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Making Homemade Bagels your Family will Love!

If you’re a New Yorker or from another part of the Northeastern United States, chances are you’ve developed a passion for good bagels, not the kind you buy in your grocery store’s freezer case. You may have a favorite bagel shop in your neighborhood and probably enjoy these circles of bread topped with a number of different items, from butter and jelly to cream cheese and lox. Bagels are also great for sandwiches and can be enjoyed just about any time of the day. Furthermore, these delightful round treats come in a variety of flavors – like plain, whole wheat, rye, and cinnamon raisin – and can be sprinkled with a number of different items, including sesame seeds, poppy seeds, and small bits of toasted onion. Yum!

If you’re not fortunate enough to live near a great bagel shop, you can recreate that wonderful New York bagel taste by making your own bagels in the comfort of your own kitchen. The recipe really isn’t difficult and making bagels is a project the whole family can enjoy together. Kids love rolling the dough and shaping these tasty treats and can help add the seeds or other toppings at the end of the process.

Bagel recipes are pretty simple and generally include flour (sometimes white and wheat), yeast, and just a few additional ingredients. A typical simple bagel recipe looks like this:

4 cups flour
2 packets active dry yeast (the kind that doesn’t have to be proofed)
1 ½ cups water, at 110°F
3 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt

Mixing the Dough

Because you are using yeast that needn’t be proofed in warm water, you’ll be adding it directly to the dough, which makes things a lot easier and takes substantially less time.

So, when you’re ready to begin, simply mix about 1 ½ cups of the flour and yeast together in a large bowl from a stand mixer, if available. Combine the water, sugar, and salt and add it to the flour mixture and beat it at low speed until just incorporated. Next, crank up the juice and mix it at medium for an additional 3 minutes.

At this point, the dough will be sticky and not dry. However, you want the dough to be stiff so it’s time to turn it out onto a flour cutting board and knead in as much of the remaining flour as possible. (You may have some left.) Once the dough has become stiff (you’ll get better at determining the right texture as you practice making these), knead it some more to increase elasticity then put it in a bowl and cover it with a towel.

After it’s rested for about 15 minutes, remove the dough and cut it into pieces of desired size, probably about a dozen for this recipe. Here’s where the fun begins! Roll out the pieces into long strips and then bind them together to form circles. Next, put them on a buttered or oiled baking sheet, cover, and let rise again for about 15 minutes.

Cooking the Bagels

Some people are surprised to learn that bagels are boiled and then baked. So, when the second rise is complete, place your bagels – just a few at a time – in a pot of water that has been brought to a rolling boil. Boil them for about 60 seconds on each side then remove and allow the bagels to dry on a cooling rack. (Put some paper towels underneath.)

Once they’re dry, it’s time to bake them. Place them on a greased cookie sheet and coat them with an egg wash. Add seeds or other toppings at this point and then bake them for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown.Once you’ve mastered this basic recipe and technique, you can look for bagel recipes that include different kinds of flour and tasty additions like blueberries or cranberries, cinnamon and raisins, and a variety of other ingredients.