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I found a recipe to make bagels. My first clue should have been when the recipe raved about how simple it was to make bagels. Simple = a disaster in my world, usually. I especially liked the fact that the bagels could be started at night and finished the next morning. “Retard”ing the dough is what it called. What it made me feel like when they didn’t come out correctly was another definition for the word. Not one to be discouraged (okay, I am one to be discouraged and to pout because my bagels came out looking like shriveled old men) I decided to give it another try, without the “retarding”, rather making the bagels straight through in one pass. These are the results, quite nice to look at and tasty also.

Here’s the recipe for the bagels adapted from The Fresh Loaf:


7 3/4 cups of bread flour

1 1/2 t. yeast

2 1/2 c. warm water

1 T. malt syrup

1 1/2 t. salt

1/2 t. citric acid

1 T. baking soda (for boiling water)

Toppings of your choice

1 egg beaten and mixed with 1 t. water


Combine 4 cups of bread flour, 2 1/2 cups of warm water and 1 t. yeast. Mix together, cover with plastic wrap and let rise for two hours.

Combine risen starter with:

  • 3 3/4 cups bread flour
  • 1/2 t. yeast (her recipe called for instant I used regular and no worries)
  • 2 3/4 t. salt
  • 1/2 t. citric acid (original recipe didn’t call for this, but I think it gives the bagels a sour twinge)
  • 1 T. malt syrup (honey or 2 t. malt powder can be substituted)

Mix all ingredients together with a mixer. The first time I tried doing it by hand and it didn’t mix well enough since this is a really, really dry dough. Knead until all ingredients are mixed into a smooth ball. Divide into twelve equal balls that should weigh about 4 ounces each (I wound up with 14 on this batch and 13 the first time around – go figure). Cover the balls with a damp cloth and let rest for 20 minutes.

After twenty minutes take parchment and line cookie sheets. Take each ball, in turn, and poke a hole in it, twirl it about your fingers to create the bagel hole. Place on the parchment lined cookie sheet and repeat until all bagels are formed. Cover with plastic wrap or place in a plastic garbage bag and let rise for another 20 minutes.

While the bagels are doing their final 20 minute rise, bring a pot of water to a boil. Add 1 T. baking soda to it (the recipe says this helps to mimic the water of NYC bagel shops) Also preheat your oven to 500 degrees.

After twenty minutes are up, the bagels have to be briefly boiled and then baked. Place bagels one at a time into the boiling water. After 30 seconds, flip the bagel, wait another 30 seconds and remove. Place bagels back on parchment paper which you have now sprinkled with cornmeal. Repeat with each bagel. This is also the time to sprinkle the bagels with any toppings you might want. I did plain, salt and black sesame seeds.

I mixed one beaten egg with a teaspoon of water and brushed that on my plain bagels. It gave them a nice shine.

Place bagels into the pre-heated oven. I used a pizza stone since it was already in there, nice and hot. I slid the parchment sheet right onto the pizza stone. Bake for about 15 minutes, test for doneness. They should sound hollow when knocked on. Remove from oven and enjoy.


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