Homemade bagels can require some effort, but offer substantial payback for picky eaters. I have hopped from recipe to recipe over the years, each better than the previous. My current favorite comes from Serious Eats. I have tweaked this version several times with slightly different results, but all varieties are excellent. This version modifies the Serious Eats version with 100 g 100% hydration sourdough starter, but you can easily replace this with a flour and water (50 g each). I also use honey in place of sugar and malt and high gluten flour in place of bread flour. Lastly, I changed some of the preparation steps to streamline the process.
Slightly sweet chewy bagels with a crisp crust
Credit: Serious Eats
- 170 g water
- 100 g high gluten flour
- 300 g high gluten flour
- 9 g salt
- 4 g instant dry yeast
- 50 g cold water
- 100 g sourdough starter (100% hydration)
For the water:
- 50 g honey
- 5 L water
- Mix the flour and water for the yukone in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 20 seconds. Stir then repeat for 10-20 second bursts until the mixture reaches the consistency of mashed potatoes. Set aside, covered with plastic wrap to cool.
- Add the flour, salt, and yeast into the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine.
- Add the cold water, honey, and starter to the yukone and stir to combine. When close to room temperature or cooler, add mixture to food processor. and pulse to combine.
- Add the cold water, honey, and starter to the yukone and stir to combine. When close to room temperature or cooler, add mixture to food processor.
- Turn on food processor and run for about 90 seconds.
- Take out dough and divide into 8 balls. Roll each on the countertop with a cupped and until smooth and free of creases. If needed, moisten hands slightly. Place smooth balls under plastic wrap for about 15 minutes.
- Poke a hole in the middle of each ball and gently stretch to a 3-4 inch bagel while rotating, ensuring an even thickness.
- Place shaped bagels on a parchment or silicone lined sheet pan. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24-36 hours. Alternatively, leave at room temperature for 30 minutes and then refrigerate overnight.
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 425° F and fill a large pot with 3-5 L of water. Set it to boil and add the honey when boiling.
- Gently lower 4 of the bagels top-side down in the boiling water. Flip after 30 seconds. Boil for an additional 30 seconds, then move to a rack. Add toppings if desired. Transfer back to parchment after spraying it with spray oil or dusting with cornmeal. Repeat with remaining 4 bagels.
- Bake for 10 minutes, rotate tray 180°, then bake another 10-15 minutes until deep golden brown.
- Transfer bagels to cooling rack and allow to cool at least 15 minutes before slicing.
Variations: use malt syrup or sugar in place of honey (reduce by 25% if using granulated sugar or powdered non-diastatic malt rather than syrup). Can also use 25 g lye or baking soda in place of or in addition to honey in water.