How to Make Authentic East Coast Bagels

so today we’re making bagels as Baker’s

both of us we can pretty much make any

kind of bread we want at home but

because it is a lot of effort we tend to

focus on the types of breads that are

hardest to find in our local bakeries

and grocery stores bagels are a real

treat for us it’s one of our favorite

breads and so we’ve got any good East

Coast bagel yeah or on the west coast

oiled real authentic East Coast bagel so

we’ve worked pretty hard to get this

recipe workable for a weekend bake yeah

we’ve got it down to now where it’s just

under 24 hours you can basically start

it on like Saturday morning and when you

get up on Sunday morning all you have to

do is proof the bagels and boil em and

bake them so Nicole’s measuring out the

ingredients for what we call a

preferment a preferment is when you

hydrate a considerable portion of the

flour with most of the water in this

case that’s actually going into the

recipe in a teeny bit of yeast and you

mix that up and this basically makes a

pretty stiff dough and Italians like to

call this this type of preferment obiga

which is basically just a stiff

preferment of a portion of the dough

Americans because we tend to say starter

no matter if we’re talking about an

actual wild yeast sourdough starter that

you made yourself that took months to

get active or just a simple preferment

to give it more flavor and pre Furman’s

the universal term but around the world

there are many many different words for

it and you do this for a number of

reasons for flavor it also really helps

bagel dough especially is a very stiff

dough and it’s kind of hard to knead

we’re going to make this recipe entirely

by hand it’s usually made commercially

in a big heavy-duty mixer but I think it

would blow out your home mixer if you

tried it at home so that’s why we’re

making it by hand and actually hydrating

the flour and giving it some time to let

rest and relax and to allow the gluten

to develop makes it a lot easier to

actually need it’s a lot less work and

we’re using instant yeast a technical

term is instant active dry yeast which

you might find the supermarket under

trade names like rapid rise or

fast-acting and it’s perfect for making

breads because you mix it right with the

flour it doesn’t have to be proofed in

water beforehand so you can see if it’s

active or not it’s just ready to go and

tell them about the water and the water

if you’re using yeast that’s dry needs

to be pretty warm and I have

about 120 you don’t want to go too hot

140 kills yeast and if it’s under a

hundred you’re not warm enough so that

it can rehydrate properly which means

you may not get a good rise out of it so

that’s very important to have warm water

and our flour here is this happens to be

King Arthur bread flour bagels are made

with bread flour it has a very high

protein content and the flour that

actually allows you to develop a really

strong gluten network in in bread makes

it a little difficult to knead because

the hydration level is so low it’s it’s

you’ll see it’s going to be pretty

pretty stiff and the other thing that

Nicole is using is barley malt syrup the

yeast like to have just a little bit of

sugar in some form to snack on and get

to going and they seem to really like

the barley malt you could also if you

can’t find barley malt syrup which can

be a little hard to find you can also

use honey

you could even use molasses and in a

pinch you could actually just use

straight sugar but I think this gives an

actual really nice sort of malty

sweetness the finished bagel it does

smell vaguely a little bit like molasses

just lighter so it has more flavor okay

so do you want to mix this now that I

got it I’ll wait up for you sure there

you go so this is our water and we have

the yeast in here with the flour and

this is the water and the barley malt

and we’re just going to add all your wet

ingredients to all of your dry

ingredients the thing I have to say

about making bagels compared to other

breads is even though there are a lot of

steps if you read the recipe you’re

really guaranteed success because when

you’re making most bread at home the

trick is to not need and keep adding in

a lot of flour and the beauty about

bagels is you’re trying to add in the

flour so it’s really nice easy to handle

dough it doesn’t get sticky it’s less

frustrating the result is perfect

because of that where’s I think

sometimes people are disappointed when

they make sandwich bread at home but the

next day it seems dry well part of that

reason is if you add even two

tablespoons too much flour it changes

the texture of the bread the next day I

mean flour really does

a lot of liquid think about making gravy

any two tablespoons of flour when you’re

making gravy can thicken a huge amount

of sauce so it’s pretty powerful so this

I usually just sort of stir it together

with the spoon to get it come together a

little bit and then I have this nifty

white rubber spatula that I just sort of

squash it around a little bit more and

all I’m doing is incorporating most of

the dry bits of flour in there and when

I get it pretty much in there I just

take it out on my PI board and you can

see that there are still a whole bunch

of little dry pieces of flour here so

I’m just going to briefly knead it and

I’m not kneading it really to develop

structure at this point all I’m doing is

incorporating all of the dry bits of

flour and the yeast and everything to

just make a nice nice smooth mixture and

this preferment once we get all of the

flour in there is just going to sit on

the counter in a bowl and it’s going to

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proof at room temperature for about two

hours yeah it gives it time for the

yeast to really wake up and take action

later we’re going to put it in the

refrigerator that way this will be an

overnight dough which is fantastic it

gives you a lot of flexibility so that

you can complete bagels the next morning

when you really want them and it is

pretty flexible I mean we’ve given in

really specific times on you know what

time you’re supposed to start move to

this stage in this stage but it’s really

pretty flexible I mean because you do

have it in the refrigerator for so long

it basically stops or goes very slowly

in its development so you have a lot of

leeway if you you know happen to take

the kids out and go to the park and

you’re an hour off on your schedule it

doesn’t make that much difference and

this you can see this dough is not the

least bit sticky so I mean it’s not like

it’s crying out for more and more flour

we’re having to push push the dough into

the flour to get all the flour to go and

be absorbed so it’s a nice dough to work

with because of that so you’re not

trying to actually get it to be smooth

and shiny if you were like making a

conventional bread dough you’re just

trying to get all the dry bits in there

that’s what’s really amazing means

standard bread is probably about 63 65

percent water and bagel 50 to 55 so when

you’ve got it there and I’ve probably

been kneading for probably about three


three minutes get lots of stuff in it’s

going to still look a little broken on

the surface it’s not going to be smooth

and shiny it’s just going to be kind of

a big blob of dough and then we’re just

going to put it in a bowl cover it and

leave it on the counter at room

temperature to let it rise for about two


this is our preferment that we made this

morning it sat down on the counter for

two hours then we went and did something

else and stuck it in the refrigerator

for a while now we’re back and we’re

going to make our final dough so this is

the bika what I have here is a little

bit of additional bread flour four

ounces of bread flour and here I have

two tablespoons of water

two and a quarter teaspoons of salt and

an extra teaspoon of the barley malt


I’m just dissolving the salt in the

water so it’s easier to get into the

dough same thing with the barley malt

and the reason we don’t add the salt

upfront is that it tends to stiffen the

structure of the dough plus the yeast

just really don’t like to be in contact

with the salt at that point so we are

going to add anything together I’m going

to mix it up a little bit in the bowl

first and then I’m going to take it out

onto the table and knead it and you’ll

see it’s a really really stiff hard

dough and it takes a while it’s not hard

to do it just takes a while if you just

standing here and getting the

ingredients together so here we go and

your salt will have settled a little bit

if you let it sit there so I just sort

of solve it with my finger a little and

all I’m doing is I’m just sort of

reaching in with the scraper and you can

just do this with your hand or you can

do it with a spoon whatever you have on

hand and just trying to mix in as much

as the flour is I can get in the bowl

I’m not going to get it all in there by

any means but I can get a fair amount of

it in the bowl which just makes it a

little neater so that you don’t have

flour flying around your kitchen while

you’re kneading and then once I’ve got a

fair amount of it in there I’m just

going to take it out on to the board

and then it’s the same thing that we did

this morning only the dough is even a

little stiffer now than it was this

morning so I’m turning I’m picking up

the corner of the dough with one hand

I’m sort of folding it over and I’m

pressing with the heel of my hand

against the board like that and it’s

going to look really ugly and shaggy and

gnarly for a while that’s just the way

it is don’t be worried about it and I’m

using a pretty fair amount of force to

press down sort of pushing off the balls

on my feet you need it for roughly ten

minutes and what you’re looking for when

you’re kneading the dough is they’re

trying to absorb all of this additional

flour and once you’ve got all of the

flour absorbed into the dough which is

sort of the first half of your kneading

process that’ll be about the first five

minutes of kneading once you get that

all in there you’re going to just keep

kneading the dough and what’s going to

happen is it’s going to start to get

smoother more elastic and develop a

little bit of a shine on the top not a

lot of shine because it’s a very low

hydration dough but you’ll get a little

bit so as you can see the dough is

starting to look a little smoother but I

still have this additional flour to get

in as you keep kneading it what happens

the outside of the dough from being dry

starts to get slightly sticky so you can

just scoop a little bit of the flour

over there and keep kneading the dough

ball onto that little bit of flour and

it will absorb it gradually

the punch down is just to occasionally

you just want to sort of give yourself a

nice big flat sticky surface to start

from again and then I just pull from one

corner over and that’s just developing

the gluten network in the dough

and getting everything distributed

nicely in there I’ve got all the flour

pretty much incorporated in the dough

it’s starting to develop a little bit of

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a shine you can see there’s a little bit

of a shine on the dough it’s starting to

feel smooth sort of the classic thing is

it feels feels like a baby so it’s

starting to feel kind of silky on the

outside it’s developing a skin on the

outside you can see that it’s much much

less shaggy

than it was before and it has amazingly

absorbed all of that flour and it seems

sort of odd to think of a dough that

needs that much flour and it’s very

unusual bagels are really the only dough

that I know of that is this stiff and we

like to make the dough by hand just as I

think I said before because you can make

it in the mixer but you need a really

powerful mixer to do it and there’s the

possibility that you might hurt your

mixer because this is a pretty stiff

dough if this seems a little strenuous

for you and you don’t want to do quite

this much medium you can always start

the dough in your mixer and take it out

and finish it up by hand

you can let it go for about three or

four minutes in your mixer and you just

take it out onto the table and finish it

which will cut down on your time and

your exercise but it’s kind of soothing

it’s just kind of soothing to sit here

and actually touch something that’s

alive like that

so this dough is feeling really good now

it’s nicely silky smooth so I’m just

going to give you a look at it you can

see that the top is looking really good

there it’s kind of springing back it’s

smooth it’s a little blisters on the top

you can see that it’s you know kind of

stretchy if you pull it up so it is done

we’re going to put it in our oiled clean


and we are going to cover it will sheet

of plastic wrap and this is going to go

into the refrigerator overnight so that

you can make bagels first thing when you

get up on Sunday morning

so this is our finished dough we put it

in the refrigerator last night it’s been

proofing very slowly and coolly all

night that’s allowing it to develop a

really nice mature flavor that you

wouldn’t get in just a straight-through

dough that you didn’t refrigerate at all

and now what we’re going to do is well

when we got up in the morning the first

thing we did was he took our dough out

and we let it warm up on the counter for

about an hour and so now we’re going to

divide the dough which Nicole is going

to do twelve twelve bagels alright we’ll

see how evenly I can do that and a

little sticky or no that has been

sitting out night it’s totally different

from the way it looked in the very

beginning yeah I remember how hard that

dough actually was and how hard it was

to get that little final bit of flour in

now the flour has hydrated completely

and it’s actually a really nice

extensible dough it does feel good

alright so this board is a little slippy

not the easiest for cutting them on

actually we’ll see how even like this

and so if you are like a fussbudget and

really precise each one of these is

about 2.5 ounces that’s how much it

makes and these are kind of what I like

to call ordinary sized bagels they’re

not huge and they’re not mini bagels

they’re just enough to have maybe one or

two for breakfast with some cream cheese

and this motion that I’m doing you just

sort of stick the sticky side of the

dough down on the table you put your

hand over it like a cup and you just

sort of wiggle your hand around keeping

the heel of your hand down on the board

and you can feel it start to pull

together in a nice tight little round

and you’ll get it you’ll feel it

immediately after you do one or two it’s

not hard at all just like going back to

when you were a kid you played with

play-doh and then if you look at it it’s

got this little seam on the bottom you

can just pinch that shut or leave it it

doesn’t actually make that much

difference and working on wood makes it

easier anytime you’re forming dough if

you’re on wood it just doesn’t stick

quite as badly the other place the only

thing that that that is the slightest

bit difficult is to just find the

stickiest part on the dough and stick it

to the board

because that’s what actually sort of

suctions it down onto the board and

makes it spin around on its own axis and

make a little ball and there are people

you can do this with both hands

I’ve actually for some reason just never

been that coordinated I just do really

well with one hand I want to try it

she’s not sure yeah because I don’t

think I have the same motion as you know

you’re right

no it’s harder than I think I put my

pressure on them yeah I’m bearing down

pretty hard yeah you do have to bear

down really hard on this because it’s

not it’s not sticky at all

you didn’t find your sticky spot mine’s

not pretty no say I think I’d rather do

it with two hands – all right I’m gonna

try it on my board

but my mouth is moving around I’m used

to doing the two hands at work you guys

know the board’s not sticky you need to

stick your board yeah okay that is not

easy is it to get a perfect a cube or it

is a little flour sorry but I mean do I

have to have it completely as perfect as

those you don’t because we’re just going

to make little rings in um um you are it

sort of helps the Rings hold the nice

shape is the only reason that you make

bowl a nice little skin on the zone so

you’re forming a skin to kind of let it


get strength mm-hmm okay is that all

right mm-hmm

and if you get one that’s been sort of

the old mangled you can just sort of

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fold it over itself which actually makes

it have a little sticky bottom and then

it will come back so the pressure is

really key and then using your fingers

to push it Rams and if you don’t have

you don’t have a sticky spot you can

always just break open the dough ball so

that there is a sticky spot – okay that

was getting better that one is better so

they’re not quite as evenly shaped if I

had scaled them but they’re close enough

some people like little bagels anyway

yes be fine they just have to be

reasonably close to the same size so

they all cook in the same amount of time

but these are fine so now we just cover

them and we let them sit there five

minutes our little dough balls have been

sitting here relaxing for about five

minutes and now we are actually going to

form them into the bay

this is like exciting part so I have a

sheet pan here this is or you can just

have a regular like cookie baking sheet

something with sides is kind of nice and

I’m just going to sprinkle this with

semolina flour and if you don’t have

some Alena flour fine cornmeal is just

fine I’m used both for this and either

one works just fine and all it does is

keeps the bagel from sticking to the

bottom of the pan and it also keeps the

bagel from sticking when you actually

transfer it to the baking sheet or the

baking stone in the oven and so you take

a bagel you put your thumbs through the

middle thumbs through the middle then

you just pretend like you’re a little

kid and you’re working with play-doh and

you just are sort of slightly stretching

it in it when I get the hole about that

big I switch to my to my index finger

and the next big finger and you’re just

sort of going around and around and you

can kind of twist it around as you’re go

in there and your goal is to get the

hole to be between an inch and a half

and two inches and when you put it down

on the pan it’s going to kind of close

back up a little bit but that’s your

goal so there you go

and if you have little kids this would

be a great thing to bring them in at

this point because I can’t imagine that

there aren’t any little kids in the

entire world who would not like to do

this part

and then once we get them all formed and

on the pan we’re just going to cover it

back up with our plastic wrap and hunt

we’re going to let it rise on the

counter for roughly an hour and it’s

pretty warm in here so these probably

won’t have to go quite an hour but

they’re basically going to hold the dent

when you poke them so depending on how

warm your kitchen is that may take a

little longer or a little less time and

it’s gonna you’re going to let them rise

in a relatively warm spot in your

kitchen not steaming hot not like 80

degrees not super cold not like 60

ideally right around you know 70 degrees

but if you just watch them you can have

some variability with your temperature

so the moment of truth has finally come

we’ve shaped our bagels this morning

we’ve had them rising on the counter on

their sheet pan for about an hour and

they’re all nice and poufy now so we

have a pot of boiling water it’s about

four inches of water it’s at a gentle

boil it shouldn’t be a really really

hard boil and this pot will hold about

six bagels at a time so we’re just going

to pick them up and gently drop them

into the water you can tell if they are

ready to go because they will either

float immediately or they’ll sink to the

bottom and they’ll pop back up within 15

seconds so these are completely ready to

go and you’re going to set a timer

you’re going to cook them one minute I

like to use this little spoon I find it

just a round handled wooden spoon is the

easiest thing to use you just flip them

over and you set it for one more minute

couple seconds here so our bagels have

flipped for a minute on each side I just

take them out with the little handle and

you can write back on the same pan

now so I’m going to put on some toppings

I’ve got poppy seeds and salt kosher

salt really coarse big grains of salt

for the tops and also some dried onion

that we’ve actually soaked in water so

it won’t burn immediately and you’ll

stick fighter’ to the top to the onions

you can also use sesame seeds just

whatever your favorite flavour seeds are

and I’m going to do that while Lisa gets

the next batch into the pot of boiling


do these go in now anyone yes I’m gonna

put those in and I’ll just take them

from right there okay

so inside the oven have a/c heated pizza

stone you could also just put these on a

preheated sheet pan how long for the

bagels bagels go 14 need to check our

bagels first batch type it in on the

pizza stone looks like they are really

pretty close I might give them one more

minute to get them really nice and

toasted I like to loosen them up just so

they’re easy to get off you can see

they’ve got really nice brown color

extra minute hey huh these are done

those are some nice-looking bagels

that’s an especially nice one so

although it took about Oh 24 hours to

get these completely to rise and bake

they’re completely worth it as you can I

think you can detect that just in

looking at the texture in these bagels

so the recipe makes a dozen you may not

want to share with people that depends

on how big your family is and all they

need is maybe a little bit of cream

cheese or nothing they’re good just as

they are