Homemade Wheat Bagels

Nothing beats a lightly toasted bagel with a chewy and slightly crisp outside and soft and fluffy inside.

Unfortunately, I don’t live somewhere like New York where it’s easy to buy delicious bagels.

Many store-bought bagels are simply baked, while a proper bagel should be boiled first and then baked.

The boiling process creates a chewier texture that you can not get from baking alone.

When I attempted to make my own bagels, I realized they weren’t necessarily difficult but they do take some time.

I like using a little whole wheat flour for extra fiber but feel free to use all white flour if you prefer.

You can also use all-purpose flour instead of bread flour, however bread flour has more protein and helps achieve the signature chewy texture that bagels have.

Joby's Test Kitchen cooling rack with golden wheat bagels

How to Make Bagels from Scratch

In a small bowl, mix 1 tablespoon honey with 1 cup of warm water. Sprinkle on 4 teaspoons of yeast and let sit for 5 minutes or until foamy. Then mix it until completely until the yeast is dissolved.

In a large bowl, mix together 4 1/3 cups of bread flour, 4 cups of whole wheat flour, and 3 teaspoons of salt.

Add in the yeast mixture and most of the remaining water. Stir until dough starts to form. If it’s too dry, continue adding tablespoons of water at a time until dough becomes soft.

Knead the dough 10 minutes by hand or with a hook attachment on a stand mixer. The dough should be smooth and elastic.

Lightly coat a large bowl or container with oil and place the dough inside. Cover with a lid or plate and let it rise until it doubles, about 25-45 minutes.

When the dough has doubled, gently deflate it and let it rest for 10 minutes.

Divide the dough into 16 even pieces. Shape each piece into a ball. Gently push your thumb through the middle of the ball, creating a hole. Start stretching the dough to form a ring, about 3-4 inches in diameter. 

Place the bagels on a baking sheet and cover with a kitchen towel. Let them rest for 10-15 minutes while bringing water to a boil in a large pot and preheating the oven to 425ºF.

Add 1 tsp baking soda to the boiled water and lower the heat to a simmer. Add 3-4 bagels at a time to the water and gently boil for 2 minutes. Then gently flip them over, and boil for another 2 minutes. Remove the bagels and let them cool on a kitchen towel.

Sprinkle 2 sheet pans with semolina and place the bagels on them. If desired, brush with an egg wash to create a shiny finish and sprinkle with your favorite toppings.

Bake bagels for 20 minutes or until golden brown, turning the pans around halfway through if needed.

Cool the bagels on a wire rack.

These bagels are best when split in half and toasted.

Though they’re delicious with a schmear of cream cheese or butter, my favorite way to eat them is as a sandwich, with egg, cheese, and ham. Yum!

Yes, homemade bagels do take time, yes I might be crazy for making them myself, and yes I might be overly obsessed with them.

But if you love bread as much as I do, these bagels are worth it!

Here are some more bread recipes

Homemade Wheat Bread
A delicious and simple recipe for homemade bread!
Check out this recipe
Whole Wheat English Muffins
Fluffy whole grain muffins that are perfect for toasting and spreading with butter or classic peanut butter and jelly.
Check out this recipe
Closeup of golden wheat English muffins.
Whole Wheat Flatbreads
This soft chewy flatbread is perfect for wraps, pizza, or eaten with your favorite curry.
Check out this recipe
Kitchen towel wrapping few loaves of whole wheat flatbreads.
Homemade Pizza Dough
This easy homemade pizza dough recipe produces both a slightly chewy and fluffy crust.
Check out this recipe
Cutting board with pizza with tomatoes and mushrooms.

Golden wheat bagels on wooden board.

Homemade Wheat Bagels

Joby’s Test Kitchen
Though these bagels may take some time to make, they are so worth it!
Prep Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Cook Time 36 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 21 minutes
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Servings 16 bagels
Calories 215 kcal

Equipment

  • Stand Mixer optional

Ingredients
  

  • cups (600ml) warm water, + 1/4 cup (60ml) more if needed
  • 1 tbsp (21g) honey
  • 4 tsps yeast
  • 4⅓ cups (520g) bread flour
  • 4 cups (480g) whole wheat flour
  • 3 tsps salt

Additional Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ cup semolina (to coat pans)
  • 1 whole egg for egg wash, optional

Optional toppings

  • Few tbsps minced garlic, poppy seeds, "Everything But the Bagel" seasoning, etc.

Instructions
 

  • Mix the honey in 1 cup of warm water. Sprinkle on the yeast. Let sit for 5 minutes or until foamy. Mix it until completely dissolved.
  • In a large bowl, mix the flours and salt. Add the yeast mixture and most of the remaining water. Stir until dough starts to form. If it’s too dry, continue adding tablespoons of water at a time until dough becomes soft.
  • Knead the dough 10 minutes by hand or with a hook attachment on a stand mixer. The dough should be smooth and elastic.
  • Lightly coat a large bowl or container with oil and place the dough inside. Cover with a lid or plate and let it rise until it doubles, about 25-45 min.
  • When the dough has doubled, gently deflate it and let it rest for 10 minutes.
  • Divide the dough into 16 even pieces. Shape each piece into a ball. Gently push your thumb through the middle of the ball, creating a hole. Start stretching the dough to form a ring, about 3-4 inches in diameter.
  • Place the bagels on a baking sheet and cover with a kitchen towel. Let them rest for 10-15 minutes while bringing water to a boil in a large pot and preheating the oven to 425ºF.
  • Add 1 tsp baking soda to the boiled water and lower the heat to a simmer. Add 3-4 bagels at a time to the water and gently boil for 2 minutes. Then gently flip them over, and boil for another 2 minutes. Remove the bagels and let them cool on a kitchen towel.
  • Sprinkle 2 sheet pans with semolina and place the bagels on them. If desired, brush with an egg wash (creates a shiny finish) and you favorite toppings.
  • Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown, turning the pans around halfway through if needed.
  • Cool the bagels on a wire rack. Slice and toast them before eating.
Keyword bagels, bread, sandwich, toast

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