Homemade Bagels
Breads,  Breakfast,  Recipes

Homemade Bagels

Homemade Bagels

It took me quite some time to build up the nerve to attempt Homemade Bagels. 

The list of ingredients and lengthy instructions lay by my computer for weeks. I  struggled to locate Diastatic Malt Powder, which was my first excuse for delay, but ultimately ordered it from Amazon.  I couldn’t make bagels without smoked salmon and cream cheese to enjoy them with.  I bought them the next time I was in the grocery store.  When the day came that I was finally ready, I was confident and I was hungry.  Let’s do this.

Bagel Ingredients

I gathered all the ingredients weighing vs. measuring to insure the most accurate results.

Step #1 ~ Make the sponge.  Piece of cake.

Bagel Sponge

Read complete instructions all the way through to the end BEFORE beginning a recipe.  Heck, that’s Tip #10 on our very own Top 12 Cooking Tips list.  Step #1 is to make a ‘sponge’ which then rests for 2 hours (Step #2).  Okay, two hours isn’t the end of the world.  I’ll just have a snack to hold me over.

Sponge after two hours

Look at YOU all bubbly and excited.  Time to make the dough ~ Step #3.  All the fun stuff comes next, like stirring, kneading, cutting, rolling, proofing, shaping, proofing again (about an hour total) ~ Steps #4, #5 and #6.  There is mention in the recipe of the dough being able to pass the windowpane test.  Click here for a great explanation of that tip.  At this point, based on the way my forearms felt, I knew I had earned myself a nice hot bagel straight from the oven.  We must be close now.

Bagel Dough
Bagel Shapes

Step #7 ~ test to see if the bagels are ready by using the float test.  If a bagel placed in water floats within 10 seconds they’re ‘ready’…

Float Test

‘ready’ to go. in. to. the…

wait for it…

Ready for Refrigeration

Refrigerator overnight.

Are you kidding me?!  Aaaaaahhhhhh.  How did I miss THAT step.  My Sunday morning breakfast craving just turned into Homemade Bagels for Monday night dinner.

Step #8 ~ the following day or up to two days later, you’re ready to boil, then add toppings (Step #9), and finally to bake (Step #10).

Prebake Boil
Topping Time
Homemade Bagels

The bagels were phenomenal.  There’s no doubt about that.  Worth every minute of anticipation and patience required.  You will have a hard time buying ‘store’ bagels again.

As I sat savoring each bite of my prize I couldn’t help but laugh at myself just a bit.  This is exactly how I learned to cook.  Pick up the recipe and go.  I wouldn’t change a thing, but I will try to remember Tip #10.  She says as she waits for her 2nd go-round batch (three weeks later) to proof for the float test, after having to run to the store for more flour. 

Thank you to Annie’s Eats for this fantastic Homemade Bagel recipe and for her step by step instructions.

Bagels with Cream Cheese & Salmon

And welcome to my first published picture using my new ‘real’ camera.  I’m a little giddy right now.

Homemade Bagels

Homemade Bagels

Annie’s Eats
Servings 12


For the sponge…

  • 1 tsp. instant yeast
  • 4 cups 18 oz. unbleached bread flour
  • 2 1/2 cups 20 oz. water, at room temperature

For the dough…

  • 1/2 tsp. instant yeast
  • 3 3/4 cups 17 oz. unbleached bread flour
  • 2 3/4 tsp. 0.7 oz. salt
  • 2 tsp. 0.33 oz. diastatic malt powder OR 1 Tbl. dark or light malt syrup, honey, or brown sugar

To finish…

  • 1 Tbl. baking soda
  • Cornmeal for dusting
  • Desired toppings 7 seed blend, cinnamon & sugar, grated cheese, dried shallot, etc.


  • To make the sponge, in a medium bowl, stir the yeast into the flour. Stir in the water until a thick smooth batter forms.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for approximately 2 hours or until the mixture doubles in size and is bubbly.
  • To make the dough…in the same mixing bowl (or in the bowl of an electric stand mixer), add the additional yeast to the sponge and stir. Then add just 3 cups of the flour and all of the salt and malt. Stir (or mix on low speed with the dough hook) until the ingredients form a ball. Slowly work in the remaining 3/4 cup flour. The dough will stiffen.
  • Transfer the dough to a smooth work surface and knead for 10 minutes (or 6 minutes with the mixer) until the dough is smooth. The dough will be firm, but pliable and should be able to pass the windowpane test. If the dough feels sticky, add more flour. If it tears, add a few drops of water.
  • Divide the dough into 4 1/2 ounce pieces for 12 standard sized bagels Form each piece into a ball. Cover them with a damp towel and allow them to rest for 20 minutes.
  • Line two sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly mist with cooking spray. Shape the bagels by gently pushing a hole through the center, then stretching the hole to 2 inches. Return bagels to the sheet pans, spacing them 2 inches apart. Mist them with cooking spray then loosely cover with plastic wrap. Let proof at room temperature for 20 minutes.
  • To check to see if the bagels are ready to be retarded in the refrigerator OVERNIGHT, use the float test. Fill a small bowl with room temp. water. Place one bagel in the water, if it floats within 10 seconds they are ready. Return the tester to the pan and pat dry. If the tester does not float, allow to proof another 10 minutes (or longer) until tester floats.
  • The following day or up to two days later, preheat oven to 500 degrees with two racks set in the middle of the oven. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add the baking soda. Have a strainer/skimmer and your toppings ready.
  • Remove bagels from the refrigerator and gently drop them in the boiling water. Boil in batches 3-4 at a time. After 1 minute flip them over and boil another minute. Sprinkle the lined baking pans with corn meal. As the bagels are removed from the water, add toppings immediately.
  • When all the bagels have been boiled and topped, place the pans in the oven. Bake for 5 minutes, then rotate the pans, switching shelves and turning 180 degrees. After rotation, lower oven temp. to 450 degrees and continue baking for about 5 more minutes. Bagels should be light golden brown. Let bagels cool on a rack for at least 15 minutes.


Preparation Time…This recipe requires overnight refrigeration. Day #1 ~ about 3 hours preparation; Day #2 ~ about 20 minutes total cook time.

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