How to Make a Perfect Bagel: A Step-by-Step Guide

Greeting to all the bagel lovers out there! If you are looking for a fun and delicious baking challenge, look no further than making your own bagels. These chewy, flavorful breads are easy to customize with your favorite toppings and fillings, and nothing beats the satisfaction of biting into a freshly baked homemade bagel.

In this article, we will guide you through the 12 steps involved in making bagels from scratch, as well as provide some helpful explanations and tips for perfecting this beloved breakfast staple. So roll up your sleeves, dust off your apron, and let’s get baking!

Steps How to Make a Bagel

Step 1: Gather Your Ingredients

The first step in making bagels is gathering all the necessary ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water

Once you’ve got everything you need, you can move on to the next step.

Step 2: Mix the Dough

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. Gradually add in the warm water, stirring until a dough forms. Knead the dough by hand or using a stand mixer for about 10 minutes until it’s smooth and elastic.

Step 3: Let the Dough Rise

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover it with a damp towel or plastic wrap. Let it rise in a warm, draft-free area for about an hour or until it has doubled in size.

Step 4: Divide the Dough

Once the dough has risen, turn it out onto a floured surface and divide it into 8 equal portions.

Step 5: Shape the Bagels

Take each portion of dough and roll it into a smooth ball. Use your fingers to poke a hole in the center of each ball and stretch it out into a bagel shape.

Step 6: Boil the Bagels

In a large pot, bring about 4 quarts of water to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon of sugar and stir until it dissolves. Boil the bagels, two or three at a time, for 1-2 minutes per side. Remove them from the water using a slotted spoon and transfer them to a lightly oiled baking sheet.

Step 7: Add Toppings

Now it’s time to add your favorite toppings! Brush the boiled bagels with an egg wash and sprinkle on any toppings you like, such as sesame seeds, poppy seeds, garlic, cheese, or everything bagel seasoning.

Step 8: Bake the Bagels

Preheat your oven to 425°F. Bake the bagels for 20-25 minutes or until they are golden brown and crispy on the outside.

Step 9: Cool the Bagels

Once the bagels have finished baking, let them cool on a wire rack for a few minutes before slicing and serving.

Step 10: Store the Bagels

If you have leftover bagels, store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days or freeze them for up to 3 months.

Step 11: Toast the Bagels

To enjoy your bagels at their best, toast them lightly and slather them with your favorite toppings, such as cream cheese, jam, or smoked salmon.

Step 12: Enjoy!

Congratulations, you’ve successfully made your own delicious bagels! Enjoy them for breakfast, lunch, or anytime you’re craving a tasty treat.

Explanation How to Make a Bagel

Now that you’ve seen the steps involved in making bagels, let’s dive a little deeper into some of the key concepts.

First up, why do we boil the bagels? Boiling the bagels briefly before baking them gives them their distinctive chewy texture and shiny crust. The boiling process gelatinizes the starches on the surface of the bagels, creating a barrier that prevents moisture from escaping during baking. This promotes a more evenly baked and tender bagel.

Another important aspect of making bagels is using high-gluten bread flour. This type of flour has a higher protein content than all-purpose flour, which gives the bagels their satisfying chewiness. If you’re unable to find bread flour, you can substitute all-purpose flour but your bagels may be slightly less chewy.

Finally, when it comes to adding toppings, feel free to get creative! You can use any combination of seeds, herbs, spices, or cheeses to customize your bagels to your liking. Just be sure to brush the bagels with an egg wash before adding your toppings to ensure they stick properly.

Tips and Tricks How to Make a Bagel

Here are some additional tips and tricks to help you perfect your bagel-making skills:

1. Be patient with the rising time.

To ensure your bagels have the right texture and flavor, don’t rush the rising time. Let the dough double in size before moving on to the next step.

2. Use a food scale.

Measuring your ingredients by weight instead of volume will help ensure you get consistent results every time. Invest in a digital food scale for accurate measurements.

3. Don’t skip the egg wash.

Brushing the boiled bagels with an egg wash is essential for getting a crispy, golden crust and ensuring your toppings stick properly.

4. Experiment with flavors.

Try adding different spices, cheeses, or dried fruits to your bagel dough to create unique flavor combinations.

5. Invest in a good stand mixer.

Kneading bagel dough by hand can be a workout. A stand mixer with a dough hook attachment will save you time and energy.

6. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bagels from the water.

Using a slotted spoon to remove the bagels from the boiling water will help prevent them from sticking to the bottom of the pot.

7. Store them properly.

To keep your bagels fresh, store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days or freeze them for up to 3 months.

8. Experiment with different shapes and sizes.

Who says bagels have to be round? Try making mini bagels, bagel sticks, or even bagel knots for a fun twist on this classic treat.

9. Make them ahead of time.

If you’re short on time in the morning, bake your bagels the night before and reheat them briefly in the toaster before enjoying.

10. Have fun!

Baking is all about having fun and experimenting with different techniques and flavors. Don’t be afraid to get creative and make this recipe your own.

Advantages of Making Bagels

1. Freshness: When you make bagels at home, you can enjoy their freshness right out of the oven, something that is hard to come by in store-bought bagels.

2. Customization: You can customize your bagels according to your taste preferences by adding different ingredients to the dough or by topping them with various types of seeds, spices or even cheese.

3. Healthier Option: Homemade bagels are a healthier option as you have control over the quality of ingredients and the quantity of salt, sugar and oil used.

4. Cost-effective: Making bagels at home can be cost-effective in the long run as you can make a larger batch with less money than buying individual bagels at a bakery.

5. Fun Activity: Making bagels can be a fun activity for you and your family or friends and can help strengthen relationships.

6. Sustainable Choice: When you make bagels at home, you can use sustainable ingredients and avoid excess packaging and food waste.

7. Therapeutic: Kneading the dough and watching it rise can be a therapeutic activity that helps you relax and destress.

8. Bragging Rights: Knowing how to make bagels can impress your friends and family and make you proud of your culinary skills.

9. Experimentation: Making bagels at home gives you the opportunity to experiment with different flavors, shapes and sizes.

10. Freshly-baked Aroma: The aroma of freshly-baked bagels can fill your home and make it feel cozy and welcoming.

Disadvantages of Making Bagels

1. Time-consuming: Making bagels requires a significant amount of time, starting from preparing the dough to waiting for it to rest and rise and finally baking them in the oven.

2. Skill-dependent: Making bagels requires some amount of skill and practice, especially in knowing when the dough is ready and how to shape it properly.

3. Equipment-intensive: Making bagels requires some specific equipment like a stand mixer or bread machine, a heavy-duty baking sheet and a large pot of boiling water, which can be a challenge for some home cooks.

4. Messy Process: Making bagels can be a messy process with flour and water being spilled on countertops, utensils and floors.

5. Temperature-sensitive: Bagels require a specific temperature and humidity levels for the dough to rise and the bagels to bake to perfection, which can be a challenge in some environments.

6. Quantity Control: Making large batches of bagels can be difficult for home cooks to control, leading to waste or having to share them with others.

7. Long Shelf Life: Homemade bagels have a shorter shelf life than store-bought bagels and must be eaten within a few days or frozen for later use.

8. Ingredient Availability: Some traditional bagel ingredients like malt syrup or high gluten flour may not be easily available in some areas, making it harder to follow traditional recipes.

9. Intense Process: Making bagels requires patience and persistence, which may not be everyone’s cup of tea.

10. Comparison Bias: After putting in so much effort and time in making bagels, home cooks may find it difficult to enjoy or appreciate store-bought bagels, leading to bias and disappointment.


What is a bagel?

A bagel is a round bread roll that has been boiled in water before being baked. It is a popular food item that often served for breakfast or as a snack with various toppings or fillings.

What ingredients are needed to make a bagel?

The basic ingredients for making a bagel are flour, yeast, salt, water, and a sweetener like honey or sugar. Some recipes may also include an egg wash or toppings like sesame seeds or poppy seeds.

What is the process of making a bagel?

The process of making a bagel involves mixing the ingredients, kneading the dough, shaping the dough into rings, boiling the rings in water, and then baking them in the oven until they are golden brown and crispy on the outside.

Can a bagel be made without a bread machine?

Yes, a bagel can be made without a bread machine. The dough can be mixed and kneaded by hand or with a stand mixer and then shaped into rings before being boiled and baked.

How long does it take to make a bagel?

The process of making a bagel can take anywhere from 2-3 hours, including the time needed for the dough to rise and the rings to be boiled. However, this may vary depending on the recipe and method used.

Can bagels be made in advance?

Yes, bagels can be made in advance and stored in an airtight container in the freezer for several months. They can be thawed and toasted as needed.

What are some popular toppings for bagels?

Some popular toppings for bagels include cream cheese, butter, jam, peanut butter, smoked salmon, and various types of deli meat and cheese.

Can bagels be made gluten-free?

Yes, bagels can be made gluten-free by using a combination of gluten-free flours, like rice flour, tapioca flour, and potato starch. However, the texture may be slightly different from traditional bagels.

Are bagels healthy?

Bagels can be part of a healthy diet when consumed in moderation and paired with nutrient-dense toppings. However, they are typically high in carbohydrates and calories, so it is important to be mindful of portion sizes.

What is the best way to store bagels?

The best way to store bagels is in an airtight container or plastic bag at room temperature for up to five days. They can also be frozen for longer storage.

What is the origin of bagels?

Bagels are believed to have originated in Poland in the early 17th century. They were popular among Jewish communities and eventually spread to other parts of Europe and North America.

Can bagels be made with alternative flours?

Yes, bagels can be made with alternative flours like almond flour or coconut flour for a low-carb or grain-free option. However, the texture and taste may be different from traditional bagels.

What is the best way to eat a bagel?

The best way to eat a bagel is a matter of personal preference. Some people like to simply toast and butter their bagels, while others prefer to add their favorite toppings or fillings like cream cheese, lox, or avocado and egg.

Bagel is a popular type of bread that originated from Jewish communities in Poland. In recent years, it has become a favorite breakfast item for many people worldwide. Making a bagel might seem daunting, but with the right ingredients and steps, it’s easy to make them at home. Here’s how to make a bagel.

Conclusion how to make a bagel

Firstly, gather all the ingredients needed to make a bagel. You’ll need flour, yeast, sugar, salt, water, and egg wash. Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl and gradually add in water until the dough forms. Knead the dough until it’s smooth, cover it, and let it rest for 10 minutes.

Next, shape the dough into bagel rounds and let them rest for an additional 10 minutes. Boil a pot of water and add sugar to it. Drop the bagel rounds in the water and cook each side for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water and brush with egg wash. Bake the bagels in the oven for 20 minutes until golden brown.

Cool the bagels on a wire rack before slicing them in half. You can add cream cheese, butter, or your desired toppings to enjoy a delicious homemade bagel.

Closing how to make a bagel

Making a bagel is quite simple, provided you have the right ingredients and follow the necessary steps. The joy of having fresh, warm bagels from your kitchen is truly unmatched. So go ahead and try making some of your own. They’ll make a perfect addition to your breakfast menu and are sure to impress your family and friends. Good luck!

Until we meet again, happy bagel making!