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best-of bagels


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Servings: 8

Cost: $3.99 /serving


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Step 1

1 Combine the flour, salt and barley malt syrup in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough-hook attachment

Step 2

2 Add the yeast and water and beat on the lowest speed until the dough starts to come together around the dough hook, about 4 minutes

Step 3

3 Increase the speed to medium-low; beat for 7 to 10 minutes or until the dough is cohesive, smooth and stiff

Step 4

4 Dust a rimmed baking sheet with the cornmeal

Step 5

5 Turn the dough out onto a work surface, then divide it into 8 or 9 equal portions (about 4 ounces each)

Step 6

6 Roll the pieces into smooth balls and cover with plastic wrap to rest at room temperature for 5 minutes

Step 7

7 Form each dough ball into a rope 11 inches long by rolling it under your palms

Step 8

8 Try to avoid tapering the ends of the rope

Step 9

9 Shape each rope into a circle with a diameter of about 4 inches, overlapping the ends by about 1 1/2 inches

Step 10

10 Pinch the overlapped areas firmly together, moistening them lightly with water if the ends won't stick

Step 11

11 Working with one at a time, place your fingers through each ring of dough; with the pinched-together seam facing down, roll the rope several times, applying firm pressure to seal the seam to form a bagel

Step 12

12 Each ring should be about the same thickness all around; if it's not, you can roll it in other places around the ring to even it out

Step 13

13 Place the dough rings on the cornmeal-covered baking sheet as you work, spaced an inch or two apart

Step 14

14 Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight (12 to 18 hours)

Step 15

15 The rings will have puffed and spread slightly

Step 16

16 When you're ready to boil and bake the bagels, place a pizza stone or baking stone, if using, on the middle oven rack

Step 17

17 Preheat the oven to 450 degrees

Step 18

18 (The longer you can preheat, the better; up to an hour is great

Step 19

19 )

Step 20

20 Fill a large, wide pot with 3 inches of water; bring it to a boil over high heat

Step 21

21 Drop 3 or 4 dough rings into the boiling water, stirring and briefly submerging them with a metal skimmer or slotted spoon, until very slightly puffed, 30 to 35 seconds

Step 22

22 Transfer the dough rings to a wire rack, bottom (flatter) sides down, to drain

Step 23

23 Repeat with the remaining rings

Step 24

24 If you are using any of the optional toppings, dip the bagels in them while the dough is still wet (see VARIATIONS, below)

Step 25

25 If you're baking with the stone, transfer the rings, cornmeal side down, to a sheet of parchment paper on top of a pizza peel or overturned baking sheet

Step 26

26 You'll then just slide the parchment with the bagels directly onto the stone

Step 27

27 (Depending on the size of the stone or your comfort in sliding off 8 or 9 bagels at a time, you might choose to bake in two batches, which will also help space the bagels out, for better browning on the crust

Step 28

28 ) If you're not using a stone, transfer the bagels to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper

Step 29

29 Bake (middle rack) for 12 to 18 minutes or until the bagels are a deep golden brown and crisp, rotating the parchment paper or baking sheet halfway through; the baking time will depend on whether you're using a stone and perhaps the heat distribution of your oven

Step 30

30 Use tongs to transfer the bagels to a wire rack to cool

Step 31

31 If you've split the bagels into two batches, slide the second one in and bake

Step 32

32 Wait for a few minutes before splitting open the hot bagels

Step 33

33 VARIATIONS: For topped bagels, dunk the boiled and drained dough rings (both sides) into 1/2 cup of your favorite toppings (sesame, poppy or caraway seed; dehydrated onion or garlic flakes; sea or kosher salt, etc

Step 34

34 )

Step 35

35 For an "everything" bagel, combine 2 tablespoons each sesame and poppy seed and 1 tablespoon each caraway seed, sea or kosher salt, dehydrated onion flakes and dehydrated garlic flakes

Step 36

36 A glass pie dish is perfect for this task