Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Making Bagels

Every once in a while, I decide that I want to be self-sufficient and learn a new skill. Laima and I have made wine in the past, we're avid bakers and cooks, and we grow vegetables on and off. No farm animals yet though.

Recently I decided to make bagels. Seemed simple enough.

Attempt 1 left, Attempt 2 Right

  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups warm milk (110 to 115 degrees F)
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

In a mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm milk. Add the butter, sugar, salt and egg yolk; mix well. Stir in enough flour to form a soft dough.

Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. This is brutally difficult if you don't work with your hands - the hand muscles get sore and tired pretty quickly.

Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

Punch dough down. Shape into 12 balls. Push thumb through centers to form a 1-in. hole. Place on a floured surface. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes; flatten.

In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil. Drop bagels, one at a time, into boiling water. When bagels float to the surface, remove with a slotted spoon and place 2 in. apart on greased baking sheets. My bagels floated up basically immediately, so I took some out right away and others I allowed to boil for a bit longer - they all ended up basically the same, so I'm not sure that it makes any difference.

Bake at 400 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from pans to wire racks to cool.

Attempt 1 Left, Attempt 3 Right

All in, about 2 hours.

I tried this three times. First time, I used yeast that expired in 2007. Predictably, the bagels didn't rise much and ended up being quite dense. The second time I used unexpired yeast made for the whole wheat flour I was using. The third time I substituted bread flour for half the whole wheat flour - the results were not different enough to warrant adding the different flour, so I'll stick with all whole wheat flour for now. Because of the whole wheat flour, these bagels are dense and chewy, not like the fluffy bagels you get at the grocery store. The flavor is amazing, especially when they've just cooled. Cannot wait to try this with a variety of flavors.

Original recipe from


  1. That's cool! And no extra stuff in them either. I'll have to give it a try. Thanks!

  2. Very cool. I've thought about trying this before. Maybe this summer...

  3. Very cool. I've thought about trying this before. Maybe this summer...

  4. josh made bagels once - i thought they were good (plus we made them cinnamon sugar so you can't really go wrong there!). it was definitely kind of weird to boil them but it's actually not a bad process. healthier and probably a little cheaper, and you can make whatever flavor you want.

    i am impressed! even with all the expired products :)

  5. Delicious warm out of the oven:)

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