A bakery classic, that's surprisingly easy to make at home! These classic New York style bagels are chewy, soft, and airy. Perfect for breakfast and lunch!
Making bagels at home always felt like a labor of love to me, but they are actually outrageously easy to make!
If you know how to make pizza dough, the method isn't too different. There's really not much that's special about the bagel dough itself. It features 5 simple ingredients that you find in almost every yeast dough recipe: water, yeast, sugar, flour, and salt.
What really sets bagels apart from other typical dough recipes is an added step of parboiling them to get that signature chewy exterior. Very similar to how we boil soft pretzels before baking as well!
New York style bagel ingredients:
• water: this is a low fat dough (just like pizza dough). That's to help guarantee a more crispy bread as opposed to a soft bread
• yeast: active dry or instant will work fine here
• sugar: you can use granulated or brown sugar. I used granulated for my bagels
• flour: for the dough and to knead the dough. It's important to avoid adding flour as much as possible when shaping your bagels because they're actually easier to work with if they're slightly tacky! But they shouldn't be so sticky that they get stuck to your hands
• salt: to season the dough
• water: for boiling the bagels. Boiling is key to achieving a perfectly chewy bagel!
• honey: also for boiling the bagels. The honey sticks onto the surface of the buns and helps yield an extra caramelized and crispy crust! You can use regular sugar or maple syrup in a pinch, but the downside is that regular sugar doesn't do as good a job at developing the crust and maple syrup has a bit of an overpowering flavor. So do keep that in mind when choosing
How to make New York style bagels:
1. Proof the yeast. Whisk yeast, water, and sugar together, and set aside until foamy.
2. Make dough. Combine yeast mix, flour, and salt. Knead until you get a smooth dough.
3. Set aside to rise. Cover and set aside your dough for 1 hour, or until nearly doubled in size.
4. Shape bagels. Divide your risen dough into 8 equal portions. Roll each portion into a ball. Poke a hole in the center of each ball with your finger and gradually stretch it open to make your bagel shape. Cover and rest for 10 minutes while you prep the poaching water.
5. Fill a pot with water and honey. Bring to a boil over medium heat.
6. Boil bagels. Carefully drop the shaped bagels into your pot, taking care not to overcrowd the pan. Boil for about 30 seconds on each side.
7. Bake. Transfer boiled bagels to a parchment lined baking sheet. (Optional) Brush bagels with egg wash and top with preferred toppings, or leave plain. Bake until golden brown on top.
Cool slightly before slicing and serving!
Like any bread recipe, bagels taste best the day they're baked, but they do store quite well (especially if you plan on toasting them before serving!)
Keep your bagels in an airtight container or plastic bag to seal in as much freshness as possible. Homemade bagels will keep for about 3 days at room temperature or up to a week in the fridge. You can also freeze them for 5 to 6 months!
Check out these other recipes:
New York Style Bagels Recipe
For the bagel dough:
- 2 cups lukewarm water, at about 110°F
- 2 & ¼ teaspoons active dry or instant yeast
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 5 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
For boiling the bagels:
- 2 quarts water
- ¼ cup honey * see notes for substitutions
- 1 large egg white + 1 tablespoon water (optional)
- your choice of topping, I used untoasted sesame seeds - you can also use poppy seeds, dried onion flakes, everything seasoning, sea salt, etc.!
- In a large bowl, whisk together your warm water, yeast, and sugar. Set aside for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the water is foamy on the surface.
- Add your flour and salt to the yeast mixture. Using a wooden spoon, mix everything together until it starts to come together into a rough ball of dough. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes, or until smooth and elastic.
- Place the dough in a large bowl. Cover, and set aside in a warm place to rise for around 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until about doubled in size. Preheat your oven to 400°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper, and set aside.
- Turn your risen dough onto an unfloured work surface (bagels are easier to shape if they stick slightly to your work surface - don't be afraid to add flour, but only if absolutely necessary). Divide the dough into 8 equal portions. Shape each piece of dough into a ball by cupping your hand over the piece of dough and rolling it around in circular motions on your work surface.
- To make the bagel shape, you have two options. You can roll each ball of dough into a rope and loop it into a ring. Or (my preferred method) take each ball of dough and make a hole in the center using your finger. Then gradually stretch the hole until it's about 1 & ½ inches wide. Place your shaped bagels onto your parchment lined baking sheets, leaving a bit of room between each bagel. Cover and set aside to rest for 10 minutes while you prepare the boiling water.
- In a large pot, combine water and honey. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Carefully drop your shaped bagels into the boiling water, taking care not to overcrowd the pot! You'll have to do 2 to 3 batches. Boil your bagels for about 30 seconds on each side.
- Drain and transfer the boiled bagels back onto your parchment lined baking sheet, leaving about an inch of space between each bagel. Continue the boiling process until all of the bagels are boiled.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together your egg white and water. Brush each bagel with the egg wash. You can skip the egg wash, but it does help the toppings stick to the bagel more easily, and it helps with browning as the bagels bake. Sprinkle your choice of topping onto the bagels or leave plain.
- Transfer the bagels to the center of your preheated 400°F oven. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool slightly before serving.