Homemade Bagels for Beginners

Having worked at two fast-paced bagel shops throughout my teens, I learned a thing or two about the making, shaping, and baking of bagels at an early age. While there are more complicated recipes with spectacular results, this is a recipe I have tweaked over the years which lend to delicious bagels with very little effort, error, or wait time. 

xo, Megan


Homemade Bagels

For the dough:

2 teaspoons / 6 g active dry yeast
4 ½ teaspoons / 19 g granulated sugar
1 ¼ cups / 300 ml warm water
3 ½ cups / 440 g bread flour
1 ½ teaspoons / 6 g salt
Optional Toppings


    For the water bath:

    8 cups (2 quarts) water
    4 tablespoons packed light brown sugar



      In a measuring cup with ½ cup of warm water, pour in the sugar and yeast. Stir gently and let it sit for five minutes.

      Mix the flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a kneading hook (or in a large bowl, if mixing/kneading by hand). Make a well in the middle and pour in the yeast and sugar mixture.

      Pour in an additional 1/3 cup of warm water into the well. Turn your mixer on the lowest setting and and stir in the remaining ½ cup of warm water as needed. You want a moist, yet firm dough after you have mixed it.

      Knead the dough for about 10 minutes with the dough hook on the lowest setting, or by hand until the dough is smooth and elastic.

      Lightly brush a large bowl with oil and place the dough ball in the bowl. Cover with a damp dish towel and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in size. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and let it rest for another 10 minutes.

      Carefully divide the dough into 6 pieces. Gently shape each piece into a round ball. You can do this most easily by cupping the dough ball under your palm as it sits on the counter and gently rolling it around. Rest all 6 dough balls on a piece of lightly oiled parchment for 5 minutes.

      Coat your index finger in flour, and gently press your finger into the center of each dough ball, stretching it gently to form a ring. Stretch the ring to about ⅓ the diameter of the bagel and place it back on the lightly oiled cookie sheet. Repeat the same step with the remaining dough.

      After shaping the bagels and placing them on the cookie sheet, cover with a damp kitchen towel once more and allow them to rest while your oven preheats to 425 degrees.­

      Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Use a slotted spoon or skimmer to lower the bagels, 3 at a time, into the water. Boil them for 1 minute on each side. Use a timer.

      Remove from the water and place on a paper towel to dry off a bit. If you want to add toppings to your bagels, do so at this point.

      Once all the bagels have boiled (and have been topped with your choice of toppings), transfer them to an oiled, parchment-lined baking sheet. Once the oven is preheated, place the bagels in the oven.

      Bake for 20 minutes without flipping.

      Cool completely for best ‘bagel’ texture results.



        Everything Bagels: Mix together 2 Tablespoons of poppy seeds, sesame seeds, and dried minced onion. Add to that 1 Tablespoon of dried garlic flakes and coarse salt.

        Overnight rising: The bagels can be prepared and shaped into their bagel shape the night before. Place all bagels on one of the baking sheets, spacing them at least 1-inch apart. Spray the tops with cooking spray and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight. When ready to bake, transfer 6 of the dough balls onto the second baking sheet. Arrange all the bagels so they are evenly spaced out on the baking sheets and cover loosely with greased plastic wrap. Let sit at room temperature until slightly puffy, about 30 minutes. Proceed with the shaping and boiling steps (Step 6).