Bagels from Scratch

Serves 8 bagels

We love a good bagel, which is why we were so disapponted to learn there are very few places to get good ones in Colorado. We took matters into our own hands with this recipe from Modern Jewish Baker: Challah, Babka, Bagels & More by Shannon Sarna. It’s time-consuming but worth it.

I like to make and shape the dough in the evening and let the bagels rise in the fridge overnight. Between waiting for the oven to preheat to 500°, letting the pizza stone preheat for 30 minutes, and boiling and baking the bagels, it will definitely take at least an hour the following morning before they’re ready to eat, so get an early start.

The bagels are by far at their best immediately out of the oven, but for the rest of the batch, allow them to cool completely, put them in a freezer Ziploc bag, and freeze them for later.

Instructions

  1. Place the yeast and sugar in a small bowl or liquid measuring cup. Add the lukewarm water and stir gently to mix. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, add flour, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 heaping tablespoon malt barley in a stand mixer fitted with a hook attachment.
  3. Once the yeast-water mixture has started bubbling on top, add to mixer bowl and start mixing on low speed. When the dough begins to come together, 3 to 4 minutes, raise speed to medium-low.
  4. Keep mixing for another 5 to 7 minutes, until dough is elastic, shiny, and dense. Remove from bowl and allow to rest 1 minute.
  5. Divide the dough into 8 sections. Each section should measure 3 to 4 ounces (use a food scale for precision), depending on how large you want your bagels.
  6. Roll each section into a ball and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silicone baking mat. Cover for 10 to 15 minutes.
  7. Shape your bagels: Roll each piece of dough into a 6- to 8-inch rope, tapering ends just slightly.
  8. One at a time, take the ends of the rope and overlap them just slightly, pinch and then roll with the palm of your hands. If your shape isn’t quite uniform, roll the other side of the bagel by placing your palm inside the middle and roll gently until desired shape.
  9. Place rolled bagels back on the baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and cover with plastic wrap. Place in the fridge 12 to 18 hours.
  10. When ready to boil and bake, place a pizza stone on the top rack of your oven. Preheat the oven to 500°F. Allow pizza stone to sit in heated oven for 30 minutes.
  11. Bring a wide pot of water to a low boil over medium-high heat. Add 2 tsp malt barley and a pinch of salt to the pot.
  12. Do not start boiling your bagels until your oven has completely preheated, because once the bagels boil for 1 to 2 minutes, you want to get the bagels into the oven immediately. Also do not take the bagels out of the fridge too soon, or they may spread and lose their shape.
  13. Once the water is boiling, reduce heat just slightly so it’s a robust simmer. Add the puffed side of the bagel into the water first (flatter side should be up). After 30 to 60 seconds, flip the bagel using a spider and let sit another 30 to 60 seconds.
  14. Using your spider once again, remove bagel from water, allow excess water to drip back into the pot, and place the bagel flatter side down into the oven directly onto the heated pizza stone. If you are going to add toppings, add them quickly as you put the bagel into the oven.
  15. After 10 minutes, flip the bagels onto the other side.
  16. Bake another 3 to 5 minutes, depending on how crispy you want the outside of your bagel. Allow to cool and serve immediately.