Bakery Fresh, From Your Kitchen

Think you can't make bagels at home? Think again.

Jewish Week Online Columnist
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There are some foods you might think just aren't worth making at home. Croissants, for one. Sushi, for another. Until recently I thought that bagels—the ultimate Jewish New York food—were on that list. But when I decided to experiment and make them at home, I was pretty surprised by how easy they were, and how incredibly delicious.

If you've never made bread or yeasted dough before, then maybe this isn't the recipe for you, but if you've dabbled around, then I would urge you to try these next . This recipe makes about 10-12 bagels, depending how big you want them; you can also make minis. Regardless, they will still be a bit smaller than bakery-style, which are, in my opinion, too big. Although some recipes call for an overnight rising period, after trying these I can't see how it's necessary. These are amazingly tasty and on your table in about two hours.

I listed sesame seeds and poppy seeds as topping options, but you can go crazy and add whatever you want: coarse salt, dried onion flakes, etc. After all, it's not like you've had your fill of post-Passover chametz yet! 

Amy Spiro is a journalist and writer based in Jerusalem. She is a graduate of the Jerusalem Culinary Institute's baking and pastry track, a regular writer for The Jerusalem Post and blogs at bakingandmistaking.com. She also holds a BA in Journalism and Politics from NYU.

Ingredients: 
1 1/2 cups water
2 teaspoons instant dry yeast*
4 cups bread flour
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 large egg white plus 1 tablespoon water
Optional: Sesame seeds, poppy seeds or other toppings
Recipe Steps: 
Mix together the water, honey, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Add the flour, then sprinkle the yeast on top. Mix together with a wooden spoon or the dough hook of a mixer until it comes together. Knead the dough by hand or machine until it becomes smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.
Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover loosely. Let rise at room temperature for 40-60 minutes, until it has noticeably increased in size, and springs back when poked gently.
Turn the dough out onto a clean surface. Cut the dough into about 10 pieces, each about 3 ounces in weight. Roll the pieces of dough out to about an 8-inch rope, then moisten the ends with water and create a circle by joining the ends and pressing them together. Let the formed bagels proof under a towel for about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, fill a large pot halfway with water, bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Place a wire cooling rack near the stove and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Gently lower 3-4 bagels into the pot. Simmer about 1 minute on each side, then remove to the cooling rack to dry for a couple minutes. Repeat with the remaining bagels. Transfer all bagels to the parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Beat the egg with the water and brush the bagels with the mixture, then sprinkle on any toppings you'd like to use.
Bake the bagels for about 15 minutes, then rotate the racks back to front and switch the shelves. Bake another 5-10 minutes, checking to see when they're golden brown. Let cool for about 30 minutes before eating. Freeze any that won't be eaten in 24 hours in an airtight bags.
*I prefer to always use instant dry yeast, which does not need to be proofed. If you use active dry, follow the ingredients for proofing, but keep the same amount of total liquid in the recipe.