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Bagel recipe - How to make bagels with these easy, step-by-step instructions

Updated on February 2, 2012
Bon Appetit!
Bon Appetit! | Source

Easy bagel recipe

I am no CHEF!

So I would like to start by letting you know a little bit more ABOUT ME. I am an avid baker and risk taker in the kitchen. I say that with a little snicker because I have been known to make some real masterpieces and am also known to have dumped an entire batch of something in the garbage because I tried a few too many spices in the same dish.

I am by no means a professional baker, cook or chef. My passion for baking and cooking happened gradually over the years and I have learned most of what I know about cooking from family members. More recently my knowledge has increased with the addition of THE FOOD NETWORK Channel on cable! However, my basic skills where acquired from the 'elders' in my family. You know, those cooks who made the best Sunday dinners ever, the ones who could turn plain carrots into a gourmet meal? Well, they are the women and men that inspired me to become a better cook and baker.

Hopefully you have had a chance to read my 'Which Flour is best for your recipe' HUB Page wherein I expressed my true LOVE for baking breads and bagels. Why you ask? I have no idea! It may be because it was a challenge that I was able to conquer or it might just be the satisfaction that I don't have to go to the store or bakery to get my bread or bagels, or it could be the surprised look or that attention grabber when I say, "Oh I make all my own breads". (With a snooty little tone, lol) Whatever the reason, I just love it.

I have been improving and tweaking my bagel recipe for a very long time now. This recipe is the one that I think is the easiest with the fewest ingredients. I am going to share it with you along with visual, step-by-step instructions.

Bagel indredients
Bagel indredients | Source


  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons white sugar
  • 2/3 cups hot water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 2 cups BREAD flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • cornmeal for dusting
  • 1 egg for wash

Start wet ingredients
Start wet ingredients | Source

Combine hot water, sugar and yeast in a glass bowl. Stir ingredients with a fork, then cover with a towel.

Cover yeast
Cover yeast | Source

Cover the wet yeast mixture with a towel and let stand for 10 or 15 minutes.

Note: I only use flour sack towels. I find that because they have such a tight thread weave that they really hold in the warmth so your yeast rises and you also don't get fuzzies in your dough that might get stuck on a regular dish towel.

Bubbled yeast
Bubbled yeast | Source

The yeast, sugar and water mixture will have expanded in size and be bubbled when it's finished resting.

Add oil
Add oil | Source

Add oil and blend it well with a fork.

Note: This is an important step! If you try to add the oil after you have added the flour, you will have a sticky mess to work with. It will also be difficult to incorporate all the flour.

Dry ingredients
Dry ingredients | Source

Measure out the flour and mix in the salt. Gradually add the flour and salt mixture to the wet mixture, mixing it in with a fork. When you can no longer mix it with a fork, get your hands in there and work it together!

Note: Make sure that the salt is pre-mixed with the flour before you put it in the wet mixture. SALT should never touch yeast.

Combine ingredients
Combine ingredients | Source

Lightly flour your work surface. Put your dough on your work surface and knead it for approximately 7-8 minutes.

Don't let the 'kneading' part scare you away! By hand, roll your dough out, grip the sides, flip them inward, press them down, flatten down, flap the top downward and bottom upward, press down, flatten out and then go to the sides again. Repeat several more times...and that's all it takes!

Dough first rise
Dough first rise | Source

When you have finished kneading your dough, roll it into a large ball, put it back in the glass bowl and cover it with your towel.

Let the dough stand for 30 to 40 minutes while it rises.

Note: Do not disturb during this process.

Cornmeal sheet
Cornmeal sheet | Source

While your dough is rising (resting), take a cookie sheet and lightly coat it with cornmeal.

Note: The cornmeal is necessary in order to keep your bagels from sticking while baking.

Finished first rise
Finished first rise | Source

After 30 to 40 minutes of resting, your dough will have almost doubled in size.

Punch down the dough, (which means, poke a whole to release the air) and fold it out onto your lightly floured work surface.

Divide dough
Divide dough | Source

Depending on the size of the bagels you want to make, divide the dough into into 6 to 8 equally sized pieces.

There are a few different ways to form your bagels.

One way is to roll out balls and slightly flatten them, then place them on the cornmeal dusted cookie sheet.

Note: The bagel 'hole' part comes later right before parboiling.

Roll bagel
Roll bagel | Source

The standard way is to roll out an approximately 8" inch tube or snake shape.

Loop bagel
Loop bagel | Source

Then loop it so that it forms a ring. Bring both ends together and pinch.

Put a very small amount of water at the joined area to seal the dough.

Place the rings on the cornmeal dusted cookie sheet.

Shaped | Source

Here are both the ring style and the ball style.

Note: Remember I said I was not a professional and I am at times a bit messy. None of my bagels ever come out exactly alike, they are as individual as I am.

Second rise
Second rise | Source

Cover the bagels with your towel and let stand for 30 to 40 minutes.

The bagels will once again almost double in size.

Note: After your bagels have set for approximately 20 minutes, fill a frying pan with water, 1/2 full, and begin to boil.

Parboil | Source

To make the hole. Take the flattened style bagels and poke a hole down in the center with your thumb and tuck it under the bottom of the ball.

Now that your bagels have set, and all have holes, carefully take them from your cookie sheet and parboil each for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes on each side.

Note: Parboiling is between a full boil and a simmer. The bagels will be slippery so I use a slotted spatula and a wooden spoon while handling the bagels near the hot water.

Dry bagels
Dry bagels | Source

When each bagel has been parboiled on both sides, carefully remove the bagels from the water and place them on the towel. Gently pat dry each bagel on both sides.

Note: For crustier bagels, put a small metal baking pan filled with water on the bottom of your oven. The steam will help crisp up the outside of your bagels.

Put your oven rack on the lowest setting and preheat your oven to 400*.

Egg wash
Egg wash | Source

Then place the bagels back onto your cornmeal dusted cookie sheet.

Lightly egg wash each bagel.

Note: My egg wash is a really well whisked egg with just a TAD of water.

Place the baking sheet on the bottom rack of the oven for 15 to 25 minutes or until the top of your bagels are medium golden brown on top.

Finished bagels
Finished bagels | Source

The finished product speaks for itself.

As you can see, the rolled snake method (the two bagels in the front) are not that much different than the ball and thumb method (the two bagels in the back). The bagels in the center are preferred by my grandson, no hole at all!

Bon Appetite!

If you would like information on how you can publish your stories or recipes, go to HUB Pages to read all about it.


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    • Irenevosburgh profile image

      Irenevosburgh 5 years ago from Philadelphia, PA

      I am so glad you tried them! Yes a little adjustment here and there might be in order. Thanks for letting me know.

    • BakingBread-101 profile image

      BakingBread-101 5 years ago from Nevada

      Well, I made them. They are absolutely delicious. I did have to add more water than called for in the recipe, but that could be because I live in a low humidity area (the desert of Las Vegas).

    • Irenevosburgh profile image

      Irenevosburgh 5 years ago from Philadelphia, PA

      Thanks so very much.

    • profile image

      irvinetraveller 5 years ago

      Congratulations! A well-written hub and seems like very good bagels. I shall try soon.

    • Irenevosburgh profile image

      Irenevosburgh 5 years ago from Philadelphia, PA

      Yes, it is a small batch. It is my ritual each week...I look forward to making my weekly bagels. I only freeze a very few things, I prefer fresh whenever I can get it.

    • JimmieWriter profile image

      Jimmie Lanley 5 years ago from Memphis, TN USA

      They look great, but what a tiny batch. Whenever I have made bagels, I make a HUGE batch and make some sesame, some poppy seed, some onion, etc. A freezer is a girl's best friend.

    • Irenevosburgh profile image

      Irenevosburgh 5 years ago from Philadelphia, PA

      Thanks so much!

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Bagels, bagels...they seem to be calling for me. I think my tummy is hungry LOL

      Congratulations on your Hubnuggets nomination. To all who would like to read and vote, join the Hubnuggets team and their adventures right here:

    • wordscribe43 profile image

      Elsie Nelson 5 years ago from Pacific Northwest, USA

      Awesome! I've never thought about making my own bagels, but now I will! I love baking, so I'm definitely going to give this a shot. Fantastic hub, by the way. Congrats on the hubnugget nomination! Well deserved. I voted for you, so good luck.

    • Irenevosburgh profile image

      Irenevosburgh 5 years ago from Philadelphia, PA

      I am so happy to hear that people are going to give it a go. Just don't get discouraged! I know you can do it...and thanks for your interest. I plan on posting a 'what not to do with flour' Hub shortly! lol

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 5 years ago from San Francisco

      I'm quite like you- I love to cook and bake, and I'm a huge fan of the Food Network, but I have made a bunch of big mistakes in my day! I therefore totally trust your instructions- you're the real thing! You've DONE it and survived to tell the story!

      I've never made bagels before, but I eat them daily and would love to give this whole endeavor a go. Thanks for inspiring me!

    • tonymead60 profile image

      Tony Mead 5 years ago from Yorkshire


      great hub, I too am a baking adict and just love the thrill of getting fresh bread from the oven. Well done I enjoyed reading your recipe.

      cheers I've voted you up too for your efforts.


    • Irenevosburgh profile image

      Irenevosburgh 5 years ago from Philadelphia, PA

      Thank you, I appreciate your interest.

    • BakingBread-101 profile image

      BakingBread-101 5 years ago from Nevada

      What a fabulous presentation of a really wonderful recipe. You did an awesome job. I just wanted to pluck one of those bagels out and eat it right now!

    • rjsadowski profile image

      rjsadowski 5 years ago

      A very thorough detailed set of instructions. I may just have to try this sometime. I love good baegels but they seem to make them too puffy and airy here in the midwest. They seem to think that bigger is better.

    • Cat R profile image

      Cat R 5 years ago from North Carolina, U.S.

      I'm gonna have to try that. Miss the days when you could buy them for a few cents at the bakery stores. Now they are $2+ for six of them!