagels from the refrigerator and gently drop them into the water, boiling only as many as comfortably fit. After 1 minutes flip them over and boil for another minute. If you like very chewy bagels, you can extend the boiling to 2 minutes per side. While the bagels are boiling, sprinkle the same parchment-lined sheet pans with cornmeal or semolina flour. {I didn't have any semolina so I just kept the same parchment covered baking sheets and sprayed a little more non stick cooking spray on them and it worked just fine!} If you want to top the bagels with sesame or poppy seeds, do so as soon as they come out of the water so they stick!
  • 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. I ended up baking mine 15 minutes to get the golden color I like, turning my pans 3 times, once every 5 minutes.
  • Remove the pans from the oven and cool the bagels 5-10 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.


  • I didn't have semolina flour to dust on the bottom of the pan before baking, so I just left them on the lightly greased parchment paper and they were fine. I had no problems with them sticking.
  • Right after you boil the bagels, top them with your desired toppings right away so they stick! Don't wait. Do that pronto.
  • I baked my bagels closer to 15 minutes to get a golden brown. Every oven is different, so keep close watch!


Calories: 233kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 619mg | Potassium: 91mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 6IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 18mg | Iron: 1mg