homemade plain bagels

Ever since I moved to the country :o) about 5 years ago now, I have had serious bagel withdrawals.

Yes, I know I can buy bagels at any grocery store, but they are just not the same thing as real new york style bagels from a real-deal bagel shop (like Noah's!).

I stock up when I go to the city, even asking for par-baked bagels sometimes, but I knew there just had to be a better (and cheaper) way!

I finally decided to buck up and try to make my own, and man am I glad I did.

These gorgeous, easy bagels are chewy, dense, crispy and so satisfying!

I'm not saying I won't be visiting my favorite bagel shop when I am in the city, but I will definitely be making these at home often!

(Also, in case you were wondering...  bagels freeze wonderfully!  And here's your bagel-freezing tip of the day:  Whether they are from the store, or homemade, make sure you slice them before you freeze them.  That way you can grab one out, pop it in the toaster and voilá...  you have a fresh, perfect bagel!)

Homemade Plain Bagels Recipe
adapted from An Epic Change
makes 12 bagels

3 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/3 cups warm water (about 105ºF), plus a bit more
1 tablespoon butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 cups all-purpose flour

In the bowl of your stand mixer, dissolve the yeast with the sugar and warm water and let sit for 5 minutes, until the yeast is foamy.

Dump in the butter, salt & flour and mix with the dough hook attachment until the dough is smooth, elastic & tough...  At least 10 minutes.  (If the dough is not wanting to come together, or looks too dry, add water a tablespoon or so at a time, until the dough has come together).

Drizzle a bit of oil or melted butter on top of the ball of dough, turning once to coat, and then cover the mixer bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm draft-free place.  (Unless it's the middle of summer, I usually wrap the bowl in a blanket and then place the whole bundle under the covers in my bed!  Works like a charm!).

Let the dough rise until double, 30-60 minutes, depending on how warm your house is.  Once the dough looks twice as big and you can gently press two fingers in the center of the dough and the indentation stays, it is ready.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and gently knead a few times.  Divide the dough into 12 equal portions and form each one into a ball.

Take the first ball and press a hole through the center with your thumb, turning in the edges and stretching it a bit to get a nice bagel-sized hole.  Repeat with all of the dough balls, placing them onto a floured board when they are done.

Cover the board loosely with plastic wrap and let the bagels rest for 30 minutes or so.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425ºF and bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Once the bagels have rested, drop 2 or 3 at a time into the boiling water.  Let them boil for 1 minute or so and then flip them over and boil the other side for another minute or so.

Remove them to a parchment-lined and lightly greased baking sheet, and repeat with all the dough.

If you are going to top your bagels with anything, now is the time to do it...  actually a few minutes ago...  as soon as they come out of the boiling water.

Once you have 6 bagels on a baking sheet (you will have 12 bagels, so you need 2 baking sheets!), place the tray into the oven to bake for 18 minutes or so, until the bagels are nicely golden brown.

Let the bagels cool completely and then store them in an airtight container.  If you are not going to eat them all in the first day or two, slice them in half and freeze them for freshness!

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