Homemade Bagels

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It’s official: in less than 11 days, I am moving to New York! These past 3 weeks have been incredibly hectic for me, but thankfully the worst is over. I’ve secured an apartment (got the call from my realtor today!) so now the countdown begins. And what better way to celebrate moving to the Big Apple than with some homemade bagels? I’ve never had a real NY bagel before, but these were pretty good if I do say so myself.

I used to think that bagel-making must be some complicated, magical process, but it’s really quite simple. If you know how to make a basic dough with yeast and flour, you can make bagels. There are a few extra steps but they’re easy and fairly quick: you have to work the dough into a bagel shape, of course, and you have to drop the dough into boiling water to get that nice, shiny skin that bagels are known for.

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Bagel recipes are also versatile–I kept mine plain, but you can add all sorts of things to the dough (blueberries, chocolate chips, etc) or put toppings on them (sesame seeds, poppyseed, etc) without having to change up the basic dough recipe. Here’s the one I used:

Homemade Bagels Recipe (adapted from here)
1 1/4 cups water
4 1/2 cups bread flour (I used 4)
3 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon instant yeast

1 pot boiling water
About 3-4 tbsp honey (the original recipe called for 1 cup but I thought that was excessive)

Combine 1 1/4 cup water, flour, sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, vegetable oil, and yeast in a large mixing bowl. Mix together, then turn out onto a floured countertop and knead for about 10 minutes.

Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel, and let rise for 2 hours. After 2 hours, punch the dough down, place it on a lightly floured work surface, and use a knife or dough scraper to divide the dough into 8 pieces. Form each bagel into a bagel and poke a hole through the middle with your finger. Shape the bagel around the hole. Repeat with the remaining dough, and let the bagels rest for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 475 degrees F (245 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper.

Bring about 4 quarts water to a boil in a large pot. Add honey, if desired (according to the original recipe, “Adding honey or barley malt syrup to the boiling water bath gives the bagels a pleasing chewy texture with a hint of sweetness.”) Boil the bagels, three at a time, until they rise to the surface of the pot, about 1 minute per side. Remove the bagels with a slotted spoon and place them on the baking sheet.

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Bake in the preheated oven until the bagels begin to brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Then EAT!

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Perfect toasted with cream cheese in the morning, or with some peanut butter & honey!