This recipe is an adaptation of a recipe provided to me when I attended a bagel baking class at King Arthur Flour’s Baking School in Vermont. I’ve found this to be a very reliable recipe that has produced very consistent bagels for me over the years!
Active Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 15 min to 10+ hours
- 4½ cups of high gluten flour | 533g
- 2 teaspoons salt | 13g
- 1 tablespoon non-diastatic malt powder | 9g (see note below)
- ¾ teaspoons instant yeast | 3g
- 1⅓ cup cold water | 10 fluid ounces | 309g
- 2 quarts water | 2L
- 2 tablespoons non-diastatic malt powder | 18g
- 1 tablespoon sugar | 12g
- Flour: This recipe is based on King Arthur’s High Gluten flour. It contains 14.2% protein. Generally, you can augment AP or bread flour with vital wheat gluten. To augment AP flour, remove 1 tablespoon + ¾ teaspoon of flour from each cup, and add back 1 tablespoon + ¾ teaspoon of vital wheat gluten to each cup. To augment bread flour, remove 2¼ teaspoons of bread flour from each cup and add back 2¼ teaspoons of vital wheat gluten to each cup.
- Kneading methods: I have found that food processors are much faster and reliable for bagel dough. Bagel dough is a dryer and stiffer dough than most breads. If you have a robust stand mixer like the “bowl lift” Kitchen Aid mixers with the corkscrew-style dough hooks or an Ankarsrum mixer, it’ll likely work fine. Tilt-head Kitchen Aid mixers have a tough time with bagel dough.
- Water Temperature: The water should be cold to start unless you are manually kneading the dough by hand. Cold from the tap is fine. It doesn’t need to be ice cold. The kneading in a food processor or robust stand mixer will heat the dough from the friction, and you don’t want the overall temp to get high enough to kill your yeast! If you are kneading by hand, you can start with luke warm water to make it easier to knead. If you knead quickly, it’ll likely warm up over time as well.
- Non-Diastatic Malt Powder: I’ve started using Malt Barley Syrup for both the dough and the water bath. For me, I can easily pick up a jar of malt barley syrup at my local natural food store where I shop almost every week. I had been purchasing non-diastatic malt powder online. So, it’s easier to get for me. I’ve been told I can find it at brewer supply stores, but there isn’t one near me, so I haven’t bothered to look. It’s harder to handle as the syrup is like honey, so very sticky, but mush easier for me to source. I substitute the syrup one for one in volume, so a tablespoon for this recipe or about 22g.
- Fit your stand mixer or food processor with the dough hook/blade. Measure all the dry ingredients into the bowl of your stand mixer or food processor.
- Mix and Knead (3 options):
- Food Processor (recommended): Using the plastic dough blade or the standard metal blade and with the motor running, slowly pour the water into the work bowl. Pour the liquid slowly enough so that it doesn’t splatter — not really going to affect your bagels too much, but it is easier to clean! And, you more readily get all the liquid into the dough rather than splattered on food processor lid and sides of the bowl. The dough should begin to form and clump together. Turn off the machine and scrape it down if it looks like it needs it. Kneading in a food processor is fast — 2-3 minutes maximum. Your dough will get very warm. You should check it after a minute, and then again every 30 seconds or so to make sure it isn’t getting too hot (>110°F).
- Stand Mixer: Set the mixer to low for a few seconds to distribute the yeast throughout the flour. Add the water slowly with the motor on the lowest setting until it begins to form a shaggy ball. Scrape down the bowl as needed. Then set the mixer to a medium-low speed to knead the bread. Knead for about 8-12 minutes, checking every few minutes to make sure the dough isn’t just stuck to the hook and just spinning as well as to ensure the dough hasn’t gotten too hot (>110F).
- Manual: mix in a large bowl with a rubber spatula, dough whisk, or wooden spoon until you get a shaggy dough ball. Turn out the dough onto a table top, and knead dough. This will take a lot of kneading as compared to a regular loaf of bread…potentially up to 20-30 minutes…be prepared for a workout…you shouldn’t need to add any additional flour. This is a relatively low hydration dough, so once you’ve got it mixed together, it shouldn’t really be too sticky. Alternatively, check out my Nearly No-Knead Bagel recipe.
- The dough should be a smooth elastic dough. It should pass the “window pane test”. Place into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap or an inverted bowl. Let it rest for 30 minutes. It will expand some, but it may not double.
- Portion the dough. This recipe is designed for 8 x 110g bagels. If you have a scale, weigh the dough, and calculate your portion size. Form each portion into a tight ball by gathering the dough to a point with your fingertips. Set seam-side down, and cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes.
- Prepare a sheet pan or workspace by sprinkling a generous amount of coarse corn meal to make a thin coating. Shape each ball into a bagel, and place on the prepared corn meal. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest.
- At this stage, you should let the bagels rise for at about 30 minutes at room temperature, then cover and refrigerate overnight for 8-12 hours. When you are ready to bake, take them our and allow to warm up on the counter for as long as it takes you to preheat your oven — at least 20-30 minutes (425°F) and get the water bath to a gentle boil. Prepare a sheet pan by covering with parchment paper. If you only have one sheet pan, and it’s got your shaped bagels resting on it, set out an appropriately sized piece of parchment on the counter. You can slide the bagels and the parchment onto the sheet pan later.
- Gently transfer the bagels to the water bath in batches of 3 or 4. Place them into the water top side down. Flip them after about 15-25 seconds and let them go for another 15-25 seconds, then gently transfer them to a metal cooling rack to allow excess water to drip off of the bagels.
- If you plan to coat your bagels with seeds or some other mix, do so now while the bagels are wet. To do so, fill a shallow bowl or plate with the toppings. Gently place the bagel into the mix top side down. If you want toppings on both sides, flip the bagel. Then transfer to your prepared parchment covered sheet pan. If you want poppy seed bagels, it is better to sprinkle the poppy seeds onto the bagel with your fingers rather than placing the bagel into a plateful of seeds unless you want a bagel that is completely covered in seeds.
- Repeat this with all your bagels (boil, top as desired, transfer to the parchment covered baking sheet).
- Bake for 22-25 minutes. If you know your oven browns unevenly, you should rotate the sheet pan 180° halfway through. The bagels are done when they have browned evenly to your desired doneness.
- Transfer the baked bagels to the metal cooling rack and allow to cool before eating them. A bagel fresh out of the oven is yummy, but the interior may be a little gummy. All breads are also much harder to slice when they are still hot. Give them at least 10-15 minutes to cool. They will still be warm, but much easier to slice, and the crumb will be better set.
edit: added more instructions and notes, added Malt Barley Syrup option, and custom calculator – 09/27/2022