Homemade Bagels

It’s the spookiest day of the year, and what screams “Halloween” more than a basket of homemade bagels?

Just kidding. I didn’t really go with the Halloween theme today, but I have no regrets. It’s never a bad time for bagels, especially the homemade kind.

I used the same recipe as I did last time—from Sophisticated Gourmet—and once again it was delicious. I did make one change, however. After our last experience with these, I knew that this time I would have to make a double batch! The recipe makes 8, but I doubled it and also separated it into smaller bagels, so I got 24 in all.

Since the cinnamon raisin bagels were so popular last time, I didn’t make any plain ones today. 14 were cinnamon raisin and 6 were just cinnamon (to give to my friends—for some ridiculous reason they don’t like raisins! I don’t understand that). I also tried making 4 pumpkin-flavored, since I had a bunch of pumpkin leftover from last week’s muffins.

Adding the purée made the dough super moist, but they turned out okay. The pumpkin taste wasn’t really apparent, but we still liked them. Next time, though, I think it’s going to be all cinnamon-raisin!

I can never seem to get these bagels smooth and seamless, but I think the bumpy, twisted, imperfect surface actually gives them a really neat look.

The entire bagel-making process is surprisingly fun, but my favorite part will always be the boiling. It’s one of those things that’s hard to describe—you just have to try it for yourself! I took a video this time, but honestly not even that can capture the experience.

Maybe I’m being weird, but I really do love boiling those things. This is what gives them that “skin.” You have to boil them for at least a minute, but I like to go longer to make the outer layer thicker. If you’ve never had homemade bagels, this may not sound so appetizing, but I’m telling you, it’s something amazing that’s completely unmatched by any store-bought bagel.

After they’ve been boiled, the bagels need to go in the oven for about 20 minutes. The outsides get that slight crunch, and mmm…that’s what I call perfection.

These make an amazing brunch, as well as next-day sandwiches! If you ask me, toasting them for just a minute brings them to perfection.

Homemade Bagels

With all of the safety precautions currently in place for COVID-19, I’ve had a lot of time on my hands. Perhaps too much time—a lot of which I’ve been spending browsing through delicious recipes on Pinterest. I’ve pinned more things that I could probably ever make in my life, but that’s just how Pinterest is, isn’t it?

Among these recipes I’ve compiled, there have been a lot of neat breakfast/brunch foods I’ve been interested in trying. A few weeks ago, I was struck with a brilliant idea: what if I tried a new one every weekend? I further developed this idea into a full-fledged plan to cook up a surprise brunch for my family every weekend. Not only would it be a fun an delicious way for me to practice my baking skills, but it would also give me an opportunity to test out a lot of new recipes! When I told them about my plan, my family was 100% on board with it.

One of the main things I was eager to try was homemade bagels, and I figured they’d be a great way to kick off my new routine! The recipe I used can be found here.

I started making the dough the night before, so that it would have time to proof in the refrigerator overnight. Once I had mixed it up, kneading this dough was like a workout. It was so firm! I didn’t want to use the mixer, though. Kneading it by hand, though difficult, was actually pretty fun. Let’s just say that it took me longer than the 10 minutes the recipe estimated.

In the morning, I divided the dough in two and added a cinnamon-raisin mix to one of the halves. The recipe, while offering topping suggestions, didn’t include instructions for cinnamon raisin bagels. I, however, had my heart set on cinnamon-raisin bagels, so after taking a look at a few other recipes, I came up with my own mix. To make it, I used a half cup of raisins, one teaspoon of cinnamon, and one teaspoon of vanilla. I had a lot of leftover cinnamon-covered raisins (which I snacked on as I baked), so I think that next time I’d just make half of that, but otherwise it was perfect. I kneaded the raisin mix into the dough and sprinkled in more as I shaped the bagels.

Instead of making 8 bagels, as the recipe said, I divided my dough into 12. I had worried that they might be too small, but they expanded to the perfect size when I boiled them. I wouldn’t have wanted them any bigger.

Speaking of boiling the bagels, you wouldn’t believe how FUN this step is! There’s something about it that’s just so entertaining, though I’m not quite sure what it is. It’s certainly a unique method!

We could not wait to eat these things! Multiple members of my family (including myself) burned our fingers trying to take them off the tray too soon. It was totally worth it, though! The outsides of the bagels had a slight crunch to them. Maybe that’s not what you think of when you envision a bagel, but I thought it added a wonderful contrast to the chewy texture of the insides.

Let me tell you, these bagels disappeared so quickly. All twelve were gone by noon the next day! As it turns out, they make great sandwiches!

I really enjoyed making (and eating!) these bagels, and would definitely make them again. There’s only one problem I had with them: now, I don’t know if we’ll ever be able to eat store-bought bagels again!