Homemade Bagels
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Recipe courtesy of Michael Symon

Homemade Bagels

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 7 hr 30 min (includes proofing and resting times)
  • Active: 1 hr
  • Yield: 12 bagels





  1. For the dough: Pour 1/2 cup warm water into a mixing bowl. Mix in the barley malt syrup, yeast packet and sugar until dissolved, then allow the yeast to foam, 10 minutes.
  2. To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, add the bread flour and salt and mix to combine. When the yeast mixture is ready, pour into the flour along with an additional 1 3/4 cups warm water. Mix until a soft dough forms. Your dough should clean the bowl and begin to climb the hook. Mix for about 5 minutes more on medium speed.
  3. After 5 minutes of mixing, pour the dough onto a clean surface and continue kneading by hand for an additional 15 minutes, until the dough is stiff, slightly tacky and very smooth. Put the dough in a clean bowl and cover with a damp towel. Let rise until doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours (see Cook's Note).
  4. Pre-shape the dough: Fold the dough down, deflating it, then turn out onto a clean work surface. Cut the dough into 12 equal pieces, about 4 ounces each. Form each piece of dough into a tight ball, rounding it in a circular motion until smooth. Place on a parchment-lined sheet tray lightly sprayed with cooking spray and repeat with the remaining dough, 6 to a tray. Cover with a damp towel and allow to rest for 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. Shape and proof: Roll out each ball into a rope roughly 9 to 10 inches. Pick up the rope and wrap it around your fingers where they meet your palm, overlapping the ends and forming a ring of even thickness. Seal the seam by rolling on your palm, then reshape if necessary into an even ring. Place back on the parchment and repeat with the remaining dough. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, then place the damp towel over the sheet tray. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.
  6. Set up your grill for indirect heat. If using a charcoal grill, build the coals on one side only. If using a gas grill, heat one side only. Your grill should be at 450 degrees F.
  7. Finishing and baking: Allow the chill to come off of the bagels for at least 1 hour before baking. The bagels are ready to finish when the dough floats in room temperature water. Fill a bowl with room temperature water, pick up a bagel and drop it into the bowl. If it floats, the bagels are ready to proceed with the rest of the finishing and baking process. If the dough sinks, allow the dough to set out at room temperature for another 30 minutes and test again.
  8. For the bagels: Fill a pot halfway with water and bring to a boil on the direct heat side of the grill. Whisk in the barley malt syrup and baking soda. The water should look like brewed black tea. Drop as many bagels as will comfortably fit, about 4, into the pot and boil for 1 minute, flipping halfway through. Remove to a draining rack and continue with the remaining bagels. Pour your desired toppings onto plates and dip the tops of each bagel into the topping, pressing gently.
  9. Put the bagels on a cast-iron pan, place on the offset heat part of the grill, close the grill and bake until the bagels are deep golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool before serving.
  10. Oven method: Bake on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet at 450 degrees F for 40 to 45 minutes.

Cook’s Note

Tips and Talking Points: Your mixer will most likely not be able to tolerate the full kneading time and the dough will need to be finished by hand. This amount of kneading time is necessary to develop the gluten for a chewy bagel. To create a proofer, preheat your oven to 200 degrees F, then turn off. Place your dough inside the oven to proof, where it is slightly warm and draft free. Turn the oven light on for added warmth. Pre-shaping the dough into balls before rolling ropes will help your bagels rise more evenly in the oven. Don’t add flour to your work surface when rolling the dough into ropes. The friction with the surface will help stretch the dough. If freezing, freeze the bagels the day they are made for best results. They will keep up to one month.