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The Bagel

I have never made bagels before. I love them so much. I eat bagels for breakfast all the time but I have never, NEVER tried to make them before. I am not really sure why I have never tried to make them before, it probably has something to do with the fact that you boil them before you bake them and that just seems a little weird in my head. However, yesterday was the day, I tried to make them and they turned out pretty good.

Alright so I am going to talk through the recipe and then the recipe I use will be at the bottom of this blog. I hate when there is not an option to jump straight to the recipe, but I haven't figure out how to add a 'jump to recipe' button at the top. I'm learning and hopefully will figure out if and how to do that soon.

To start I mixed together my water, yeast, and a pinch of sugar in a measuring cup (picture on left) and let the mixture sit until it was nice and foamy. Then in my very large bowl I mixed the remaining water and 2 tablespoons of brown sugar. Brown sugar may sound a little weird for a bagel depending on what type of bagels you're making, but trust me it doesn't make the bagels sweet. Once the yeast was ready I added it to the bowl and mixed it together.

Next I added the bread flour. The recipe starts with 2 cups then 1/2 a cup until the dough comes together. Now the recipe called for 4 to 5 cups of flour total, I only added in around 3 to 3 1/2 cups total.

Then I took the dough out of the bowl and placed it on a floured surface for kneading. I had kneaded the dough enough after about 5 to 10 minutes. Once the dough was kneaded I cleaned off my hands and washed out the bowl that I had mixed the dough in. I melted some butter and brushed it around the inside of the now clean bowl and placed the kneaded dough ball into the bowl and brushed more melted butter on the dough.

I then loosely covered the bowl with plastic wrap and place a clean kitchen towel over top. The bowl then needed to be placed somewhere relatively warm to rise. I thought my oven, which was off, would be a good place to put it but my

oven happened to be quite cold so I moved some items in the pantry cabinet and placed the bowl in there. The cabinet was a little warmer than if I just let the bowl sit out on the counter.

After about 2 hours I took the bowl out of the cabinet pulled off the plastic wrap and the paper towel and gave the larger ball of dough a punch to get out any air bubbles. The I floured the counter and dumped the dough out of the bowl. I used a knife to cut the dough into 8 even pieces to make 8 bagels. As I worked with each individual piece of dough, I covered the rest with the kitchen towel to keep the from drying out. I had prepared 2 baking sheets with a piece of parchment paper and, frankly, I can't remember if I greased the sheets or not, I don't think I did.

Anyway, I took a piece of dough, rolled it into a ball, and pinched together any pieces that weren't staying together to make a smooth ball. Then I used my fingers to poke a hole in the middle and tried to evenly stretch the hole until it was about 2 inches in size. The hole will shrink a little bit when boiled and baked. I then placed the ready bagels on the baking sheets.

I put a large pot of water on to boil and added the last 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and 1 teaspoon of baking soda into the water once it started to boil. I placed 2 bagels in the boiling water at a time and let them boil for about 30 seconds on each side. When I removed them from the water I placed them on a plate with a thin layer of cornmeal on it then transferred them from the plate back to the prepared baking sheet. Once on the baking sheet I brushed some egg wash on them and seasoned with some everything bagel seasoning. You can use whatever type of seasoning you like and make your bagels sweet or savory, I just happen to love everything bagel seasoning, it goes good on just about, well, everything.

The bagels then went into the oven for 20 minutes and, yes, I did eat one straight out of the oven. Probably not my best decision because the bagel was so soft I couldn't spread the cream cheese very well, but nevertheless it was a pretty good bagel. I hope that if you make bagels that they turn out pretty delicious just like mine did.

Happy Baking! - Ellie

Here's the recipe if you would like to make these bagels for yourself. The recipe came from Butter and Bliss and I hope you enjoy. If you would like the recipe with all the notes included click the following link:



  • 1 and 1/2 cups water, room temperature

  • 2 and 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast (high altitude adjustment: 2 teaspoons)

  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar, divided in half

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

  • 4-5 cups bread flour

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • cornmeal (for dusting bagel ‘peel’)

  • 1 large egg, beaten

  • optional toppings: everything seasoning, grated asiago cheese, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, sea salt


  • In a liquid measuring cup, mix 1/4 cup of the water and the yeast, along with a pinch of sugar sprinkled over the top.  Set aside for 5-10 minutes until the yeast turns foamy and creamy.

  • In a large mixing bowl, add the remaining water and stir in 2 tablespoons of the brown sugar.  Pour in the yeast mixture 2 cups of flour and the salt and stir with a wooden spoon.  Continue to add a 1/2 cup of the flour at a time and stir until the dough starts to come together as a rough, sticky dough.  Stirring the dough will require some ‘elbow grease’ but it will not take long to get the dough to the right consistency.  You likely will not need all of the flour.  

  • Kneading the dough – Turn the dough out onto a floured surface (from the remaining flour you measured), flour your hands and knead the dough for 7-10 minutes until you have a smooth, soft and elastic dough.  You will know you have kneaded the dough long enough when you stick your fingertips into the dough and the dough fills ups the holes.   

  • Brush a large bowl with the melted butter.  Form the dough into a ball and place in the prepared bowl and brush the top of the dough with the melted butter as well.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a dry kitchen towel and place in a warm place to proof the dough for 1-2 hours, or until the dough has doubled in size. 

  • Line 2 half-size baking sheets (or 1 full-size) with parchment paper.    These will be used to bake the bagels.  Take another baking sheet, turn upside down, and sprinkle with cornmeal.  This will be used as the ‘peel’ to season the bagels before transferring them to their baking sheets to bake.

  • When the dough is ready, fill a large pot with 3 quarts of water and turn on high heat to bring to a boil.  Preheat the oven to 425o degrees.  If using one baking sheet, adjust the oven rack to the middle position.  If using 2 baking sheets, adjust the oven racks to the top third and bottom third of the oven.

  • Then, punch the dough down to release air bubbles.  Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and divide the dough into 8 pieces.  Each piece does not have to be identical, just get as close as possible to the same size.  Work with one piece of dough at a time and place a kitchen towel over the other pieces.  

  • Shaping the bagel – pull up the sides of the dough from the bottom all around, pinching it all together at the top – to create a tightly packed ball with a pinched pleat at the top. Turn the pinched top over, so it is on top of your work surface, and poke your index finger into the middle of the dough ball to create the bagel hole. Make the hole bigger by twirling it around your finger with your other index finger. You will want it to be about 2 inches wide as the hole will shrink back slightly when boiled and baked. 

  • Place the shaped bagels on the prepared baking sheets.

  • By this time, the pot of water should be boiling.  Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of the brown sugar and baking soda to the boiling water.  

  • Plunge the bagels 2 at a time (or 3 if you have a larger, wider pot) into the boiling water and boil for 35 seconds on each side.  The bagels should have enough room to float around and they will puff up, and their circular shape will set.

  • Remove the bagels from the water and place on the ‘peel’ baking sheet.  Brush the tops of each with the egg wash and sprinkle with your choice of seasoning.  Move the seasoned bagels bake to the prepared baking sheet.

  • Bake for 20 minutes, or until the bagels are golden brown.  If baking on two baking sheets rotate the sheets halfway through.  Turn the oven off when the bagels are done and let sit in the oven with the door closed for another 5 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

  • The bagels can be stored at room temperature in airtight container or Ziploc for up to 5 days, or in the fridge for up to a week.  Leftover bagels can be frozen for up to 3 months.

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