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Look, I love bagels. I mean, who doesn't? When they're made right, they have a perfect crisp exterior, and a fluffy, chewy interior that tastes like heaven. Unfortunately, I live in California, and we aren't exactly known for our bagels. Sure, there are some excellent places like Hank's Deli, but if you want some things done right, you just gotta make them yourself. This recipe is adapted from  King Arthur Flour, and they sure know how to make good bagels. 

Bagel Dough


  • 1 tablespoon active or instant dry yeast

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 1 tablespoon barley malt syrup or brown sugar

  • 1 1/3 cups warm water

Water Solution


  • 2 quarts water

  • 2 tablespoons barley malt syrup or brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar


  1. Combine the water, yeast, and brown sugar in a large bowl or the base of your stand mixer. Set aside 5 minutes.

  2. Add in the flour and salt. Mix with a large spoon or a dough hook attachment. If you're using your hands, knead the dough for 10-15 minutes when it starts to come together. If using a stand mixer, let it go for about 10 minutes.

  3. Once the dough has been kneaded for a while and is kind of stiff, toss it (figuratively) into a lightly greased bowl and let it hang out for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until nearly doubled in size.  

  4. Line two baking sheets with baking parchment. Take the puffy dough out of its bowl and divide it into 8-12 equal-sized portions of dough. The less the bagels you make, the bigger they will be.

  5. Roll the dough portions out into dough balls. Place them on the baking sheets and cover with a towel. Let them rest 30 minutes until slightly puffier. 

  6. While the dough rests, prepare the water bath: heat the water, brown sugar, and granulated sugar to a gentle boil in an enormous saucepan. Preheat the oven 425 degrees Fahrenheit or about 220 degrees Celsius. 

  7. Time to shape! Although bagels and pretzels are similar, it is much easier to shape bagels than pretzels. Poke a hole in the middle of the dough, then use your fingers to gently rotate and stretch it. *Tip: Spray the baking parchment lightly with cooking spray so that the bagels don't stick when they come out of the water bath.

  8. Carefully place 2-4 bagels at a time in the water bath. Cook on one side for 2 minutes, give them a little flip, then cook on the other side about 1 minute. Remove, drain excess water, and place back on the baking sheet.

  9. Bake your bagels 20 minutes, then flip them over and bake another 15 minutes. This, according to King Arthur Flour, makes them stay nice an round. 

  10. Serve fresh with butter, cream cheese and lox, or whatever your heart desires!


Jazz Up Your Bagels!

Craving something a little more exciting? Brush your bagels with 1 beaten egg, then top with anything! Some suggestions:

  • Poppy seeds

  • Sesame seeds

  • Everything bagel seasoning

  • Flaky salt

  • Za'atar (a tangy Middle-Eastern spice blend. Watch how to make it!)


The dough after it has been proofed. So puffy!

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