Top | Make the Bread, Buy the Butter


(recipe, Jennifer Reese)


These take about two hours start to finish, so if you start at eight in the morning, the bagels will be ready to serve hot from the oven at 10 o'clock brunch, with plenty of downtime in between for frantically cleaning the house and setting the table.


  1. 3½ cups high-gluten flour or all-purpose flour, plus a bit more if necessary
  2. 4½ tsp. instant yeast
  3. 3 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  4. 1 Tbsp. kosher salt
  5. 1½ cups warm whey from making yogurt, or water
  6. Neutral vegetable oil, for greasing
  7. 2 Tbsp. barley malt syrup or dark brown sugar
  8. Coarse cornmeal, for sprinkling
  9. Optional toppings: sesame seeds, poppy seeds, caraway seeds, coarse salt, etc.


  1. In the bowl of a mixer, combine the full 3½ cups flour, the yeast, sugar, and salt. Add the whey or water, and beat hard with the paddle for a few minutes, switching to the dough hook when the mixture comes together. (You can do this mixing by hand, but prepare for a workout.) If the mixture seems overly wet, add some additional flour, a tiny bit at a time. Stop adding flour as soon as you have a stiff dough. Knead for 5 minutes.
  2. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with a clean, damp dish towel, and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. While the water is heating, sprinkle a baking sheet generously with cornmeal and lightly grease another.
  4. Deflate the dough and divide it into 10 pieces. Roll each piece into the neatest, roundest ball you can and then, with your thumb, poke a hole into the middle and coax the dough into a bagel shape. Leave the bagels on the lightly greased sheet to rest for 10 minutes.
  5. When the water comes to a rolling boil, add the malt syrup. Drop the bagels into the water three at a time. Let them simmer for a minute, then flip them over and simmer for another minute. Remove with a slotted spoon, return to the oiled sheet to dry just a bit, and proceed with the remaining bagels.
  6. Move all the bagels to the cornmeal-sprinkled baking sheet. If you want to add toppings, now is the time to sprinkle them on top of the damp bagels. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until golden brown.


Store the cooled bagels in a paper bag at room temperature for up to a week, or freeze, tightly wrapped, for longer storage. Cinnamon Raisin Bagels: Add 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon along with the flour and increase the granulated sugar to 5 tablespoons. Toward the end of the kneading, add 1 cup raisins.