Bagels (a dedication to the late Murray Lender)

Most Americans were introduced to bagels through the frozen bagged bagels by Lender’s. In all honesty the bagels in a bag weren’t all that great, but they made the doughnut shaped breads a household staple. People no longer had to search for a Jewish bakery to find them. Today Murray Lender died and in honor of the man who put the bagel on the American map, we are sharing our recipe for making bagels at home. They are crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside and so easy to make.

Preheat the oven to 450° with a pizza stone on the top rack. (Yes, this is different than the book.)

Also have ready a cookie sheet lined with a clean kitchen towel that is dusted with flour.

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Form several 3 ounce balls of dough, as you can see they are about the size of a head of garlic. I used the Master recipe here, but you can also use the Bagel recipe, Montreal Bagels, Whole Wheat or any other non-enriched dough from the book for this. Cover the balls loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rest for about 20 minutes or until they no longer feel chilled.

While they are resting bring to a boil:

8 quarts of water

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

Have ready:

Sesame seeds, poppy seeds or any other toppings you may want for your bagels.  There were strong opinions expressed on Twitter about the toppings for bagels, let us know what your favorites are.

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Once they have rested, dust the ball in flour and poke a hole in the center using your thumbs.

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Continue to stretch the hole and add more flour if the cut part of the dough gets sticky.

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You want to stretch the hole quite a bit,

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because it will shrink back like you see above.

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Place the bagels in the water, get as many as will fit without crowding. Boil for 1 minute, then flip over and boil for another 30 seconds.

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Scoop out the bagels with a slotted spoon and allow the water to drain off.

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Place on the towel covered cookie sheet. Continue the last 3 steps with the rest of the bagels. If you are doing more than 2 boiling batches, you will need to get those first two batches in the oven and then continue with the rest.

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Carefully lift the boiled bagels and dip them on both sides with your topping. If you are using something that may burn easily like onions or garlic then only coat the top of the bagel and dust the peel with flour. If you are using seeds then you don’t need the additional flour on your peel.

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If you are using seeds then you don’t need the additional flour on your peel.

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Slide the bagels into the preheated oven, add the water to a broiler tray to create steam. bake for about 25-30 minutes, until golden brown and crisp.

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Serve them slightly warm with anything you like!  A bagel cutter can be a helpful and safer tool for cutting bagels than using a knife.



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315 thoughts on “Bagels (a dedication to the late Murray Lender)

  1. My first attempt at making bagels with the New ABin5 recipe was very easy and came out very well. The only problem I encountered was that the bottom middles did not bake very well. I ended up flipping them over and baking for an additional 5 minutes. I only made 5 to start with to make sure I knew what I was doing. It was several days later before I made up the rest of the bagels. This time, I tried to make the holes larger so that the post boiling holes would be wider and not require extra baking and flipping. This helped but it resulted in a much skinnier and flatter bagel. I don’t know if the flatter result was due to the extra stretching or perhaps the age of the dough. I would like to take these bagels with me to an overnight family gathering about 4 hours away. I don’t want to transport the dough or mix it up when I get there. If I were to prepare the bagels through the boiling and then drained on wire racks, added the toppings and then froze them and wrapped in parchment paper and plastic wrap, should they be okay to thaw and bake the next day? If I bake them all the way and then freeze them, how long should they last in the freezer? Thanks in advance for your help! I have really enjoyed exploring recipes in the book. I love that I don’t have to keep a starter going every week and can wait until my schedule fits to start a new batch.

    1. Hi Melissa,

      This is such an interesting question. Boiling them stimulates the yeast and it needs to be baked right away, so you will need to bake them all the way and freeze them if you want to make them ahead of time. You can slightly under bake them, so they are baked, but just not as dark as usual. Let them cool and then freeze them. You’ll want to put them in a couple plastic bags and they’ll freeze for a couple weeks. When you are ready to bake, just take them out of the freezer and pop them into a preheated oven and toast them for about 10 minutes.

      Thanks, Zoë

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