Now that I have this brand spankin’ new site, I felt that it was time to update some of my older recipes with fresh photos and copy. I have been making these New York style bagels pretty regularly, but the photos from two years ago really aren’t doing these bad boys justice. Now, what exactly is a New York style bagel? A New York style bagel is actually the original bagel to be served in the US and originated in the lower east side. There are several characteristics that set a New York style bagel aside from other bagels but the main one is boiling the bagels. A New York style bagel is always boiled in water with barley malt and it gives the bagels their characteristic shiny crust and chew.
I grew up eating bagels. Usually from a bag from the grocery store, sometimes from a little nothing-special corner shop. I always liked bagels, but never felt like I understood the religious-style hype. It wasn’t until I went to NYC for the first time that I truly understood their majesty. For everyone who believes that bagged grocery store bagels are akin to handmade New York style bagels– you are just wrong. Sorry, there’s no ifs, ands, or buts about it. Until you’ve had the hand-crafted gluten goodness that is a warm bagel, you simply have not lived. And while you may think that great bagels are unachievable in the home kitchen, I am here to prove you wrong.
Like most of my doughs and recipes, there is a lot of passive waiting time in between each part of the process. A long, slow ferment allows for maximum flavor development in the bagels and will help create a crisp, glossy skin. Start the bagels on a Saturday morning and enjoy with a hot cup of joe on Sunday morning smothered in cream cheese, or as a stacked breakfast sandwich (or both! I don’t judge). No recipe is foolproof, but if you follow my tips below, you’ll be eating warm bagels fresh out of the oven in no time!
tips for baking NY style bagels
FLOUR. You should be using a flour with a high protein content. All purpose flour simply won’t cut it and won’t develop the appropriate amount of gluten for a nice, tight crumb. Find out which flour that’s available to you has the highest protein content. I find that King Arthur flour has a good percentage and is generally readily available.
MIXING. Bagel dough requires a ton of mixing and so I do not recommend doing this by hand unless you have kneading endurance like a beast. This will even be difficult work for your stand mixer, in the ballpark of at least 20 minutes. If you want to use a food processor, which will work the dough more quickly, that’s possible. But you will have to do the initial rise with yeast, sugar, water and half of the flour. That mixture would then be added to the food processor with the remaining flour, diastatic malt powder, and salt and mixed until a smooth dough is achieved.
SHAPING. Now, there are plenty of experienced bakers who prefer the loop method. This is where each portion of dough is rolled into a rope and looped around your hand and rolled along the seam to seal the two sides of the dough together. I’ve attempted this method, and it works okay, but usually i end up with very ugly bagels–not smooth and glossy bagels. Therefore, I have found that the “hole poke” method is the easiest for the average person making bagels. Each portion of dough is rolled into a tight ball, allowed to rest (covered), and then you poke a hole through the center and use your fingers to enlarge it. The important part here is to make the hole large enough. It’s going to look too large when you do it, but keep in mind that the bagels will swell when they boil and then when they bake. Check out my little time lapse video below!
BOILING. Boiling bagels is part of the secret to delicious NY bagels. A lot of folks use a mixture of water and barley malt syrup but I take it one step further and add a bit of baking soda to my water mixture for a beautiful golden brown crust. It is extremely important that your water be lightly boiling so that it’s hot enough to penetrate the dough. Adding your bagels to simply steaming water will result in small, dense, and tough bagels.
BAKING AND TOPPING. After the bagels come out of the water, they will be at their maximum stickiness so that’s the time to add your toppings. I opted for everything seasoning (everything bagels are scientifically proven to be the best bagels). I have all the ingredients for everything bagel spice, but honestly I just use the Trader Joe’s Everything But the Bagel spice because it’s perfect and delicious. So, make your life easy and buy a little bottle for $2, rather than hunt down 5 different spices. Bake the bagels at 425 degrees F for about 20 minutes, rotating halfway through, until they are golden brown.