A Cook's Plot

Baking & Bread

Homemade Bagels

I love bagels, but until I started my quest this year to bake bread every week (which has been relatively successful - only a couple of baking sessions missed so far), it hadn’t ever occurred to me to make my own. Recently I had some shop-bought bagels that were a bit stale and tasted quite sour, though, and that spurred me on to try cooking them myself at home. Turns out it’s really quite easy, just a bit unusual in that you first boil the dough and then bake it - that’s what gives the bagels their traditionally chewy texture.

Like most things, they taste completely different (and much better) than shop-bought - in fact, I’ve even managed to convert a friend who usually won’t go near them with these!


Serves 12

  • 15g dried yeast
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 125ml lukewarm semi-skimmed milk
  • 250ml lukewarm water
  • 450g plain flour
  • 2.5 tsp salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • sesame seeds


Whisk the yeast, sugar, water and milk together, then slowly stir in the salt and flour until the mixture comes together as a fairly firm dough. Then either knead the dough by hand for 10 mins on a floured surface - or (my personal preference) put it in the food processor with the dough hook attachment for 5 mins. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave in a warm place to rise for 1 hour until it's doubled in size.

Dust the worktop with flour, turn out the dough and knead until smooth. Cut into 12 equal portions with a sharp knife, then roll each into a ball. Make a hole in the middle with your finger and widen the hole by twisting it round. Put the bagels on two baking trays lined with baking parchment and leave to rise again for 15 minutes.

Next, bring a large pan of water to the boil and drop in the bagels one at a time, in three batches (so in other words, do four at a time). Leave for one minute then flip them over with a slotted spoon and cook for another minute. Lift out onto the baking trays, brush with the beaten egg, sprinkle with sea salt and sesame seeds and bake in a preheated oven (180C fan oven) for 20 minutes until nicely browned. Cool on a wire rack.

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