Learn how to make the greatest New York Style Bagels at home with this easy to follow recipe.
When you can't get to NYC and you want a bagel, don't pay $6.50 to have just one delivered from the city! Instead, make a batch of the BEST homemade bagels up.
Choose your own choice of topping, the classic everything seasoning, just onion flakes, sesame seeds or even plain. These New York Style Bagels are perfect for lunch or breakfast!
What is a NY style bagel?
New York style bagels are chewy yet soft, and have a glossy exterior whilst the inside has the characteristic dense yet tender crumb. A NY bagel is often topped with Everything Seasoning and makes the perfect bread product for a smoked salmon sandwich.
Are New York Bagels better?
If you have ever eaten a bagel in New York City then you will know it is one of the best in the world!
I have eaten a LOT of bagels, some have been so wildly disappointing that I have wanted to cry and some have been so amazing that I have eaten two in one sitting (can you say piggy!)
What makes a NY bagel so good?
It is suggested that what makes a NY style bagel so good is the softness of the water. It kind of makes sense, as the minerals in harder water, will affect the gluten in the dough, strengthening it and this would, in theory, result in a tougher bagel.
Or it could just be that New Yorkers have been making bagels for longer? Who knows, but aside from a bagel shop in Brick Lane (UK) the bagels I have eaten in New York have been the BEST ever.
Can you make New York Bagels at home?
YES!!! I have spent a long time trying to recreate the chew and dense but soft inside of the perfect bagel. There are so many recipes out there and so many methods, but I have combined everything I have read and created my own New York Style bagels. These are so easy to make at home, and all made with your basic grocery store ingredients.
Making New York Style Bagels
To make your bagels you will need:
- Warm water
- Instant yeast
- Bread flour
Why use bread flour?
Bread flour (sometimes called high protein flour) has a high gluten content than all-purpose or plain flour. You will find that bread flour gives you a better quality of crumb. You can find bread flour now in most grocery stores, however, if you are having problems sourcing it, or you need to make bagels right now (I understand!) you can use all-purpose/plain flour and still get great results.
How to work with instant yeast
Don't be put off by the inclusion of yeast, I promise with this easy recipe you will never be scared by yeast again.
To make bagels with instant yeast you first need to bloom the yeast. This just means to bring the dried yeast back to life.
To do this add some warm water to a bowl, tip in the yeast and the sugar then leave it to sit for 10 minutes. No stirring, just allowing it to dissolve and start to bloom. After 10 minutes you will find you have a wonderful foamy mixture.
How to mix the bagel dough?
This is quite a stiff dough, which is what you want to create the correct texture for the bagel. The easiest way to do this is to use a stand mixer, you can knead it by hand but it is a definite workout!
I have found the key to getting the dough stiff is to reserve a small amount of flour and then add that once the dough has come together. The stand mixer makes a great job of this.
A word of note. If you have a Kitchen Aid, set the speed to 1.
Kitchen Aid recommends kneading bread dough on nothing more than speed 2 and as this is a very stiff dough, I don't want to overwork my motor so I keep it at speed 1. The dough still comes together beautifully.
How to form the O shape of a bagel
There are two methods for shaping the dough into the instantly recognizable bagel shape.
Roll a piece of dough into a sausage shape and then join the ends to create a ring, use the palm of your hand to smooth and roll the join.
Roll the dough into a ball and then use your fingers to poke a hole through the middle. Once you have a hole, slowly stretch and pull the bagel until the hole is about 2 inches big (It will shrink during cooking).
Personally, I prefer the second method as I find the first to be unreliable. I get oddly shaped bagels and some times they break apart so I end up with a 'C' shaped bagel!
How to get the perfect texture to your bagel
As mentioned above the perfect New York Style Bagel should have a glossy exterior and a dense, chewy yet soft inside.
To do this we boil the bagel before it goes in the oven. This kills the yeast, forms a crust on the bagel and stops it from rising any more whilst in the oven. Many recipes suggest just 30 seconds of boiling. I like really chewy bagels so I boil mine for 3 minutes a side. If you want a softer bagel you can boil them for just 90 seconds.
To get the nice glossy look to the bagel sugar is added to the boiling water. Not too much otherwise the bagels start to take on the sweetness.
To make the water a little softer you also add a small amount of baking soda to the water (Do not get baking soda confused with baking powder they are different!) Adding too much will give the bagel a pretzel-like taste, but just a small amount will help to soften the water and stop your bagel being tough.
What to cover your bagels with:
Here I used Everything Seasoning but you can use any combination you like. Some suggestions could be:
- Everything Seasoning
- Sesame Seeds
- Dried Onion Flakes
- Poppy Seeds
- Garlic Chips
- Grated Cheese
- Flaked Salt
What to put on/in a bagel
Bagels are perfect cut open and toasted with butter. Or spread with cream cheese. (I like to add extra everything seasoning to my cream cheese.)
But if you want to load them up with some delicious fillings then you could try:
- Smoked Salmon, cream cheese and capers
- Salt Beef/Pastrami and Pickles
- Smashed Avocado
- Tuna Salad
- Egg Salad
- Turkey and Swiss
- Cream cheese and cucumber
- Strawberry yogurt
- Marshmallow fluff
Maybe just use plain bagels with the last three…and definitely avoid the garlic ones 😉
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The Perfect NY Style Bagel Recipe
To bloom the yeast
- ½ cup warm water
- 2 tsp instant yeast
- 4 tsp sugar
For the Dough
- 3 ¾ cups bread flour - see note 1
- 1 ½ tsp salt
- ¾ cup warm water
- 1 ½ tbsp warm water
- 4 tbsp flour
- 1 tsp oil
For the boiling liquid
- 1 tbsp sugar
- ½ tsp baking soda - see note 2
To bloom the yeast
- Pour the warm water into the bowl of your stand mixer, add the yeast and sugar. Do NOT stir it, just leave it for 10 minutes.
½ cup warm water
2 tsp instant yeast
4 tsp sugar
To make the dough
- Add the flour into the bowl on top of the yeast mixture and then sprinkle over the salt.
3 ¾ cups bread flour
1 ½ tsp salt
- Pour in the warm water, and mix with your dough hook on speed 1. (see note 3)
¾ cups warm water
- Once a rough dough has formed add the remaining tablespoon and a half of water and let the dough form a sticky wet mass.
1 ½ tbsp warm water
- Once this has happened, add the additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time.
4 tbsp bread flour
- The mixture will look very dry. Don't panic!
- Leave the stand mixer kneading for 15 minutes, by which time you will have stiff but elastic dough.
- I find that I need to stop the mixer periodically to push the dough back down to the bottom of the machine.
- Lightly coat a large mixing bowl with the oil.
1 tsp oil
- Empty your dough into the oiled bowl and turn gently to coat it in the oil.
- Cover the bowl with cling film and set aside somewhere warm to rise.
- Leave the dough to rise for an hour and a half. It should swell to about twice it's size.
To cook the bagels
- Pre-heat the oven to 200ºC/390ºF (220ºC/430ºF for non-fan forced ovens)
- Place the dough on a chopping board and work it into a rough ball.
- Cut the dough in half, cut each half in half and then cut each piece in half again so you have 8 roughly equal sized pieces of pieces.
- Roll each piece of dough about so you have 8 ball shapes.
- Carefully push your finger through the middle of a ball and stretch the hole until it is 2 inch wide.
- Place the bagel onto a piece of cooking paper and continue with all the balls.
- Leave the bagels to rest for 10 minutes whilst you bring a large pan of water to a boil. Add sugar and baking soda to the water.
1 tbsp of sugar
½ tsp baking soda
- Place 2 bagels into the boiling water and set your timer for 3 minutes. After the 3 minutes flip them over and boil on the other side for 3 minutes.
- If you want to add a topping now is the time. Spread a thin layer of your chosen topping over a small plate. As you remove the bagel from the water, dip it into the topping and then place on a baking sheet (or two) lined with parchment paper.
- Place the bagels into the middle of the oven and bake for 20 minutes until they are golden brown.
- If your using two trays switch them over half way through cooking.
- Remove from the oven and allow them to cool on a wire rack.
- These are best eaten the day they are made, but will keep in an airtight containing for 24 hours.
- Ideally you want a flour with a high gluten content. These are often labeled as bread flour or high protein flour. They will give you an even better quality of crumb, however all-purpose or plain flour will still give you great results
- If you have a kitchen aid, set the speed to 1 only. Kitchen aid recommend kneading bread dough on nothing more than speed 2 but as this is a very stiff dough, I don't want to overwork my motor so I keep it at speed 1.