Serious Bagels

Homemade bagels can require some effort, but offer substantial payback for picky eaters. I have hopped from recipe to recipe over the years, each better than the previous. My current favorite comes from Serious Eats. I have tweaked this version several times with slightly different results, but all varieties are excellent. This version modifies the Serious Eats version with 100 g 100% hydration sourdough starter, but you can easily replace this with a flour and water (50 g each). I also use honey in place of sugar and malt and high gluten flour in place of bread flour. Lastly, I changed some of the preparation steps to streamline the process.

Serious Bagels

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Print

Slightly sweet chewy bagels with a crisp crust

Credit: Serious Eats



  • 170 g  water
  • 100 g high gluten flour


  • 300 g high gluten flour
  • 9 g salt
  • 4 g instant dry yeast
  • 50 g cold water
  • 100 g sourdough starter (100% hydration)

For the water:

  • 50 g honey
  • 5 L water


  1. Mix the flour and water for the yukone in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 20 seconds. Stir then repeat for 10-20 second bursts until the mixture reaches the consistency of mashed potatoes. Set aside, covered with plastic wrap to cool.
  2. Add the flour, salt, and yeast into the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine.
  3. Add the cold water, honey, and starter to the yukone and stir to combine. When close to room temperature or cooler, add mixture to food processor.
  4. Turn on food processor and run for about 90 seconds.
  5. Take out dough and divide into 8 balls. Roll each on the countertop with a cupped and until smooth and free of creases. If needed, moisten hands slightly. Place smooth balls under plastic wrap for about 15 minutes.
  6. Poke a hole in the middle of each ball and gently stretch to a 3-4 inch bagel while rotating, ensuring an even thickness.
  7. Place shaped bagels on a parchment or silicone lined sheet pan. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24-36 hours. Alternatively, leave at room temperature for 30 minutes and then refrigerate overnight.
  8. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 425° F and fill a large pot with 3-5 L of water. Set it to boil and add the honey when boiling.
  9. Gently lower 4 of the bagels top-side down in the boiling water. Flip after 30 seconds. Boil for an additional 30 seconds, then move to a rack. Add toppings if desired. Transfer back to parchment after spraying it with spray oil or dusting with cornmeal. Repeat with remaining 4 bagels.
  10. Bake for 10 minutes, rotate tray 180°, then bake another 10-15 minutes until deep golden brown.
  11. Transfer bagels to cooling rack and allow to cool at least 15 minutes before slicing.

Variations: use malt syrup or sugar in place of honey (reduce by 25% if using granulated sugar or powdered non-diastatic malt rather than syrup). Can also use 25 g lye or baking soda in place of or in addition to honey in water.

2 thoughts on “Serious Bagels

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