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How to Make Chewy Bagels (From Bread Machine Dough)

Char is a creative writer, artist, and inventor—in and out of the kitchen.

Homemade bagel that is lightly browned outside from the egg wash.

Homemade bagel that is lightly browned outside from the egg wash.

How to Make Homemade Bagels

Recently, I tried to make soft pretzel dough in my bread machine and was successful. Today, I'm braving the decision to make bagels.

Like everything else, the bagels you make at home are a little better than the bagels you buy in the bag at the store. Perhaps, if you have ever had fresh-baked bagels at a specialty bread shop like Panera bread, you will be happy to find out that you can make something similar in your own home.

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

2 hours

25 min

2 hours 25 min

16 bagels for two people.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water, 80 degrees
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 egg, beaten

Instructions

  1. Create dough in a bread machine.
  2. Shape dough into 16 equal balls, poke a finger through middle and make a ring. Let rise on a greased sheet until doubled in size.
  3. Boil 2 quarts of water and add 1/4 cup brown sugar, drop four raised bagels into boiling water and leave them in there for 3 minutes. Repeat with remaining bagels.
  4. Coat boiled bagels with beaten egg and place on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.

How Bread Machines Work

A bread machine only has a few basic parts. There is a bowl, that has a paddle in the bottom. The bowl is heated and the paddle stirs your ingredients around.

There is a technique for loading the ingredients. The water needs to be a certain temperature. The oils and sugars need to be mixed in the water. The flour needs to sit on top of the water and, last but not least, the yeast needs to go in last and sit on top of the flour, separated from the water and oils.

As the bread machine starts to turn, the first turn of the paddle pulls the yeast down into the waiting water. The sugar in the water encourages the yeast to grow. Then, as the yeast grows, it gets fed by the flour. Soon, the bread dough glutens start to form and the bread dough gets stretchy.

The timer will beep and it's time to take your dough out of the machine.

How to Shape the Dough Into Bagels

Now that your dough is ready, you need to divide the dough ball into equal pieces. Pull your dough ball out of the bread machine and place it on a lightly floured surface. Flop it over a few times, so it's easier to pick up without sticking to it.

Cut it into golf ball-sized pieces. I used a sharp steak knife to cut mine. You'll need to spray a baking pan with cooking spray before the next step.

Bagels are created in a multi-step process. There's the dough creation. The cutting and ball making. The circle making. The raising. The boiling in sugared water. The coating with egg wash and then, finally, baking the coated dough in a 400-degree oven for 25 minutes until the egg wash is golden brown.

Dividing the Dough

After you divide your dough ball into about sixteen pieces, you make a ball and poke your finger through in the middle. Pull and smooth the dough so that your hole is about an inch wide.

Set the formed piece on a greased baking sheet. Space the pieces evenly across the pan so that they do not touch each other.

Cover with second pan or with plastic wrap and place in warm place, like on a heating pad.

Letting the Dough Rise

It's winter here, so finding a spot in the house that is overly warm and comfortable for a pan of yeast dough to rise is virtually impossible without a little help. I turned a heating pad on to high and placed my pan of bagels on top of it for a while until they doubled.

In the summer, I have used other methods to find heat. You know how warm cars are in the sun. I have used my car to raise dough. If a person could just leave it in a plastic box with a lid, they can set it on top of a floor heat register. The continuous heat works wonders, but with bagels, you have to create individual pieces, so the merged dough ball is not an option.

I did find that putting the dough pieces on a baking pan, and covering the first pan with a pan of equal size worked fairly well.

How Raising Works

It takes a while to raise, or double the dough.

The yeast needs time to work. My yeast is somewhat expired so I think I'll have to get a new jar of yeast the next time I go to the store. My yeast is not dead, so it has been working to raise the dough.

Yeast is alive but inactive. The slight heat of the water, the sugar and the flour all work together to activate, feed and encourage growth of the yeast. Yeast feeds on the flour and as it expels gas, the bread dough grows or raises

Boiling the Dough

After the dough has raised and doubled, the pieces are then placed in a pot of boiling water, to which brown sugar has been added. I used two quarts of water and a little bit more than a 1/4 cup of brown sugar. The brown sugar colors the dough slightly and sweetens it.

You have to set the dough. This is accomplished by placing the dough balls in the water for three minutes. The set bagels are then pulled from the water and placed in a bowl to wait for the next step, which is coating with a beaten egg.

Egg Wash

Now that your bagel pieces have gone through the three minutes of boiling, they are ready for the egg wash. Grease a baking sheet with cooking spray and dip all your bagels pieces in a bowl that contains a beaten egg, then place the coated bagels on a baking sheet.

Once again, leave spaces between them.

Baking

The last and final step is baking your bagels. The oven needs to be 400 degrees and the pan is placed in the center of your oven.

You'll need to bake them for 20 to 25 minutes until the egg coating turns a golden brown. Make sure that your coating is browned before removing the bagels from the oven.

Then, you are ready to cut them in half and eat them with your favorite topping.