These Homemade Everything Bagels are perfect for a tasty snack or a delicious bagel sandwich!
There’s something about the smell of freshly baked bagels (and all bread in general) that just puts me in a good mood. On days when I make homemade bread, my wife always says she can smell it when she first pulls into the driveway. And my two dogs go absolutely nuts whenever I bake fresh bagels and bread, too. I don’t know if it’s the smell of the yeast or what…but they don’t leave my side the entire time the bagels are baking! (Since dogs can’t eat onions, I leave one bagel plain for them to snack on, too.) I find that these Homemade Everything Bagels are a delicious treat with your morning coffee, but they also work great for bagel sandwiches, too!
This recipe calls for the bagels to be simmered in a water bath with malt syrup. Malt syrup is made from malted barley, and (in my opinion) it’s the secret ingredient to a delicious bagel! You can usually find malt syrup in any health foods store or you can also order it online. (One jar will last a long time!) The malt syrup not only adds color and sweetness to the bagels, but it also helps make the bagels glossy once they’re baked. Don’t let all of this talk about malt syrup discourage you from making these delicious bagels, though! You can certainly substitute honey instead of malt syrup, and the result will still be a delicious bagel. In fact, my wife and I took a quick weekend trip up to Montreal last Fall, and Montreal bagel shops are known for using honey rather than malt syrup in their water bath. (One of the most famous Montreal bagel shops also baked their bagels in a wood-fired oven…and those bagels were among the best I’ve ever eaten!)
There’s also another little catch to making homemade bagels…the dough really should rest in the refrigerator overnight. I know, I know. First, I got going on that malt syrup tangent, and now I’m telling you that making homemade bagels is a two-day process. But it really doesn’t require additional work. The shaped bagels are just placed on a sheet pan, covered, and transferred to a refrigerator overnight. Why? Well, the long, slow fermentation process yields better (much better!) flavor to the finished bagels. I’ve seen plenty of recipes that don’t call for overnight refrigeration…and they taste great. But true bagels really need this extra time to develop flavor. This additional time could be seen as an advantage since you could make the bagel dough the day before, and then just boil them and bake them before serving. I promise I’m done springing surprises on you here! Just trust me with the malt syrup as well as the overnight method…you won’t be disappointed. (In a pinch, you could let the dough rest in the refrigerator for a minimum of 6 hours and then proceed with the baking process.)
I know this recipe looks long and really involved, but I wanted to make the instructions as detailed as possible. Once you’ve made these Everything Bagels once or twice, you’ll become better at it and probably pick up a couple tips of your own. (Make sure to come back and let me know any tips that you learn!)
Homemade Everything Bagels
For the Dough
- 4½ cups bread flour
- 1¼ tsp instant dry yeast
- 2 tsp salt
- 1½ cups water room temperature
- 1 Tbsp malt syrup see note
For the Water Bath
- 2 quarts water
- 1 Tbsp malt syrup see note
- 1 Tbsp baking soda
- ½ Tbsp salt
For the Everything Topping
- 2 Tbsp dried onion flakes
- 2 Tbsp dried garlic flakes
- 2 Tbsp poppy seeds
- 2 Tbsp sesame seeds
- 1 Tbsp kosher salt
- In the bowl of a countertop mixer fitted with the dough hook, stir together the bread flour, yeast, and salt. Dissolve the malt syrup into the water and add to the bowl; mix on low speed for 4 minutes. Allow dough to rest for 5 minutes, and then continue mixing on medium speed for 4 more minutes. (Note: The finished dough will be quite stiff.)
- Place the dough into a large, oiled bowl and cover bowl with plastic wrap. Allow dough to rest at room temperature for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
- Turn dough out onto countertop and divide into 9 equal pieces (about 4 ounces each). Roll each piece of dough into a smooth ball. Cover dough with plastic wrap and let rest for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, line two baking sheets with parchment paper and lightly sprinkle cornmeal across the paper.
- Working with one piece of dough at a time, shape the ball into a rope about 8-9” in length and slightly tapered at the ends. (If the rope tries to shrink back, just let dough rest a bit longer.) Slightly dampen both ends of the dough, and then wrap the dough around your hand so that the last 1” of the rope overlaps the first portion. (See picture in post). Gently press the overlapping portion of the dough together and then roll the seam back and forth on the counter several times until sealed. Transfer the dough from your hand onto the parchment-lined sheet pan. (Note: After shaping, the bagels should be about 4” across with a 2” hole in the center.)
- Cover each pan with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator overnight (or at least 8 hours).
- The next day, remove pans from refrigerator and let sit (covered) at room temperature for 10-15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare the Water Bath by bringing the water to a boil. Lower heat so that the water is at a constant simmer; stir in the malt syrup, baking soda, and salt. Preheat oven to 475°F. (Note: If the water is too hot, then the mixture will bubble up and could boil over. Watch the pot carefully and reduce temperature as necessary.)
- Combine all of the ingredients for the Everything Topping in a small bowl; set aside.
- Slide the parchment paper (with the bagels) off the pans and onto the countertop. Line the pans with new parchment paper and lightly spray or brush the paper with oil. (Note: It is very important to brush the paper with oil. Without the oil, the bagels will become hopelessly stuck to the paper once baked!)
- Using a large slotted spoon, gently add 3 bagels to the simmering water. Gently tap each bagel to make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot. (Note: the bagels will initially sink, but then float to the top after about 20 seconds.) After 1 minute, flip each bagel over and cook for 1 more minute. Using a slotted spoon, gently transfer the bagels from the water onto the oiled parchment paper. While they’re still wet, sprinkle the tops of bagels with a generous amount of Everything Topping. Repeat with remaining bagels.
- Bake bagels at 475°F for 8 minutes. Remove bagels from oven and carefully flip each one over. Continue baking for another 4-6 minutes, or until golden brown in color. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes.