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.


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.


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


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


You want to stretch the hole quite a bit,


because it will shrink back like you see above.


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.


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


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.


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.


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


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.


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. Haven’t tried the bagels yet but we loved the pretzels!

    I also wanted to say thanks again for the bread class through the U, I had a great time and learned a lot!

    I have a question though – we made buns out of the deli style rye the other night to go with our sloppy joes. They turned out great except for what seemed to be excessive cracking on the bottom. Not normally an issue with a loaf of bread, but if you’re trying to hold sloppy joes in place, it’s a big deal!!!

    Is there something I could have done differently to reduce the amount of cracks in the bottom of the rolls? (They were about hamburger size.)

  2. Love your book…do you ever get tired of hearing that? Here’s my question, and I apologize if it’s been answered and I missed it: Can you use parchment paper instead of cornmeal or flour on the peel and still get the same results? I find it soooo easy to just slide the loaf on the parchment paper from the peel onto the stone. It never sticks and I don’t have the cornmeal or flour to clean off the stone after baking. I’m worried however, that the bottom of my loaf loses something with this method and possibly the quality of the crumb?

    Unending thanks for your brilliant contribution to the art of baking,


  3. Happy Anniversary!!
    Thanks for your wonderful bread recipes.
    I must admit that I grew up in a large family and only my mother could bake bread. None of us dared to try to fill her role of breadmaker in our household. We loved watching her do European sweet breads filled with walnuts. All of us children would wake up on special holidays such as Easter and Christmas to watch her “beat” the dough and mix it for a long time. A process that had to be just right. There was never really an exact measurement of ingredients. It just had to feel right!The kitchen had to be free from drafts….the temp. had to be just right But, the kitchen smelled wondeful. All the aromas of fresh orange peel, butter and vanilla lingered throughout the kitchen. I never dared to try my own bread making until recently. I went to the library and checked out a ton of books and started slowly to trying variuous bread recipes. Some failed others were great. After many repeated attempts, I slowly got a boost of confidence that bread baking is possible even to do at home. I am impressed with your recipes and how you’ve managed to make them so user friendly . Thanks a whole bunch… a special “thank you” from my husband who loves your bread!

  4. Haha, take me off the book prize list it you have to for this is my second post – but I just have to share –

    I MADE THE BAGELS – and they turned out sooooo good I posted them on my blog for Show and Tell Friday. I HUGELY plugged to this site so more people can come enter.

    I also went by our local Home Hardware yesterday and shared with the owner – she has a massive kitchen section and does live demos and she’s VERY excited and is checking out your book, site etc! She sells a TON of stuff there thru her demos so she’ll be trying to carry your book.

    With the bagels. I used the peasant bread recipe, with flax seeds but – I made the mistake of trying to ‘dip’ them in various toppings (I included flax seeds, oats and pumpkin seeds) There were too many seeds this way, so now I opt to just ‘sprinkle’ them on while the bagel is wet, flip and sprinkle some more.

    They were FANTASTIC.

  5. Angie: This is a crazy coincidence, we made Sloppy Joes last night with little rolls from the book, and we have never made Sloppy Joes before.

    OK, did you wake up at 1:38 Central time having a wierd dream (I can’t remember the content).

    Sorry, now about your question. We didn’t get this cracking. It sounds like you might need a little more shaping to promote cohesiveness before letting them rest. See if that helps and let us know!

  6. Bea: Yep, parchment is fine, go for it!

    Barb: thanks again… if your friend’s store has trouble figuring out how to carry our book, have them e-mail me directly.


  7. I have my first batch of dough rising as I write. I learned about you in the Seattle P.I. and I want to win your book!
    My favorite bread baking memory are the yeasted rolls my grandmother would make for every family gathering…can I make rolls with this recipe?

  8. Neither of my grandmothers was a big cook. But as an adolescent I was paired with a “grandmother” in my church as an intergenerational activity. She taught me to bake bread. I’ve been baking for a good 20 years now, thanks to her. It is an inherently grounding and memory-infused experience, somehow. I am so happy to have found your site.

  9. Congratulations on your Anniversary!! Hopefully we will be buying the next book on the 2nd anniversary! I happened on to it by accident while in Minneapolis leading an Artist’s Roadtrip in January. Bread in my house hasn’t been the same since – Thank you!

    My first attempt at baking bread was when I was in 8th grade. My parents were in Rapid City on a college visit with my older brother. I decided I would teach myself to bake bread. Everything worked well until it came to the 2nd rise – which never happened. I baked the loaves anyway – they were about the size of a frozen bread dough loaf and dense as could be. My little brother, the older bro’s girlfriend and I devoured the first loaf. We then lay around groaning at how much our stomachs felt – that dense bread fell like rocks in our stomachs.

    Too bad I didn’t call Grandma or GreatGrandma at the Farm and had them give me a lesson!

    Fast forward to January 2008, it was love at first sight with your book and I’ve since given 3 of them as gifts. One of which was lost to Hurricane Ike with all my aunt’s possessions. If I am lucky enough to win one, it will be in the mail to her right away – for her new kitchen!

    Thanks a million for such an easy way to make GREAT bread!


  10. Years ago, when I was a stay-at-home mom, I made bread almost every day for about ten years. Then I moved, started a career, my kids got older, and the pace of my life just changed so much that I got away from it… and when the buzz about your book started moving around the net this time last year, I realized – with a really gutwrenching devastation – how much I missed it. I bought the book just after the first of the year and have brought daily bread back into my family’s life, and it’s just such a joy.

    I wrote this piece last Easter; it’s a little too long to include in comments, but I wanted to share it with you.

    Like Ann, I have a list of people who get this book as gifts. The next one in my queue is my public library; that’s where the raffle book would go. Congratulations on on your anniversary – I’m so looking forward to the next book!

  11. I love to bake artisan breads. Why send $4 a loaf when you can make it for pennies.

    My bread story is when I moved into my house the owners before had left their bread machine. I had never used one before so I thought why not? It was not as tasty as as my non machine breads. So, I sent it on to a thrift store. I have not missed it.

    Congrats and I look forward to your next book.

  12. I started baking bread as a young bride(37 years ago) and was self-taught. I am no way a professional bread baker but my love of baking bread gave way to many times sharing my freshly baked bread with neighbors and friends/family. The look on their face made it all worth while and my nieces still talk about it, they are grown now, and that is what baking/cooking is all about….love of baking, love of sharing.

  13. My Mom made a huge batch of bread every weekend without measuring any ingredients. Memories of those mornings of bread baking and the smell of fresh bread and coffee in the kitchen are very precious to me. I wish I had the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a day when my children were small. It would have made it much easier to bake homemade bread so they would have that same sweet memory. I love giving this book as a gift to friend and family to get them in the kitchen making their own homemade bread.

  14. Hi Zoe and Jeff,

    I’ve just come across your website after looking at breadmaker recommendations. My fiance and I are choosing goods for our future home now, and until five minutes ago, I thought I would continue my mother’s habit of baking our wheat-free loaves in a machine.

    Like many posters before me, I have memories of my grandmothers baking bread. My maternal grandmother was a master at domestic crafts and rarely seemed to bake to a recipe. My paternal grandmother died before I was born, but I have a rare photo of her next to the outdoor clay oven that my dad built for her on the family farm. No electricity in those days!

    My best memory of bread, though, is from just after my parents’ separation, when my mother and I were dirt-poor and hungry. A friend arranged for us to pick up a local bakery’s artisan leftovers at the end of each day. I felt like we had said to God, “We have no bread,” and He replied, “Well, let them eat cake!”

  15. mm I can taste it now.. my Great-Grandmothers bread.. I tried a few times to make her recipe but never the same.. so I look forward to trying your recipes : ) My sister has just taken a loaf of your bread out of her oven and said it not only smells divine but tastes it too.

  16. I LOVE to make bread. I do use my machine quite a bit and we have made our own butter for a pioneer themed party. (a marble and cream in a jar)
    I really would love the book!

  17. wow i think im making bagels today!

    we make bread every day
    and while i enjoy the process and dont mind that it takes a while
    i cant wait to get my hands on this book!!!!
    its on my chirstmas list at the top

  18. Congratulations on your books anniversary! I have two teenage boys that went vegan almost three years ago. I’m one of those cooks that used to cook every thing from scratch. I had to learn how to cook all over again when my boys went vegan. At that time, I lost my passion for cooking almost every thing, but I never lost my passion for baking bread. That is one food I feel as a family we can all enjoy. Please pick my family to win a copy of your extraordinary book.
    Thank you J.C.

  19. ACK! I can’t leave a comment about my break-making experience because I haven’t had much experience! BUT, I CAN say that with all the blog-reading I do, this book is all the rave and it’s on my Christmas list!! YUM!!!!!!

  20. Looking back, my love affair with making bread actually began with learning how to make butter. I was probably in 4th grade at Creslea Park Elementary in Linwood, NJ, when we learned how to churn our own butter, and then miraculously we each made and baked a very basic mini loaf of bread. This was all accomplished in the lunch room and kitchen of our beloved school. The smells and tastes from that 49 year old memory are as clear and comforting today as they were that day.
    Your book has helped me to relive moments I hadn’t thought about for years, and I thank you for that!
    Congratulations on your well deserved success, and my current and 4th grade self are seriously looking forward to your next book. Peace.

  21. Congratulations on your 1 year anniversary! I absolutely cannot WAIT for your next book to be published! I am a whole wheat bread person to the core, and I’m looking forward to seeing how I can make some whole-wheat, seeded breads in the same fashion as the french breads!

    I have no memory of fresh, home-made breads from my childhood. Neither my mother, aunt, nor my grandmothers were much into baking bread. I DO remember my maternal grandmother purchasing fresh Vienna Bread from the local bakery. There was nothing better than that crisp crust and the chewy crumb of that bread!

    Fast forward to college. I got a wonderful recipe for whole-wheat bread made int the food processor from a home-economics alumnus of my small, liberal-arts college. After I was married, I frequently made that loaf, which my husband adored.

    Later, my husband’s former supervisor gave me his late wife’s Bosch mixer, and I got a recipe for making 5(!) loaves of wonderful, 14-grain whole wheat bread in about 10 minutes (plus rising and baking) time. They are delicious and get rave reviews, but they don’t have the crispy crust that I crave when I make Italian dishes.

    After hearing about your book last year (and NOT receiving it for Christmas), I purchased a book of my own. After reading the book, I couldn’t wait to try the recipes! I mixed up a batch of dough, and couldn’t wait to try it. One night, after the kids were in bed I could wait no longer, and I pulled out the first of the batch and baked it. It was beautiful. My husband took one bite of it and SHOOK MY HAND! He has always raved about my cooking, but the bread brought tears to our eyes.

    Since that night, I have made countless batches of dough. There is almost always a bowl of dough in the fridge waiting to be formed and baked. All of our children are THRILLED when they know that I am baking bread (or using the dough for pizzas on the grill) for the evening meal.

    I fantasize about having a small refrigerator where I can keep bowls of the boule, brioche and peasant loaves at my disposal for any time (there just isn’t room in the main fridge for that many bowls of dough).

    I have introduced bread-baking to my mother. I think she might have been intimidated by traditional bread baking. I made some dough with her for the first time at my parents’ cabin in northern Arizona (ca. 7,500 ft.). We were concerned about the yeast in the high altitude, but the bread turned out very well. Since then, she has made several more batches on her own, and used the dough for pizza, too.

    Thanks again for the book, and for helping to create wonderful memories for MY children! I look forward to teaching them to make the bread, so when they go to college, they can amaze their friends with delicious, fresh home-made bread!

  22. First, congratulations on your first book.
    I don’t remember when I first started baking bread. I do remember that my first breads were rather hit and miss as to weather they would be edible. When my husband and I started having kids we didn’t have much money since we decided I should stay home with the kids. We didn’t have the money to buy the good bread at the stores. So I started making my own bread instead of buying Aldis bread. Now although we have more money the cost of food is so high we still cannot afford to buy the good bread at the rate my children would like to eat it. So unless I have the time inbetween working and caring for the kids and the house and cooking we simply don’t get bread. Now though with your wonderful book we can once again have it regularly. Thank you.
    I only have one question. I made the basic dough but didn’t measure. I made it according to how you said the dough would look. It turned out great. I then made the deli rye dough. It is currently rising. I measured it carefully. I have never made rye bread before so I thought careful measuring would be best on the first time. It is much stiffer. More so than the first dough. Is it normal for it to be stiffer than the basic dough? It is also taking longer than the basic dough to rise.

  23. Congratulations on your 1st anniversary! Just got my copy friday, bought the items I needed yesterday, and am making bread today!! Super excited. I have 5 daughters, and they LOVE to work in the kitchen with me. All are excited to start baking the recipes in this book 🙂

  24. Thanks for the recipe for bagels! I have to admit-I never considered making my own, and here in the middle of small-town Kansas, there is nowhere to buy fresh ones. So this recipe will be a real treat to try.

    My memory is of watching my mom making bread. I was always the scrawny, skinny ‘baby’ sister, so I never did any kneading. But I loved the smell of it baking, and the taste of butter spread on fresh-baked bread, still warm from the oven is one of the best tastes in the world. If I don’t win your book, I shall have to go buy it!

  25. Love your post, always come away hungry.
    As for a bread story, my aunt had a bakery/catering business that she ran out of her house. Of all the breads she made her yeast dough sweet rolls were the most memorable. Besides being as big as my small head at the time and delicious, she made the dough in mass in a clean 30 gallon plastic trash can. The dough would rise throughout the day like some sci fi creature and just hypnotize me. That dough and my aunt letting me help her is why I work in the business today.

  26. Congrats on such a good year! My favorite memory of bread is coming home from school and being greeted by the smell of fresh baked bread as I walked through the door and my mom with a plate in hand topped with a thick slice of hot bread slathered in butter. Mmmm…nothing gets better than that!

  27. Congratulations on your anniversary.

    I don’t have memories of making bread. No one I know makes their bread. It’s all store bought.

    In the past, I’ve made a few items using yeast, mostly only cinnamon rolls. I purchased a bread machine for my mother one year for Christmas and liked the bread but didn’t like the bread at the same time. It broke and we never got it fixed.

    I began to read about your book on several blogs and became interested. I checked at a book store but they didn’t have your book in at the time so I checked my local library. No book. Then I remembered that they do inter library loan and found your book and ordered it. I wanted to try out the recipes first because I was didn’t believe that making bread could be that easy. I’ve made several batches of bread and then had to return the book. I’ve made several more batches and find that it really is that easy to make delicious bread.

    I think I’ll be making a stop at the book store again to see if they have your book in. I’d love to make bread for the Holidays.

  28. My mother-in-law always made homemade bread for her family. Since I get married, I always wanted to learn how to make my own bread, because I know how my husband loves it, but it seemed so complicated…Then I discovered this blog and your wonderful method!! Thank you for sharing your “secrets”!

  29. I’m just a beginner at bread baking. I bought my kitchenaid mixer a few years ago and have only made bread from the recipe in the kitchenaid book…oh and I have attempted to make large pretzels…does that count. I’d love to branch out. Bagels are one of my favorites and I have never thought about making them from scratch…why not??

  30. May Canadians enter?

    When my brother and I were young my mom occasionally baked bread with us. One thing I remember is making teddy-bear-shaped bread and decorating it with raisins (the raisins ended up burnt, though, so we always picked them out when we were eating it).

  31. you guys rock! I tried the master recipe over the weekend and it was a success considering that it was my first attempt ever to bake bread=) Thanks for being generous in sharing your recipe online. =)

  32. Congrats on your anniversary!!! Just found your blog through Amazon. I have heard a lot of good about your book. Also enjoyed watching all the bagel baking photos. 🙂 Poppy seeds are the best topping ever… on any bread! I hope I win a book… or that Santa brings me one. Good luck with your next book. I bet it will be great.

  33. I very recently found your recipe and can’t wait to get your book. . .this dough of yours is absolutely amazing. I have been baking bread for 30 years. . since I got married and this is hands down the best recipe for bread I have ever had.

    Thanks so much. . .I can’t wait till I open my book under the Christmas tree.

  34. I love your book, my famiily loves homemade bread, but I don’t have the time now I do. thanks a bunch & congratulations on the anniversary. wonderful

  35. Happy Anniversary and congratulations on your book. I am excited to try the bagel recipe.

    My bread story didn’t start with my mother. She was allergic to gluetin so she taught us to bake cookies and other things. However, my mother-in-law taught me to make bread when I first got married. She has a 12 loaf recipe that she used to make bread when she would feed 27 men who helped on their farm during summers and harvest. We have adapted it to a 4 loaf one. I enjoy trying new recipes and baking. It smells so good!!! and now is so much more cost effective as well. My husband love it when I bake bread so I am excited to try some of your recipes. Sound like a great book.

  36. Now that the weather has gotten cold, I have started amking the bread with full force once again. Over the weekend I made the basic recipe, brioche and yesterday I made a batch of the deli-rye.I gave a loaf to me 89 year old mother in law, and once again her and my brother in law are raving about it! Since I have not been giving the bread away for the past few months, my family acts like they have never had it before. I can’t believe I have been making these recipes for almost a year. Time sure flies.

  37. This is a fantastic website!! I can’t wait to get a copy of your book…so, here’s my bread story.

    When I was 16 I started baking bread…you know, the plain ‘ol whole wheat yeast kind. But, our family loved it! I would make four loaves for our family of five, but one loaf always got eaten as soon as it came out of the oven. Fresh hot bread, sliced and buttered…no one could stay away from the kitchen while it was baking. Not only was it economical that we baked it ourselves, but of course it tasted better and was so much healthier than the mass produced bread. My sister and I were the bakers in the house…mom liked to cook good healthy meals, but when it came to baking she just didn’t have the time. So, my sister was the sweets baker and I was the bread baker. I’m trying to make bread baking in my house a priority now…but of course, the two hour yeast kind of bread requires too much time. I have two jobs, two boys still at home and a husband who is disabled…not much time for baking. It looks like your baking methods will allow me the pleasure of returning to making bread for my family!! I’m so excited to see bread making made simple. Thank you for your wonderful efforts to get others baking again!

  38. I know it’s in the book but can’t find it again…can you substitute regular salt for Kosher?

    My grandma baked bread and cinnamon rolls for us after school but always using frozen dough so I never learned how to make it from scratch. I kept trying different recipes, but never seemed to have the right touch…it was always too dry or too sticky or didn’t make a nice crust.

    Made my first loaf from your book last night and it wonderful. It was a cold day so it probably could have risen longer but even so the children still inhaled it and I am now sad that I hedged my bets and halved the recipe as I will clearly need to stir up some more dough in a day or two. My son & husband are clamoring for me use the last of the dough for another loaf but my daughter is begging me to wait for it to develop into a sourdough. I can’t wait to try cinnamon rolls, with my children helping on a stool at my elbow just like me & grandma. Thanks so much for this book!

  39. Hi Jeff and Zoe – I don’t know how to just email you LOL – so I’m just leaving this message here for you. I came across a site today which you may be interested in for promoting your book, looks pretty cool!

    I saw it on DIGG – your book OUGHT to be there!

  40. My first memory of baking bread is when I was about 4 or 5. I was standing on a chair in my grandmother’s old farmhouse kitchen learning to make her famous clover leaf rolls. I remember how sticky the dough felt on my fingers. And how hard it was to roll perfect little balls. Mine were definitely more artistic than grandma’s. Even today, my rolls never look as perfect as hers. I wish she were still here to tell me her secret more time – maybe this time I’d remember.

  41. My memory of baking bread is a bit different from other folks–my grandmother never baked bread (living in NYC, home to many good bakeries) and my mother baked only one loaf for a home ec. class in college.

    When I went away to college, the Presbyterians had added a new kitchen to their church across the road from William and Mary, and instead of tearing out the old kitchen, they let any students use it, regardless of their religious preference or lack thereof. Albert “Raf” Rafanelli would bake bread there and share it with those of us who were studying. And at my request, he showed me how to make his recipe. To this day, I make bread by feel, rather than by an exact recipe. And I’m happy to report that a group of students and recent graduates at another state university, Virginia Tech, have started a bread co-op to bake and share loaves. Although I’m not their contemporary, they invited me to join them and for the past month, I’ve been baking for the first time in years. I’m happy to report that baking bread is something like riding a bicycle–it’s as if I never stopped. I discovered your site when one of the members of the co-op sent me a link to the blog where he got his rye bread recipe and that blog credited your book as the source.


    And here’s my recipe:

  42. Congrats!!!!!
    Just came to this page from another blog….how great is this. Can’t wait to get your book and try all the great breads. Never had fresh baked bread in our home growing up. But I took a job after the kids got in school at the school cafeteria. What an experence that was!!!

    Hot rolls from scratch..yum yum. Pizza dough made by my hands…how great that felt. That was the best pizza ever. I still remember the kids coming up to us and wanting more rolls, more pizza, more pigs-in-a-blanket, more crust for the chicken pot pie. What memories!!!
    I’m now retired and am ready to try your wonderful recipe.
    Thanks for opening me up to the idea of baking again.


  43. I’ve heard such amazing things about your cookbook! Unfortunately bread and I are practically mortal enemies. the first step toward embracing my inner bread baker?

  44. I, as most have memories of Mom baking bread. Hers was a sweet dough, done completely by hand.

    My baking experience really was an offshoot of brewing beer. I have always liked to cook, but felt the baking was more drudgery. I think a slogan I saw at a festival, that beer was “liquid bread”, made me laugh and think at the same time. From there my bread making started. With recipes from “Joy of Cooking”, to “Beard on Bread”. The loaves were nothing special, but working with live ingredients, and having varied results was the reward, because when it came out great, it was the incentive to keep baking. It is almost like golf. You don’t always hit the perfect shot, but when you do, wow, it brings you back.

    So I graduated to reading Reinhart, and making sourdough starters, and a couple of weeks ago, made my first batch of bagels.

    There is peace in baking. Time for work, and time to reflect. It is a gentle hobby.

  45. I’ve baked bread on and off. I particularly enjoy the smell of rosemary focaccia filling up my house. Warm bread, some olive tapenade – aah I think I need to make some.

    Congrats on the anniversary.

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