Homemade Bagels

If you follow my instagram, you may have spotted these bagels recently. They were so good that they deserve to be on my blog to stay on the interwebs forever. The craving for New York Bagel and Kleinsky's in Cape Town got me all inspired to make my own bagels, because... I have the time. I found a brilliant recipe by Sophisticated Gourmet for legit New York-style bagels. The texture is spot on 👌🏻 . Guys, oh my gaaawd, it was so delicious. I'm craving them again as I'm writing this. Bagels need to be baked again soon and next time I will double the batch, as these 8 bagels didn't last very long. I served mine warm, generously smeared with cream cheese, draped with smoked salmon and the vital addition of pickled red onion and capers. A squeeze of lemon juice sealed the deal. So, here's the flawless recipe I used. Including my 2 cents every so often.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Dessert
Servings 8


  • 2 tsp (10 ml) dry active yeast
  • 4.5 tsp granulated sugar
  • 300 - 400 ml warm water I need more liquid
  • 3.5 cups (+- 440 g) bread flour or high gluten flour and extra for kneading
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • Egg wash whisk 1 egg with a pinch of coarse salt
  • Optional toppings seeds, herbs, coarse salt etc


  • In ½ cup /120 ml of the warm water, pour in the sugar and yeast. Do not stir. Let it sit for five minutes, and then stir the yeast and sugar mixture, until it all dissolves in the water
  • Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle and pour in the yeast and sugar mixture.
  • Pour 1/3 cup / 80 ml of the remaining warm water into the well. Mix and stir in the rest of the water as needed. Depending on where you live, you may need to add anywhere from a couple tablespoons to about ¼ cup/60 ml of water ( I needed to add about 125 ml). You want a moist and firm dough after you have mixed it.
  • On a floured counter top, knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. Try working in as much flour as possible to form a firm and stiff dough.
  • Lightly brush a large bowl with oil and turn the dough to coat. Cover the bowl with a damp dish towel. Let rise in a warm place* for 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in size. Punch the dough down, and let it rest for another 10 minutes. * One of the bonuses of living in Kuwait is that popping covered dough outside in high 30-40ºC weather is the perfect temperature for proofing. I'll let you know how proofing goes once the temps hit 0ver 50ºC...
  • Carefully divide the dough into 8 pieces (I used a scale to be extra precise I did this too as I wanted even sized bagels , but it’s not necessary ). Shape each piece into a round. Now, take a dough ball, and press it gently against the counter top (or whatever work surface you’re using) moving your hand and the ball in a circular motion pulling the dough into itself while reducing the pressure on top of the dough slightly until a perfect dough ball forms (as pictured below). Repeat with 7 other dough rounds.
  • Coat a finger in flour, and gently press your finger into the center of each dough ball to form a ring. Stretch the ring to about ⅓ the diameter of the bagel and place on a lightly oiled cookie sheet. Repeat the same step with the remaining dough.
  • After shaping the dough rounds and placing them on the cookie sheet, cover with a damp kitchen towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 425ºF / 220ºC / Gas Mark 7.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Reduce the heat. Use a slotted spoon or skimmer to lower the bagels into the water. Boil as many as you are comfortable with boiling. Once the bagels are in, it shouldn’t take too long for them to float to the top (a couple seconds). Let them sit there for 1 minute, and them flip them over to boil for another minute. Extend the boiling times to 2 minutes each, if you’d prefer a chewier bagel (results will give you a more New York Style bagel with this option. I did this option, brilliant!).
  • If you want to add toppings to your bagels, do so as you take them out of the water, you may use the “optional toppings” to top the bagels and if you’re risky like me, make a combination of the toppings to top the bagels with. However, before hand, you will need to use an egg wash to get the toppings to stick before putting the bagels into the oven. I simply brushed mine with egg wash and sprinkled with coarse salt. Next time I will be adventurous.
  • Once all the bagels have boiled (and have been topped with your choice of toppings), transfer them to an oiled or parchment-lined baking sheet.
  • Bake for 20 - 25 minutes, or until golden brown (I usually err on the side of 20 minutes). Agreed, 20 minutes did the trick!
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!