Making Bagels with your Bread Machine

There’s a curious set of steps to making bagels, but your bread machine can make the hardest step easy.

23 - sesame onion bagels

 

If you’ve never made bagels before you may be surprised to learn that one of the steps before baking is boiling. That’s right. Boiling. After the bagels are shaped and have risen they’re dropped into boiling water for a minute or two before going into the oven. This boiling step is what gives bagels their glazed sheen and chewiness. But as curious as it sounds the boiling step is actually pretty easy. The hard part is kneading the dough because some bagel recipes result in a dough that tends to be a bit heavier than regular bread dough. That’s where our bread machines help make the process easier. By the way, we’ll be using the bread machine dough-cycle for our bagel recipes and finish baking them in the oven.

The bagel is believed to have originated in Poland in the 16th century. The hole in the center helps with the baking process, and a string or a wooden dowel was sometimes inserted into a bunch of bagels to make them easier to transport and display in bakery windows. The traditional bagel is plain and both sesame seeds and poppyseeds are customary toppings. However, there are many more things you can do to flavor a bagel from topping them with coarse sea salt to a sprinkle of onions or garlic.

Fruit and nuts are also popular bagel variations and they are often incorporated both into the dough and as a topping. The fruit or nuts can be most any variety and can be in any combination if the proportions are right and don’t compromise the basic integrity of the dough.

There are two critical components to any bagel recipe. One is the use of a high-gluten flour like bread flour. The other is the addition of a sweetener like sugar, honey or malt syrup. These ingredients are sometimes added to the boiling water as well but that’s more of a grace-note rather than a necessary step. The addition of a sweet ingredient to the water makes the bagels a bit more chewy. Leavening is accomplished with yeast but some newer recipes call for sourdough. The rising times vary from 20 to 30 minutes up to 12 hours.

We’re going to explore three bagel varieties: plain, blueberry and sesame-onion. Once you understand the basics of these three approaches you can improvise with other types of toppings or fruits. The rising times for all of these recipes are in minutes so don’t worry about a 12 hour rise.

 

Basic Plain Bagel Recipe:

(Makes 8 bagels)

1 - Bagel dough from the bread machine 2 - Bagel dough stretched out

3 - bagel dough cut into 8 equal pieces 8

This is the traditional bagel recipe and the addition of malt syrup to the water will give you a texture that is often described as the New York style bagel.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup of water (80°F./27°C.)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • (1/4 cup malt syrup for the boiling water bath) optional

For glaze whisk together:

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon water

9 10

11 12

DIRECTIONS:

Add the ingredients to the bread pan in the order indicated and select the dough cycle. When the dough cycle is complete transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a sausage shape and then form into a ring. Press the joined ends together and roll lightly with your fingers through the ring to remove the seam a bit. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough until you have 8 circular pieces of dough.

Let the bagels rise for 15 to 30 minutes. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly oil it. Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil and preheat the oven to 475°F./245°C. If you want you can a 1/4 cup of malt syrup to the boiling water. This will give the bagels a more chewy texture. You can also omit the syrup. Boil the bagels, three at a time until they rise to they surface of the water pot. Turn them with a slotted spoon. You should boil them for about 1 minute a side. Remove them carefully to the baking sheet and glaze them with the egg yolk and water mixture. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until browned.

13 14

17 18

 

Blueberry Bagel Recipe:

(Makes 8 bagels)

This recipe adds 1 cup of blueberries and a bit more flower. You could substitute 1 cup of any kind of berry or chop fruit but keep an eye on the dough texture depending on the juiciness of the fruit.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup of water (80°F./27°C.)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 3 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • (1/4 cup honey for the boiling water bath) optional

For topping (optional):

  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon (if you don’t like cinnamon just use the sugar)
  • 1/2 cup of sugar

DIRECTIONS:

Add the ingredients to the bread pan in the order indicated and select the dough cycle. Keep an eye on the dough as it’s kneading because the blueberries will add some liquid. If the dough looks too wet or resembles a batter add a tablespoon of flour at a time to thicken the dough. If the dough is too dry, add a tablespoon of water at a time until it has the proper dough consistency. When the dough cycle is complete transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a sausage shape and then form into a ring. Press the joined ends together and roll lightly to remove the seam a bit. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough until you have 8 circles.

Mix the cinnamon and sugar in a bowl until blended and sprinkle evenly on a plate. You’ll touch the tops of the bagels to the cinnamon sugar after boiling.

Let the bagel rest for 15 to 30 minutes. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly oil it. Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil and preheat the oven to 450°F./230°C. If you want you can a 1/4 cup of honey to the boiling water. This will give the bagels a more chewy texture. You can also omit the honey. Boil the bagels, three at a time until they rise to the surface of the water pot. Turn them with a slotted spoon. You should boil them for about 1 minute a side. Remove them carefully and flop them one at a time onto the cinnamon sugar mix. Do this with each one and transfer to the baking sheet once they are dusted. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until browned. Please note that the temperature is a bit lower than the previous recipe. This should prevent the cinnamon sugar from burning.

 

Sesame-Onion Bagel Recipe:

(Makes 8 bagels)

21 - sesame seeds and dehydrated onions 22 - Raw bagel topped with sesame seeds and dehydrated onions

Dehydrated onions are the onion of choice for this recipe. Some recipes add some of the dehydrated onions to the dough but we’re just going to use them as a variation on a topping.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup of water (80°F./27°C.)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey or malt syrup
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast

For glaze whisk together:

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon water

Topping:

  • 1/2 cup of dehydrated, chopped onions
  • 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds

DIRECTIONS:

Add the ingredients to the bread pan in the order indicated and select the dough cycle. When the dough cycle is complete transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a sausage shape and then form into a ring. Press the joined ends together and roll lightly to remove the seam a bit. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough until you have 8 circles.

Let the bagel rest for 15 to 30 minutes. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly oil it. Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil and preheat the oven to 400°F./205°C. Boil the bagels, three at a time until they rise to the surface of the water pot. Turn them with a slotted spoon. You should boil them for about 1 minute a side. Remove them carefully to the baking sheet and glaze them with the egg yolk and water mixture. Sprinkle the sesame seeds and dehydrated onions over the top. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until browned. You’re baking at a lower temperature than the previous two recipes so you don’t burn the onions. Keep an eye on the bagels while they’re baking and cover with foil if the onions are starting to blacken or burn.

24 - sesame onion bagels 2 25 - sesame onion bagels 3

 

Conclusion

If you take the time to try these three recipes you will have mastered the basics in terms of traditional bagel making, and the various toppings and fruit additions. One thing to always keep in mind is to either add water or flour a tablespoon at a time if the liquid from any fruit has made the dough too wet, or it appears to be too dry. You might also want to make the effort to buy some malt syrup and try adding it to the boiling water bath. It’s available at most grocery stores and will give you the traditional flavoring and texture of New York style bagels.

Steve Nubie

Steve Nubie has been writing professionally for 38 years. He is a Chef and has traveled across Asia and Europe studying language, culture and cuisine. He instructs culinary classes in the Culinary School at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Illinois and has written extensively on cuisine, cooking, diet and nutrition. He is a published author of 10 books including a cookbook and continues to write on subjects related to culinary trends.

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2 Comments
  1. Reply
    Steve January 29, 2019 at 6:21 pm

    Can you suggest an alternative name for bread flour please as it doesn’t seem to be available here in Poland. Many Thanks. Love the recipes.

    • Reply
      Admin February 5, 2019 at 11:37 am

      Hi Steve,

      That’s a tough one. The difference between bread flour and all-purpose flour is that bread flour has more gluten. You can use all-purpose flour in most recipes that call for bread flour and still get a good result. If you can’t find a product with the name “Bread flour” on the package you could look for a flour that says it has added or high gluten, or ask if there is a flour available with more gluten than all-purpose or regular flour.

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