Homemade Bagels From Scratch
Ahhh the smell of freshly baked bagels brings instant happiness to my soul! Now, you would think that making homemade bagels from scratch is super complicated and that it would be easier to buy store made bagels. But believe me, making bagels is an easy process! It does not need too much dedication or any special skills. This is a same-day homemade bagel recipe that comes together in two hours. Making bagels from scratch allows you to enjoy them while they are still warm, toasty and fresh! They also make your kitchen smell so good! Let me share with you how to make homemade bagels from scratch.
Origin of Bagels
The first reference to bajgiel (in Polish) appeared in the “Community Regulations”, Jewish community ordinances, of the city of Kraków in 1610. It stated that the bread was given as a gift to women who just gave birth.
However the history of bagels goes a bit further back than that. The Polish had actually been making a bread called obwarzanek since at least the fourteenth century. The first mention of obwarzanek dates from 1394 and is found in the accounts of the Polish royal household. This bread was made specifically for Queen Jadwiga.
If we go back even a little further back in time it is exactly in Germany that ring-shaped communion breads started to be popular outside of monasteries to become the pretzel that we know today. Pretzels are believed to have been originally ring-shaped.
In the United States, bagels arrived with the Eastern European immigrants of the late 19th-century. They didn’t emerge into the mainstream until the 1970’s. Although so many new varieties of bagels have now appeared all over the world, the original plain water bagels were made by placing the risen dough into boiling water, then draining, cooling, and baking them util golden brown.
There are a number of baked goods that resemble a bagel all around the world. The bublik in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. In Turkey it is called the simit. In Serbia we have a similar version, called the djevrek. It seems that like many popular baked goods, the history of these recipes is rooted in many cultures around the world in some way. In time we have adapted and popularized many traditional recipes such as the bagel.
Homemade bagel from scratch ingredients
Most recipes for a bagel dough require only five ingredients!
Here is what you will need for these homemade bagels from scratch:
Bread Flour or High Grade Flour – A high protein flour is necessary for bagels. We want a dense and chewy texture, not soft and airy like cinnamon rolls. Bread flour has more protein and produces more gluten, which means chewier bagels. However if you cannot get your hands on bread flour, a high grade flour will do the job too!
Salt – Adds some great flavour to the bagels. I like to be slightly generous with the salt.
Luke Warm Water – Your water needs to be luke warm. This will help the yeast activate and bind the flour and other ingredients into a smooth, elastic bagel dough. On the rare occasion, you may need a little more water than listed in the recipe.
Active Dry Yeast – The yeast helps the dough form and rise. We’re using active dry, not instant. The bagels couldn’t rise without it!
Granulated Sugar – Sugar is used in this recipe to slightly sweeten the bagel dough and most importantly to activate the yeast.
Making the dough
A lengthy knead stretches and develops the dough. Kneading helps disperse ingredients in the dough. It also develops the gluten bonds that give bread its strength and structure. Bagel dough does take quiet a bit of kneading.
I start the process in a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. First add the flour and salt. Once the yeast has risen, pour the yeast mixture straight in the middle. Start kneading on low speed. After five or so minutes, remove the dough from the stand mixer and continue kneading with your hands. I usually knead the dough for a further two or three minutes. Then shape the dough into a well rounded ball and place in a greased bowl for it to rest. The dough should rest and rise for at least an hour and a half. It can sometimes take up to two hours, depending on the temperature in your kitchen. You may find that if your environment is super warm – an hour is plenty of time for the dough to double in size.
Shaping the bagels
There are many methods in which you can shape a bagel. There is a more traditional method that many bagel shops use which is rolling the bagel dough into logs and binding the ends together. The method used here is done by simply poking the hole in the middle of the rolled ball of the dough.
I personally like making balls first. First you cut the dough into eight equal portions, then form each one into tight balls. You should let them rest for 20 – 30 minutes in a warm spot, covered with a clean towel. Once they have rested it is time to give them their true bagel look. To make the holes in the bagels, push through the center of the bagel (with your thumb), and then rip through the bottom with your finger and form a hole. Use your thumbs to gently work a hole into the center of the ball and try to make the hole about 1 cm wide. As soon as you make the hole it will shrink back a little and this is normal. This is when the bagels will be ready to boil.
Why boil the bagels?
Bagels must boil for one minute on each side in a pot of boiling water. Breads such as bagels and pretzels are made by boiling them first because boiling sets the crust before it is placed in the oven.
With bagels, the water doesn’t actually get very far into the bread because the starch on the exterior quickly gels and forms a barrier. This is why your bagel will look somewhat wrinkly after boiling and this is completely normal. Do not freak out! Bagels are typically boiled for 30-60 seconds on each side. The longer the boil, the thicker and chewier crust. I would recommend not boiling your bagels for more than two minutes on each side.
I prefer my bagels to be boiled one minute on each side. Also, since the crust is already set before bagels are put in the oven, the bagels don’t rise very much when baked in the oven. In addition to the high-protein flour that is used, this helps give bagels their popular chewy insides. Skipping the boiling step makes a ‘regular’ bread. It loses that characteristic bagel texture. Boiling sets bagels apart.
And the toppings…
Everyone has a favorite bagel topping! They’re fantastic plain, as an everything bagel or with a sesame seed or poppy seed topping. I personally love to mix in sesame seeds, poppy seeds and a bit of salt together, this is my favorite option. I should mention that I am quiet generous with my toppings!
You can attach the toppings in two ways: with or without an egg wash. I think the egg wash adds an extra-delicious chew, and it helps the topping adhere better to the baked bagels. However, you can also dip the boiled bagels directly into the topping without an egg wash.
Storing the bagels
The only disadvantage of bagels is they go stale fast. My advice is that if you want to store them for a week, let them cool all the way, put them in a plastic bag, and keep them anywhere in your kitchen away from heat and air.
If you want to freeze them, slice them in half first and then put them in a freezer bag. You can leave them in there for months. And if you’ve frozen them sliced, you can just stick them right into the toaster.
Happiness is fresh bagels and cream cheese.– Unknown
Just thinking about these homemade bagels makes my mouth water. With this easy homemade bagels from scratch recipe you get delicious, chewy bagels every time. If you’re looking for a fun weekend project, give this bagel recipe a try. You only need a few basic ingredients to make it, and it’s surprisingly easy.
Did you make this recipe?
Please let me know how this homemade bagels from scratch recipe turned out for you! Leave a comment below or reach out and share a picture on Instagram.
|500g bread flour or high grade flour|
|25g caster sugar|
|1sachet (8 g) instant yeast|
|310ml luke warm water|
|1whole egg (for the egg wash)|
|vegetable oul for greasing a bowl|
|25g sesame seeds|
|20g poppy seeds|
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