Homemade bagels? We never even imagined making homemade bagels until our good friend Chris (Mr. Here to some) was visiting one weekend and offered to whip up a batch for breakfast! Turns out, he worked at two different Long Island bagel shops when he was a college student, so he really knew what he was doing! And oh boy, these were the very best bagels we’d ever had – crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside – absolutely delicious. Ever since we’ve been making our own bagels from his recipe. We especially love them with sharp cheddar and sliced olives, but you can add any topping you like. Fantastic for breakfast, lunch or dinner! They are amazing served with a single slice of garden-fresh tomato in the middle!
The process for making these bagels has four primary steps:
1. Make the dough and let it rest
2. Shape the bagels and let them rest and rise
3. Boil the bagels in a big kettle of water with a dash of molasses in it before baking them (this step is what gives the bagels the crunchy exterior)
4. Garnish the bagels with the toppings and bake them in the oven for 15-20 minutes
But don’t worry too much, it doesn’t take all day. You can serve warm bagels within 1.5 hours of when you start the whole process. This isn’t a dough that needs to rise for hours, but rather for just about 10-15 minutes each time. This really cuts down on the waiting time. Also, you only boil them for 45 seconds on each side in 4 batches, so that is a breeze and finally they only bake for 15-20 minutes and you are ready to roll.
Because of the toasted sharp cheddar on top of these bagels, you really don’t even need any cream cheese or schmear, but you can certainly add any spread you like. And, by all means you can use any sweet or savory topping you like!
Here are just a few topping suggestions:
1 cup grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese
Everything Bagel Seasoning (Trader Joe’s packages a good one)
Finely chopped garlic
Finely chopped onion
Let your imagination be your guide!
Cheddar & Olive Bagels
- Large soup pot
- 2 baking sheets
- 1 cooking rack
- 1 1/2 cups warm water (at 110-115°F)
- 1 tablespoon dry active yeast
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon dark molasses
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 4 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 cup cornmeal for lining the baking sheets, not for the dough.
- 6 quarts water
- 1 teaspoon dark molasses
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup sliced green olives (Greek or Castelvetrano)
- 1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
- Fill large kettle or soup pot to within 3-4 inches of the top with water and bring to a boil.
- Add 1 teaspoon molasses and 1 teaspoon salt to the water.
- Turn water to low and simmer until ready to boil bagels.
- Place yeast, sugar, and hot water (110-115°F) in a large bowl.
- Gently whisk and let stand for about 5 minutes, until bubbly.
- Stir in oil, molasses and once cup of the flour. Mix well.
- Add salt and enough remaining flour to make a stiff dough. (Note- you may not need all of the flour.)
- Knead the dough for 8 minutes on a lightly floure surface. Cover and let rest for about 15 minutes.
- Divide the dough into 8 even pieces and roll between palms to form each into a 10-inch long strip. Form a circle and press the ends together to make a whole circle. Be sure to make a good seam by pressing the dough together tightly where the ends meet.
- Place bagels on a lightly floured surface, cover and let rest and rise for another 10-15 minutes. They will be slightly puffy.
Boiling the Bagels
- Bring kettle water back to a boil and preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Line another baking sheet or cutting board with a clean kitchen towel, for placing the bagels on after they’ve been boiled.
- Place bagels in boiling water, two at a time, and boil for 45 seconds . Flip over with a slotted spoon and continue to boil for another 45 seconds.
- Remove bagels from water and place on the towel lined baking sheet to drain.
- Repeat with remaining bagels.
Baking the Bagels
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and sprinkle generously with corn meal.
- When the boiled bagels are cool enough to handle, transfer them to the prepared baking sheets.
- Generously sprinkle the grated cheddar cheese on top of each bagel.
- Arrange sliced olives over the cheese.
- Bake 15-20 minutes, or until bagels seem just baked inside and crispy on the outside. The cheese will be golden brown.
- Remove bagels from the oven and cool on a wire rack.
- Eat while fresh from the oven! Or, you can pre-slice them and freeze them for serving at a later time. They last for several weeks up to a month in the freezer. When ready to serve, thaw them out and toast them in the toaster oven.