Bagels That Chew

Yields: 12 Servings Difficulty: Medium Prep Time: 1 Hr 30 Mins Cook Time: 30 Mins Total Time: 2 Hr

Growing up on the west coast, I didn’t have a proper New York bagel until I visited for work in my 20’s. I may have had one when we went for my aunt’s wedding when I was 8, but my only strong memories of that visit are 1- The rats in our hotel room and 2- Me standing up under my mom’s wine glass at the reception, spilling the contents down the front of her bridesmaid dress. (My mom drinks white, but still…)

Back to the bagels-

We had a bagel shop in my hometown (Homegrown Bagels) and breakfast or lunch from there was always a treat. They’ve expanded the menu from bagels to bialys, and now to pizza, challah, and all sorts of bready goodness. Even before I left the US, I hadn’t stepped foot inside in almost a decade. Bagels are all about chew and gluten-free isn’t great at that. I’d love to say that I’ve created the perfect GF bagel recipe, but I haven’t. I’ve tried several times and I’ve only managed to replicate the weird cafeteria bagels of my high school years. The kind that were really only edible because they were served dripping with melted butter.

With our weird lockdown/Tier 4 situation we weren’t allowed to meet anyone for Christmas this year. We decided to push things a little and share breakfast over the fence with our next door neighbors. My husband suggested bagels and scrambled eggs, but the neighbors and I (all American) vetoed that in favor of bagels, cream cheese, and smoked salmon. You can buy bagels in supermarkets here, but they’re pretty much just a round roll with a hole in the middle. Sweeter than necessary and very soft. I decided that gluten-ing my kitchen for a single day would be okay. It was Christmas, after all.

You guys, I’m so glad I did. Gluten-full baking is so relaxing! The dough behaves just like you expect it to. It stretches, then snaps back. It doesn’t fail utterly if you look at it funny. I’ve since made bagels a few more times. I haven’t eaten any (definitely not worth the tummy trouble) but have had rave reviews.

Don’t be scared by the 90 minutes of prep time. Most of that is rising time. You can do this in your stand mixer with the dough hook, but it might be too much for your motor to handle. My Kitchen Aid Artisan does great at the mixing part, but struggles with the kneading so I finish it by hand on the countertop.


0/11 Ingredients
Adjust Servings
    For the Dough
  • For Boiling
  • Optional Toppings


0/13 Instructions
  • Rub the inside of a large bowl with olive or vegetable oil. I prefer to use a food-safe plastic bucket with a lid, but a salad bowl or big tupperware will do nicely. Set aside for now.
  • In a small bowl or large mixing cup, gently stir your yeast, sugar, and about half your warm water. Let sit for about 5 minutes. It should be foamy. If it isn't, your yeast has expired and you need to buy new. Sorry.
  • Meanwhile, mix your flour and salt together in a large bowl. Make a well in the center. Add your yeast mixuture plus about half of your remaining warm water and stir to combine. Drizzle remaining water in, bit by bit. You might not use all of it. Your goal is a firm dough that is moist but not sticky.
  • Time to knead! If your stand mixer is up for the challenge, turn it to a medium-low speed and sprinkle in a bit of additional flour. About a teaspoon at a time. When the new flour stops being worked in and just sits on the surface of the dough or bowl it's done. If you're kneading by hand, turn your dough out onto a floured countertop, sprinkling additional flour as needed. Knead until you have a smooth and elastic dough. If you poke a finger in the dough should spring back up and fill the hole you just made.
  • Squash your dough into a ball sort of shape and place in your oiled bowl/tub/bucket, turning over once to coat. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp tea towl and set in a warm place for about an hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.
  • Punch the dough down (honestly, just push at it with your fist a few times until it deflates down), cover, and put back in its warm place for 10 more minutes.
  • Prepare your baking trays by covering with parchment paper. I can fit 6 on a normal sized cookie sheet in my tiny oven, and that works great for baking in two batches.
  • Divide your rested dough into 12 equal pieces. Form each piece into a ball, then poke your finger through the middle and gently stretch until the hole is about 2 ½" in diameter. Place formed dough on your prepared baking sheets. Cover with a damp tea towel and set aside for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 220C/450F. Now prepare your waterbath. Bring a wide pan of water to a simmer. I use a dutch oven, but that's more about surface area than depth. Once simmering, add the molasses and sea salt.
  • Working in batches, and being careful not to overload the pan, place your bagels into the simmering water. Cook for 2 minutes and then carefully turn over. Simmer for an additional 2 minutes on the second side, then place back on the baking tray.
  • Now is the time to add an egg wash or any toppings to your still wet bagels. An egg wash will make them a little shiny and help seeds and such stick. You can skip the egg wash and just pat any toppings in a little. You can also skip any sort of egg wash or toppings and bake as is. They'll still be lovely.
  • Place your baking sheet in your preheated oven and bake 20-22 minutes, until nicely golden. Let cool at least 5 minutes before slicing and filling with whatever your heart desires. My favorite is cream cheese, turkey, and sprouts...but you do you.
  • Fully cooled bagels can be sealed in a ziploc and frozen for up to two months. I like to slice them first so they can go straight from freezer to toaster.