How to Make Homemade Bagels: Step-by-Step Instructions for Freshly Baked Bagels

How to Make Homemade Bagels: Step-by-Step Instructions for Freshly Baked Bagels

Bagels are a delicious and versatile food that can be enjoyed any time of day. Whether toasted with cream cheese for breakfast, used as a sandwich bread for lunch, or paired with smoked salmon for dinner, bagels are a crowd-pleaser. While store-bought bagels are readily available, there’s nothing quite like the taste and texture of a freshly baked homemade bagel.

As a professional baker with over 10 years of experience, I’ve mastered the art of making the perfect bagel. In this article, I’ll share with you my tried-and-true recipe and step-by-step instructions for making homemade bagels. From preparing the dough to shaping and boiling the bagels, I’ll guide you through the entire process so you can achieve bakery-quality results in your own kitchen.

Why Make Homemade Bagels?

While store-bought bagels may be convenient, they often lack the chewy texture and distinct flavor of a freshly baked bagel. Making bagels from scratch allows you to customize the flavor and texture to your liking, and ensures that you’re using high-quality ingredients. Plus, the satisfaction of biting into a warm, freshly baked bagel that you made yourself is unbeatable.

What You’ll Need

Before we get started, let’s gather the necessary ingredients and equipment:

  • Bread flour
  • Instant yeast
  • Salt
  • Granulated sugar
  • Water
  • Cornmeal
  • Baking soda
  • Large pot
  • Baking sheet
  • Parchment paper


For the dough:

  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water

Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl until a shaggy dough forms. Knead the dough on a floured surface for about 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. Cover and let it rest for 10 minutes.

For boiling:

  • 12 cups water
  • 1/4 cup honey or barley malt syrup
  • 1/4 cup baking soda

Combine all the ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil.

For topping:

  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • poppy seeds, sesame seeds, or everything bagel seasoning

Whisk the egg white and water together in a small bowl. Brush the mixture onto the bagels and sprinkle with your desired toppings.

Ingredient Notes:
Ingredient Note
Bread Flour Using bread flour will give your bagels a chewier texture.
Instant Yeast Make sure to use instant yeast, not active dry yeast, for this recipe.
Honey or Barley Malt Syrup Either of these ingredients will give your bagels that classic, slightly sweet flavor.
Baking Soda Adding baking soda to the boiling water will give your bagels a shiny, golden-brown crust.
Everything Bagel Seasoning This seasoning mix typically includes sesame seeds, poppy seeds, onion flakes, garlic powder, and salt.

How to Make Homemade Bagels: Step-by-Step Instructions for Freshly Baked Bagels

Bagels are a delicious breakfast staple that can be enjoyed in many ways. Making them from scratch may seem intimidating, but it’s actually quite easy. Follow these simple steps to make your own homemade bagels:

Step 1: Make the Dough

The first step in making bagels is to make the dough. In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, salt, and yeast. In a separate bowl, mix together warm water and oil. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until a dough forms. Knead the dough on a floured surface for about 10 minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic.

Step 2: Rest the Dough

Once the dough is kneaded, place it in a greased bowl and cover it with a damp towel. Let it rest for about an hour until it doubles in size.

Step 3: Shape the Dough

After the dough has rested, punch it down and divide it into 8-10 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and use your finger to poke a hole in the center. Stretch the dough until the hole is about 1-2 inches in diameter.

Step 4: Boil the Bagels

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add sugar. Place the bagels in the boiling water, a few at a time, and boil for about 1-2 minutes on each side. Remove the bagels from the water and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Step 5: Add Toppings and Bake

Preheat your oven to 425°F. Brush the bagels with an egg wash and add your desired toppings, such as sesame seeds, poppy seeds, or sea salt. Bake the bagels for about 20-25 minutes until they are golden brown.

Ingredients Amount
Flour 3 cups
Granulated Sugar 2 tbsp
Salt 1 tsp
Instant Yeast 2 tsp
Warm Water 1 cup
Vegetable Oil 2 tbsp
Water (for boiling) 12 cups
Granulated Sugar (for boiling) 2 tbsp
Egg Wash 1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp water

Now that you know how to make homemade bagels, you can enjoy them fresh and warm from your own kitchen. Experiment with different toppings and flavors to make them your own!

Tips and Tricks for Making Homemade Bagels

Homemade bagels are a delicious and satisfying breakfast treat, but they can be tricky to make. Here are some tips and tricks to help you get perfect bagels every time:

1. Use High-Quality Ingredients

The key to making great bagels is to use high-quality ingredients. This means using bread flour instead of all-purpose flour, and using fresh yeast instead of instant yeast. You’ll also want to make sure that your water is filtered and free of any chlorine or other chemicals that can affect the flavor of your bagels.

2. Knead the Dough Thoroughly

Kneading the dough is an important step in making bagels. You want to knead the dough until it becomes smooth and elastic, which usually takes about 10 minutes. This will help develop the gluten in the dough, which is what gives bagels their chewy texture.

3. Let the Dough Rest

After kneading the dough, it’s important to let it rest for at least 10 minutes before shaping it into bagels. This will allow the gluten to relax, which will make it easier to shape the dough without it springing back.

4. Boil the Bagels

Boiling the bagels before baking them is what gives them their signature chewy texture. Make sure to add a tablespoon of sugar to the boiling water, as this will help create a shiny crust on the bagels.

5. Add Toppings After Boiling

If you want to add toppings to your bagels, such as sesame seeds or poppy seeds, it’s best to do so after boiling them. This will help the toppings adhere better to the bagels.

6. Use a Pizza Stone

For best results, bake your bagels on a pizza stone. This will help create a crispy crust on the bottom of the bagels. If you don’t have a pizza stone, you can use a baking sheet, but make sure to preheat it in the oven before adding the bagels.

7. Store Properly

Homemade bagels are best eaten fresh, but if you have leftovers, make sure to store them properly. Bagels can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 days, or in the refrigerator for up to a week. You can also freeze them for up to 3 months.

8. Experiment with Flavors

Once you’ve mastered the basic bagel recipe, don’t be afraid to experiment with different flavors. You can add ingredients like cinnamon, raisins, or even chocolate chips to the dough to create unique and delicious bagel varieties.

9. Have Fun!

Making bagels can be a fun and rewarding experience. Don’t be afraid to get creative and have fun with the process. With a little practice, you’ll be making perfect homemade bagels in no time!


Homemade bagels are a delicious and rewarding project to take on in the kitchen. With a few simple ingredients and some patience, you can enjoy fresh, warm bagels right out of the oven. By following these step-by-step instructions, you’ll be able to make your own bagels that are just as good, if not better, than the ones you can buy at the store.

Tips for Success

  • Don’t rush the rising process. Let the dough rise for the full amount of time to ensure a chewy and flavorful bagel.
  • Use high-quality ingredients. The better the flour, yeast, and salt, the better the bagel will taste.
  • Experiment with toppings and flavors. From everything bagels to cinnamon raisin, there are endless possibilities for customizing your homemade bagels.
  • Practice makes perfect. Don’t be discouraged if your first batch isn’t perfect. Keep trying and adjusting until you find the perfect recipe for your taste.

Get Baking!

Now that you know how to make homemade bagels, it’s time to get baking! Whether you’re making them for a special occasion or just as a weekend treat, these bagels are sure to impress. So gather your ingredients, roll up your sleeves, and enjoy the deliciousness of freshly baked bagels.

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