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New York Style Bagels

New York Style Bagels - Poppy seed, Sesame seed, and plain bagels

I love these New York Style Bagels!  Before “sheltering in place,” I had never considered making my own bagels before, but I’m so glad I tried it.  This recipe was inspired by the bagels my husband and I ate during an unexpected layover in Montreal, on our honeymoon to France.

New York Style Bagels - Plain bagel

These bagels have a shiny exterior and a perfect chewy interior.  My husband adored these bagels and has asked for them multiple times since testing the recipe.  If you’re looking for a fun weekend project, give these bagels a try.  You won’t be disappointed!

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Ingredients for a Sponge Dough Starter
Dough Starter Ingredients
  • ½ tsp (1.6g) instant yeast
  • 1 cup + 2 Tbsp (265.5g) room temperature water (approximately 75°F/24°C)
  • 1½ cups (234g) bread flour
Making the Sponge Dough Starter

In the bowl of your stand mixer, use the whisk attachment to combine the yeast, water, and flour. 

Dough Starter Ingredients

Mix for approximately 2 minutes until the mixture is smooth.  Use a silicone spatula or bench scraper to scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to sit at room temperature for one to four hours.  The longer the sponge sits, the more flavor it develops.  You can also place the sponge in the fridge for up 24 hours.  This will give the sponge more of an acidic/“sour dough” flavor. 

Ingredients for New York Style Bagels
Making the Bagel Dough
New York Style Bagels Ingredients
New York Style Bagels Ingredients

Whisk together the larger amount of bread flour, yeast, malt syrup, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. 

New York Style Bagels Ingredients

Sprinkle the mixture over the sponge.  Do not stir.  The layer of dry ingredients will protect the sponge from drying out while it goes through fermentation.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 1 to 4 hours.  Again, the longer the dough ferments, the more flavor the dough will have. 

New York Style Bagel Dough

It is likely the sponge will bubble through the flour layer as it ferments.  This is expected. 

New York Style Bagel Dough

Next, add the butter to the stand mixer bowl and 1 Tbsp (9g) of the remaining flour (i.e., part of the “smaller amount”). 

New York Style Bagel Dough

Mix these ingredients on low speed (i.e., #2 on a KitchenAid) using the dough hook attachment until the flour is moistened (approximately 1 minute). 

New York Style Bagel Dough

Increase the speed to medium (#4 on a KitchenAid) and knead for 5-7 minutes.  If the dough does not pull away by the end of the kneading time or if the dough still feels a little tacky/sticky, add the remaining flour. 

The dough should be smooth and elastic.  It should spring back immediately when gently pressed with your finger.     

Proofing the Bagel Dough
New York Style Bagel Dough

Lightly oil a large bowl and place the dough into the container.  Lightly oil the top of the dough ball (this will keep the dough from sticking to the plastic wrap if it rises to the top of the bowl), cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let the dough rise at room temperature (approximately 75-80°F/24-27°C) until it has doubled in volume.  This should take approximately 1-2 hours.

New York Style Bagel Dough

Remove the plastic wrap, and firmly push down on the dough to deflate it. 

Give the dough a letter turn (i.e., imagine you are folding a letter in thirds to put into an envelope) and place it back in the bowl. 

New York Style Bagel Dough - Letter turn

Again, lightly oil the top of the dough, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 4 – 12 hours.  The longer the dough rests, the more flavor it will have. 

Let the dough come to room temperature for 30 minutes before continuing with the shaping steps.

Bagel Shaping Preparation
New York Style Bagel Dough

Place a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet and set to the side.  I like using a baking sheet because it’s easier to move the bagels after shaping (as opposed to just setting them on a sheet of parchment paper or a towel).

Tip out the dough onto an unfloured counter.  This will make it easier to shape the bagels because the dough can “grip” the counter.  If the counter is floured, the dough will slide without gripping and this will make shaping much more difficult.

New York Style Bagel Dough - Shaping

Cut the dough into 5 equal pieces.  They should weigh approximately 144g each.  Set the dough on the parchment paper without the pieces touching and cover with a piece of lightly oiled plastic wrap.  Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes.  Begin shaping the dough one piece at a time.  Cover any dough that is not being actively shaped with oiled plastic wrap to ensure it does not dry out. 

Shaping the New York Style Bagels – 2 methods
Method 1 (Ball and Poke)

Set one dough piece on the counter and pull all sides of the dough into the middle. 

Shaping New York Style Bagels

Pinch the dough together to form a ball and then place the ball upside down (i.e., seam-side down) on the counter. 

Shaping New York Style Bagels

Poke your index finger all the way through the dough ball.  Try to poke in the middle of the ball so all sides of the bagel are equal in size (unlike what I did in my picture). 

Shaping New York Style Bagels

Use your fingers to stretch the hole while rotating the bagel in a circle.  The goal will be to have a 2.5-inch hole. 

Shaping New York Style Bagels

If you like a very thick bagel without much of a hole in the middle, you might want to make the hole a little smaller.  If you like to have a flatter bagel with a large hole in the center, you might want to make the hole a little larger. 

Set the shaped bagel on the baking sheet and continue shaping the remaining bagels. 

Method 2 (Rope and Roll)
Shaping New York Style Bagels

Set one dough piece on the unfloured counter (this is essential for this method) and roll into a 12-inch rope. 

Shaping New York Style Bagels

Overlap the ends to make a ring and press down firmly on the join while rolling. 

Shaping New York Style Bagels

Make sure the edges form one piece otherwise, the bagel will split at the seam while it bakes (see the picture below for what to avoid). 

Resting Dough and Preheating Oven
Shaping New York Style Bagels

After shaping all of the bagels, allow them to rise for 15 minutes under the lightly oiled plastic wrap. 

While the bagels are rising, place a baking stone, baking steel, or empty baking sheet on the lowest rack of the oven.  Then, preheat the oven to 500°F/260°C.  

Ingredients for Water Bath
New York Style Bagels - Water Bath
Boiling the Bagels
New York Style Bagels - Water Bath

Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil.  Then add the malt syrup and baking soda, stirring until dissolved. 

Boiling New York Style Bagels in Water Bath

Transfer the bagels, one at a time, to the pot.  Be careful not to burn yourself or overcrowd the pan.  They should be able to sit next to each other without touching.  This means that you might only be able to cook 2-3 at a time. 

Boil the bagels for 1-2 minutes on each side.  Use a slotted spoon or skimmer to gently flip them. 

New York Style Bagels - unbaked

Remove the bagels from the pot using the slotted spoon (this will remove excess water) and set them back onto the parchment paper to drain for 30 seconds to a minute.  If the bagels rest for longer than 1 minute, it is likely they will stick.  Move the drained bagels to another baking sheet lined with parchment paper. 

Ingredients for Glaze and Toppings
New York Style Bagels - Toppings
Adding Glaze and Toppings
Egg wash

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg whites and water. 

New York Style Bagels - unbaked

Use a pastry brush to cover each bagel with the egg white glaze.  Avoid letting the egg white drip down the side of the bagel to the parchment paper.  The egg white will act like glue and it will be difficult to remove the bagels after baking.  The egg white glaze will allow the bagels to get a beautiful golden brown while baking.

New York Style Bagels with Toppings - unbaked

Add a second layer of the glaze and sprinkle your preferred toppings.  My husband’s favorite bagel topping is poppy seed and I like sesame seed (although my favorite bagels are cinnamon raisin).  Try to avoid getting a lot of seeds on the baking sheet since they have a tendency to burn while baking. 

Baking the New York Style Bagels

Once the bagels are topped, place the baking sheet onto the hot baking stone/steel/sheet.  Bake for 5 minutes and then drop the oven temperature to 450°F/232°C.  Continue baking for 20 minutes.  Then, turn the oven off, without opening the oven door, and let the bagels continue cooking for 5 minutes.  Prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon between the door and the oven frame for 5 more minutes. 

Cooling the New York Style Bagels
New York Style Bagels - Poppy seed bagels, sesame seed bagels, and plain bagel

Remove the bagels from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Don’t cut into the bagels before they have cooled completely.  They will have a gummy texture. 

New York Style Bagels - Poppy seed Bagel

These bagels are best the day they are made, but you can wrap them in plastic wrap, place in freezer bags, and freeze for up to 1 month.  Thaw the bagel to room temperature when ready to eat it. 

New York Style Bagels - Sesame Seed Bagel

These New York Style Bagels were absolutely delicious.  They were chewy and SOOO much better than the bagels that you can buy at the grocery store.  There are quite a few steps to this recipe, but I promise you, it is worth it. 

New York Style Bagels

My husband and I got creative with our bagel toppings.  I put plain cream cheese with green onions and bacon and my husband used plain cream cheese, tomatoes, lox (i.e., brined salmon), green onions, and roasted garlic paste.  Our breakfast tasted so good!!  What is your favorite way to eat bagels?  Do you prefer sweet or savory toppings? 

New York Style Bagels - Plain bagel
Looking for more Breakfast Ideas:

New York Style Bagels

Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Servings: 5 bagels

Ingredients

Sponge Dough Starter

  • ½ tsp (1.6g) instant yeast
  • 1 cup + 2 Tbsp (265.5g) room temperature water (approximately 75°F/24°C)
  • cups (234g) bread flour

New York Style Bagels

  • 1 cup (156g) bread flour (i.e., larger amount)
  • 3 Tbsp (26g) bread flour (i.e., smaller amount)
  • ½ tsp (1.6g) instant yeast
  • tsp (10.5g) barley malt syrup
  • tsp (6.2g) granulated sugar
  • tsp (10.5g) salt
  • Tbsp (21g) unsalted butter, room temperature

Water Bath

  • 1 pot with water
  • 2 Tbsp (42g) of malt syrup, molasses, or honey (for a Montreal bagel version)
  • 1 tsp (4.8g) baking soda

Glaze and Toppings

  • 2 large (60g) egg whites
  • 1 tsp (5g) cold water
  • 3-4 Tbsp preferred topping (e.g., poppy seeds and sesame seeds)

Instructions

Making the Sponge Dough Starter

  • In the bowl of your stand mixer, use the whisk attachment to combine the yeast, water, and flour.  Mix for approximately 2 minutes until the mixture is smooth. 
  • Scrape down the sides of the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow the dough to sit at room temperature for 1-4 hours.  The longer the sponge sits, the more flavor it develops. 
  • Optional: Place the sponge in the fridge for up to 24 hours for more of an acidic/"sour dough" flavor.

Making the Bagel Dough

  • Whisk together the larger amount of bread flour, yeast, malt syrup, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. 
  • Sprinkle the mixture over the sponge.  Do not stir.  The layer of dry ingredients will protect the sponge from drying out while it goes through fermentation.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 1 to 4 hours.  Again, the longer the dough ferments, the more flavor the dough will have. 
  • It is likely the sponge will bubble through the flour layer as it ferments.  This is expected. 
  • Next, add the butter to the stand mixer bowl and 1 Tbsp (9g) of the remaining flour (i.e., part of the “smaller amount”). 
  • Mix these ingredients on low speed using the dough hook attachment until the flour is moistened (approximately 1 minute). 
  • Increase the speed to medium and knead for 5-7 minutes.  If the dough does not pull away by the end of the kneading time or if the dough still feels a little tacky/sticky, add the remaining flour. 
  • The dough should be smooth and elastic.  It should spring back immediately when gently pressed with your finger.     

Proofing the Bagel Dough

  • Lightly oil a large bowl and place the dough into the container.  Lightly oil the top of the dough ball (this will keep the dough from sticking to the plastic wrap if it rises to the top of the bowl), cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let the dough rise at room temperature (approximately 75-80°F/24-27°C) until it has doubled in volume.  This should take approximately 1-2 hours.
  • Remove the plastic wrap, and firmly push down on the dough to deflate it. 
  • Give the dough a letter turn (i.e., imagine you are folding a letter in thirds to put into an envelope) and place it back in the bowl. 
  • Again, lightly oil the top of the dough, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 4 – 12 hours.  The longer the dough rests, the more flavor it will have. 
    Let the dough come to room temperature for 30 minutes before continuing with the shaping steps.

Bagel Shaping Preparation

  • Place a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet and set to the side. 
    Tip out the dough onto an unfloured counter.  This will make it easier to shape the bagels because the dough can “grip” the counter.  If the counter is floured, the dough will slide without gripping , making shaping more difficult.
  • Cut the dough into 5 equal pieces.  They should weigh approximately 144g each.  Set the dough on the parchment paper without the pieces touching and cover with a piece of lightly oiled plastic wrap.  Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes.  Begin shaping the dough one piece at a time.  Cover any dough that is not being actively shaped with oiled plastic wrap to ensure it does not dry out. 

Shaping New York Style Bagels: Method 1 (Ball and Poke)

  • Set one dough piece on the counter and pull all sides of the dough into the middle. 
  • Pinch the dough together to form a ball and then place the ball upside down (i.e., seam-side down) on the counter. 
  • Poke your index finger all the way through the dough ball.  Try to poke in the middle of the ball so all sides of the bagel are equal in size. 
  • Use your fingers to stretch the hole while rotating the bagel in a circle.  The goal will be to have a 2.5-inch hole. 
  • If you like a very thick bagel without much of a hole in the middle, make the hole a little smaller.  If you like to have a flatter bagel with a large hole in the center, make the hole a little larger. 
  • Set the shaped bagel on the baking sheet and continue shaping the remaining bagels. 

Shaping New York Style Bagels: Method 2 (Rope and Roll)

  • Set one dough piece on the unfloured counter (this is essential for this method) and roll into a 12-inch rope. 
  • Overlap the ends to make a ring and press down firmly on the join while rolling. 
  • Make sure the edges form one piece otherwise, the bagel will split at the seam while it bakes. 

Resting Dough and Preheating Oven

  • After shaping all of the bagels, allow them to rise for 15 minutes under the lightly oiled plastic wrap. 
    While the bagels are rising, place a baking stone, baking steel, or empty baking sheet on the lowest rack of the oven.  Then, preheat the oven to 500°F/260°C.  

Boiling the Bagels

  • Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil.  Then add the malt syrup and baking soda, stirring until dissolved. 
  • Transfer the bagels, one at a time, to the pot.  Be careful not to burn yourself or overcrowd the pan.  They should be able to sit next to each other without touching.  This means that you might only be able to cook 2-3 at a time. 
  • Boil the bagels for 1-2 minutes on each side.  Use a slotted spoon or skimmer to gently flip them. 
  • Remove the bagels from the pot using the slotted spoon (this will remove excess water) and set them back onto the parchment paper to drain for 30 seconds to a minute.  If the bagels rest for longer than 1 minute, it is likely they will stick.  Move the drained bagels to another baking sheet lined with parchment paper. 

Adding Glaze and Toppings

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the egg whites and water. 
  • Use a pastry brush to cover each bagel with the egg white glaze.  Avoid letting the egg white drip down the side of the bagel to the parchment paper.  The egg white will act like glue and it will be difficult to remove the bagels after baking.  The glaze will allow the bagels to get a beautiful golden brown while baking.
  • Add a second layer of the glaze and sprinkle your preferred toppings.  Try to avoid getting a lot of seeds on the baking sheet since they have a tendency to burn while baking. 

Baking the New York Style Bagels

  • Once the bagels are topped, place the baking sheet onto the hot baking stone/steel/sheet.  Bake for 5 minutes and then drop the oven temperature to 450°F/232°C.  Continue baking for 20 minutes.  Then, turn the oven off, without opening the oven door, and let the bagels continue cooking for 5 minutes.  Prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon between the door and the oven frame for 5 more minutes. 
  • Remove the bagels from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Don’t cut into the bagels before they have cooled completely.  They will have a gummy texture. 

Storing the Bagels

  • These bagels are best the day they are made, but you can wrap them in plastic wrap, place in freezer bags, and freeze for up to 1 month.  Thaw the bagel to room temperature when ready to eat it. 
New York Style Bagels - Poppy seed bagel
More Homemade Bread Recipes:
Notes
  1. You could also use 1½ tsp (4.7g) malt powder in place of the malt syrup.  It’s unlikely you will find these ingredients in typical grocery stores.  I found the syrup and the powder at a local home beer brewing supply store. (Back to “Bagel Ingredients” section)
  2. If you don’t have any of these ingredients, you can use ¼ cup (50g) of granulated sugar. (Back to “Water Bath Ingredients” section)
  3. This recipe was adapted from “Levy’s Bagels” in Rose Levy Beranbaum’s The Bread Bible

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