How to Make the Perfect Classic New York-Style Bagels


Hey there! Today, I’m going to share with you my tried and tested recipe for homemade classic New York-style bagels. If you’re a fan of chewy, delicious bagels with a shiny crust, then this recipe is for you. The best part? You can make these bagels in just 2 hours without the need for a lengthy fermentation process. So, let’s get baking!

Key Takeaways

  • Creating chewy bagels at home is possible with this same-day recipe for classic New York-style bagels.
  • No need for a lengthy fermentation process – these bagels are ready in just 2 hours.
  • The recipe uses basic pantry ingredients, staying true to the traditional New York-style.
  • Shaping and boiling the dough before baking gives these bagels their signature texture and shine.
  • Customize your bagels with various toppings to suit your taste preferences.

What You’ll Need for the Bagel Dough

For the perfect classic New York-style bagel dough, you’ll need a few simple ingredients that you likely already have in your pantry. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Granulated Sugar – A small amount of sugar adds a touch of sweetness to the dough and helps activate the yeast.
  • Active Dry Yeast – This is what makes the dough rise and gives the bagels their fluffy texture.
  • Bread Flour – Known for its high protein content, bread flour is essential for achieving the chewy texture that New York-style bagels are famous for. If you don’t have bread flour, all-purpose flour can be used as a substitute.
  • Fine-Grain Sea Salt – Salt adds flavor to the bagels and helps strengthen the gluten in the dough.

These basic ingredients form the foundation of the bagel dough, creating the perfect canvas for incorporating your favorite toppings and flavors.

Don’t settle for store-bought bagels when you can easily make your own at home with just a few simple ingredients. The key to achieving that classic New York-style flavor and texture lies in the quality of your bagel dough. With granulated sugar, active dry yeast, bread flour, and fine-grain sea salt, you’ll be well on your way to baking the perfect batch of homemade bagels.

Now that you know what you’ll need for the bagel dough, let’s move on to the next section to learn the step-by-step process of making the dough from scratch.

Ingredients Quantity
Granulated Sugar 1 tablespoon
Active Dry Yeast 2 ¼ teaspoons
Bread Flour 4 cups
Fine-Grain Sea Salt 2 teaspoons

Steps to Make the Bagel Dough

Now that you have gathered all the necessary ingredients, it’s time to start making the homemade bagel dough. Follow these simple steps to create the perfect base for your classic New York-style bagels.

  1. Mix the dry ingredients: In a large mixing bowl, combine the bread flour, granulated sugar, and fine-grain sea salt. Mix well with a spoon or whisk until the ingredients are evenly distributed.
  2. Add the warm water: Slowly pour the warm water into the bowl, gradually incorporating it into the dry ingredients. Stir with a spoon until a rough dough forms.
  3. Knead the dough: Transfer the dough onto a floured surface and knead it for about 10 minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic. This step helps develop the gluten in the flour, resulting in a chewy texture.
  4. Adjust the consistency: Depending on the humidity in your kitchen, you may need to add a little more flour or water to achieve the right consistency. The dough should be slightly tacky but not too sticky.
  5. Rest the dough: Grease a bowl with a little oil and place the dough inside. Cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let it rest at room temperature for about an hour. During this time, the dough will rise and double in size.
  6. Optional overnight refrigeration: If you prefer a slower rise and deeper flavor, you can refrigerate the dough overnight. Simply cover the bowl tightly and place it in the refrigerator. The next day, allow the dough to come to room temperature before proceeding with the recipe.

Congratulations! You have successfully made the bagel dough. Now it’s time to move on to the next step in the bagel-making process.

Expert Tip: Resting the Dough

Resting the dough is an important step in the bagel-making process. It allows the gluten to relax and the yeast to work its magic, resulting in a lighter and more flavorful bagel. While an hour is the minimum resting time, you can let the dough sit for longer if desired. Just make sure to keep it covered to prevent it from drying out.

Shaping and Boiling the Bagels

Once the bagel dough has rested and doubled in size, it’s time to shape and boil the bagels. There are two traditional methods for shaping bagels, both of which result in the iconic round shape with a hole in the center. The first method involves rolling the dough into logs and then joining the ends together to form a circle. This method is simple and gives the bagels a more uniform shape.

Alternatively, you can shape the bagels by poking a hole in the center of each dough ball and gently stretching the ring. This method can be a bit trickier to master, but it creates a slightly irregular shape that some bagel enthusiasts prefer. Whichever method you choose, make sure the bagels are well-shaped and there are no cracks or openings in the dough.

After shaping the bagels, it’s time to boil them. Boiling is a crucial step in achieving the chewy texture and shiny crust that are characteristic of New York-style bagels. Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil. Gently lower the bagels into the boiling water, making sure not to overcrowd the pot. Boil the bagels for about 1-2 minutes on each side, then remove them with a slotted spoon and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Now comes the fun part – adding toppings to your bagels. While classic New York-style bagels are often enjoyed plain or with a schmear of cream cheese, you can get creative with your toppings. Popular options include everything bagel seasoning, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, or coarse salt. Simply sprinkle your chosen toppings onto the boiled bagels, pressing them gently to ensure they stick. These toppings will add flavor and texture to your bagels, making them even more delicious.

shaping bagels

Table: Bagel Shaping Methods

Shaping Method Description
Rolling Method Roll the dough into logs and join the ends together to form a circle.
Poking Method Poke a hole in the center of the dough ball and gently stretch the ring.

Baking and Serving the Bagels

Once the bagels have been shaped and boiled, it’s time to bake them to perfection. Preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Transfer the boiled bagels onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving some space between each one. This will allow them to bake evenly and develop a golden brown crust.

Place the baking sheet in the preheated oven and bake the bagels for about 20 minutes, or until they are golden brown and have a firm texture. You can also test for doneness by tapping the bottom of a bagel – it should sound hollow. Keep in mind that baking times may vary, so it’s a good idea to keep an eye on them to prevent over-browning.

Serving the Bagels

Once the bagels are baked, they are ready to be enjoyed. You can serve them warm or toasted, depending on your preference. To enhance their flavor, consider spreading a generous amount of cream cheese on each bagel. The creamy and tangy cream cheese complements the chewy texture and slightly sweet taste of the bagels.

Bagels make for a versatile breakfast or snack option and can be paired with a variety of accompaniments. Some popular choices include lox (smoked salmon), butter, jam, or even avocado. Experiment with different flavors and toppings to create a customized bagel experience that suits your taste buds.

Whether you’re having a leisurely breakfast at home or grabbing a quick bite on the go, bagels are always a satisfying choice. Their unique texture and flavor make them a beloved staple in many households. So, don’t be afraid to bake your own batch of classic New York-style bagels and savor the homemade goodness.

Tips for Storing and Freezing Bagels

So you’ve made a batch of delicious homemade bagels, and now you’re wondering how to store them to keep them fresh for as long as possible. Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered with some handy tips!

To maintain the freshness of your bagels, it’s best to store them in an airtight container. This will help to prevent them from drying out and becoming stale. Simply place the bagels in the container and seal it tightly. You can keep them at room temperature for up to 3 days before they start to lose their chewiness.

If you want to enjoy your bagels beyond the 3-day mark, freezing is the way to go. Freezing your bagels not only extends their shelf life but also allows you to have a stockpile of bagels ready for whenever you have a craving.

To freeze your bagels, first, let them cool completely. Then, individually wrap each bagel tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Place the wrapped bagels in a freezer bag, squeeze out any excess air, and seal it properly. Frozen bagels can be stored for up to 8 weeks in the freezer.

When you’re ready to enjoy a frozen bagel, simply remove it from the freezer and let it thaw at room temperature for about 2 hours. Alternatively, you can pop it in the toaster straight from the freezer for a quick and easy breakfast. That’s the beauty of having frozen bagels on hand!


Can I use all-purpose flour instead of bread flour for the bagel dough?

Yes, you can use all-purpose flour as a substitute for bread flour in this recipe. However, keep in mind that bread flour will give you a chewier texture.

How long can I store freshly baked bagels?

Freshly baked bagels can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Can I freeze bagels?

Yes, you can freeze bagels for up to 8 weeks. Make sure to wrap them tightly in plastic wrap or store them in a freezer bag.

How should I serve the bagels?

Bagels can be served warm or toasted. They are delicious with a schmear of cream cheese, lox, butter, or various spreads.

Can I customize the bagel toppings?

Yes, you can customize the bagel toppings to your liking. Some popular options include everything bagel seasoning, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, or coarse salt.

How long does the bagel dough need to rest?

The bagel dough needs to rest for about an hour to double in size. Alternatively, you can refrigerate the dough overnight for a slower rise.

How do I shape the bagels?

You can shape the bagels by either rolling the dough into logs and binding the ends together, or by poking a hole in the center of each dough ball and stretching the rings.

Do I need to boil the bagels?

Yes, boiling the bagels is necessary to achieve their signature chewy and shiny crust.

Can I add additional ingredients to the boiled bagels before baking?

Yes, you can top the boiled bagels with additional ingredients if desired before baking, such as sesame seeds or everything bagel seasoning.

Can I refrigerate the bagel dough overnight?

Yes, you can refrigerate the bagel dough overnight for a slower rise and to develop more flavor.

By Mat Stuckey

Ex professional chef with a passion for cooking and unique flavours.

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