Recipe courtesy of Melissa Gaman for Food Network Kitchen

Homemade Bagels

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 3 hr 15 min (plus 4 hr rising)
  • Active: 1 hr
  • Yield: 6 bagels
There is absolutely nothing like a freshly baked bagel with a crispy, crackly crust and soft chewy interior. Though it might seem challenging, making them at home is completely doable! Flat bagels are often the result of over proofing; when transferring your bagels to the refrigerator for their final proof, try to place them in the coldest part, away from the door, which can be drafty. This will also help you limit your bagels' exposure to rushes of warm air every time the door opens. Brushing the bagels with egg whites before topping them is totally optional, but it will really secure the seeds, making it ideal for those who like a well-covered bagel.



  1. Make the dough: Stir together 1/2 cup warm water and 1 tablespoon malt syrup in a small bowl; sprinkle the yeast on top. Let soften a minute, then stir. Set aside until foamy or bubbly, about 5 minutes.
  2. Whisk the flour and salt in a large bowl; make a well in the center. Pour in the yeast mixture and 2/3 cup warm water and stir with a wooden spoon to make a shaggy dough. Not all the flour will be mixed in.
  3. Knead the dough in the bowl to mix in more of the flour, and work the dough into a rough ball in the bowl.
  4. Knead the dough: Turn out the dough onto a clean surface and begin kneading. As you knead, the dough will become tacky and stick to your fingers, then it should lose its stickiness and form a somewhat smooth ball (this should take 3 to 4 minutes). If the dough is still sticky, lightly dust with flour.
  5. Once the dough starts to smooth out, continue kneading until it’s very satiny and pillowy feeling (this should take 5 to 10 minutes). Rip off a small piece of dough and gently stretch the 4 corners. If it can stretch very thin without tearing, it’s ready. If it tears, knead another 2 minutes and test again.
  6. Transfer the dough to a clean bowl lightly misted with cooking spray, cover tightly with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature until doubled in size, about 1 hour. You don’t want the dough to over-proof or form bubbles on the surface. Keep an eye on it; the dough can proof quickly in a warm spot.
  7. Divide the dough: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and mist with cooking spray. Turn out the dough onto a clean surface and press to flatten and deflate the dough, making sure to press out any large air bubbles. Divide into 6 pieces, 3 1/2 to 3 3/4 ounces each.
  8. Pull the corners of each piece together into the center of the dough, turn over so the seam is on the bottom and roll the dough against the counter into a tight ball with a smooth surface. Do not use any flour or the dough will not stick to itself properly.
  9. Form the bagels: Form the bagels one at a time: First stick your thumb through the middle of a dough ball, then insert your index finger and gently start to stretch the hole.
  10. Roll the bagel in a circle around your index fingers to stretch the hole until 1 1/2 to 2 inches wide. If the hole pulls back together, let rest 1 to 2 minutes, then reshape.
  11. Transfer the bagel to the baking sheet and repeat with the remaining dough balls. Cover the baking sheet with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight. The bagels will puff slightly.
  12. Cook the bagels: About 30 minutes before boiling, preheat the oven to 450˚ F and remove the bagels from the refrigerator. Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil in a wide pot. Stir in the remaining 3 tablespoons malt syrup. Gently add 2 or 3 bagels, rounded-side down, and boil for 2 minutes, flipping halfway through.
  13. Remove the bagels with a slotted spoon and put back on the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining bagels. It’s OK if they deflate a bit as they cool but they should mostly keep their shape. (If they do deflate and wrinkle, they’ll still be good — just a little flat.)
  14. Line a separate baking sheet with parchment paper and dust with cornmeal. Brush the tops and sides of the bagels with the egg white and sprinkle with toppings. Place rounded-side up on the cornmeal-dusted baking sheet, about 1 inch apart.
  15. Bake on the middle oven rack until the bagels are golden brown and crisp, rotating the pan halfway through, 18 to 20 minutes. Let cool at least 15 minutes. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

Cook’s Note

Homemade bagels are best the day they’re baked. These will keep for a few days in a sealed container; they’ll just be a little less crisp. You can use this recipe to make mini bagels too. Just divide the dough into 8 pieces instead of 6 and continue as directed.