Plain Bagels

Use this basic bagel recipe as a blank canvas for painting with your favorite kitchen ingredients.

by Lori Rice
Recipe: Plain Bagels - Photo by Lori Rice (

This bagel recipe provides a base for creative baking. Make the recipe as is for plain bagels. Add a few tablespoons of dried fruit or nuts to the dough for sweeter breakfast bagels, or top them with sesame seeds to use as buns for your favorite sandwiches.

Yield: 8 bagels



  • 1¼ cups plus 3 to 4 T. water
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 2¼ tsp. active dry yeast
  • 3½ cups bread flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • olive oil to coat bowl
  • 3 quarts water for boiling

Egg wash

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 T. water
  • 8 T. topping options (sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, poppy seeds, caraway seeds, chopped nuts)

Heat 1¼ cups water to 105 to 115 degrees F. Mix warmed water, sugar and yeast in small glass bowl. Let sit for 5 minutes, until yeast blooms.

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Add flour to bowl of stand mixer fitted with dough-hook attachment. Turn to low and pour in yeast. Add salt and turn to medium speed, gently scraping bowl as needed.

Add extra water 1 tablespoon at a time, until dough comes together to form ball. You should be able to touch dough without it sticking to your hand, but all dry ingredients should be incorporated.

Turn dough onto floured surface and knead for 3 to 5 minutes, until dough is smooth. Form into ball and place in plastic or glass bowl lightly coated with olive oil. Cover with dish towel and let rise for about 1 hour, until at least doubled in size.

Punch down dough, cover it with clean dish towel and let rise for 20 more minutes. Turn dough onto floured surface and knead back into smooth ball. Using dough scraper or serrated knife, cut dough into eight equal pieces.

Form dough pieces into balls.  Poke finger through center of dough ball to create hole. Gently stretch bagel so hole is about 1/2 inch in diameter.

Place bagels on greased baking sheet or baking sheet lined with silicone mat. Place only four to six bagels per baking sheet, leaving at least 2 inches between to allow for spreading.

Cover with damp dish towel or plastic wrap with the bottom side coated in olive oil. Let rest for 10 minutes.

In large pot, bring 3 quarts water to boil. Boil each bagel for 1 to 2 minutes on each side. (The longer you boil, the chewier they will be.)

Remove bagels from water with slotted spoon. Place bagels back on baking sheets. For plain bagels, whisk egg and 1 tablespoon water in small dish. Brush each bagel lightly with egg wash. While bagels are still wet but just cool enough to touch, dip tops into your desired toppings. Place them topping side up on baking sheet.

Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, until golden brown. Store in airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 day. Freeze in freezer-safe container or bag for up to 1 month.


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