New York Style Bagels

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My experience of bagels began as a child, when my Mum would bring home onion bagels from a bakery in Dublin city as a special treat. Such was the love of this treat, that fights would break out over who got the topping-loaded top half, or who ate the last one, or when we were getting more. They were amazing. And these memories of bagels have stayed with me for life. So much as a mention of onion bagels has me salivating.

Living in Dublin, Ireland all my life, I’ve never had access to the world-famous New York bagel. Sure, we have bagels in Ireland, but regular bakery trips are expensive and anyone who’s bought supermarket bagels will know my frustration and despair. Stale, flavourless and full of all sorts of nasty additives, it was only a matter of time before I gave up and took it upon myself to figure out a better way to have year-round 24/7 access to my all-time favourite variety of bread. I’m not kidding; I love these things. Just look at that deep golden crust!

BagelsStack ’em tall!

Let’s talk flavours and toppings. This recipe is for plain old bagels, topped generously with sesame seeds. There are loads of ways to vary this though. You could add cinnamon and raisins, dried or caramelised onions, dried garlic; whatever you want! Personally, I’m a fan of the everything bagel, so I tend to throw as much as i can into the dough and on top. This is generally fine once you’re not putting anything too wet in there (usually oily fried onions). In this case, adjust the amount of water a small bit; this dough needs to be quite stiff.

The boiling is what gives bagels their characteristic chew, so if you like more chew, boil for longer. If you like less, take them out earlier. Mine have a decent chew, so bear that in mind when you’re boiling yours! The addition of honey to the water gives the crust a little sweetness, which I love. Some people use treacle instead, or bicarbonate of soda instead, if you don’t like the touch of sweetness.

In any case, bagels are the bomb. Flavour them however you want, eat them however you want. You still can’t go wrong with a fresh, toasted plain bagel. 


New York Style Bagels
Yields 8
A New York favourite: Delicious bagels topped with loads of sesame seeds.
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Prep Time
2 hr
Cook Time
20 min
Prep Time
2 hr
Cook Time
20 min
  1. 500g strong white flour (bread flour)
  2. 2 tsp dried yeast
  3. 1.5 tbsp sugar
  4. 300ml warm water
  5. 1.5 tsp salt.
  6. 2 tsp honey
  1. Add the yeast and sugar to 100ml of warm water in a bowl. Leave to stand for 5 mins, until the yeast had frothed up a little. Stir to dissolve.
  2. Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre, and pour in the yeasted water.
  3. Pour the remaining 200ml of warm water into the well.
  4. Mix the ingredients to form a dough.
  5. Turn the dough out on to a floured surface and knead for 10-15 minutes, until smooth, elastic, and very firm.
  6. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, turning it gently to coat the dough in oil. Cover with a tea towel or cling film and leave to rise at room temperature until doubled in size (1-1.5 hours).
  7. Once risen, knock back the dough and leave to rest for 10 minutes.
  8. Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7.
  9. Cut the dough into eight equal sections, and shape each piece into a ball.
  10. Form each ball into a ring by piercing the centre with a floured finger or handle of a wooden spoon. Swirl the finger or spoon in a circle to stretch the dough and widen the centre hole.
  11. Place each bagel on a baking tray lined with greaseproof or baking paper.
  12. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Add 2 tsp of honey to the water, and stir to dissolve.
  13. One at a time, boil the bagels in the water for 1 minute, flipping them over half way through. Use a slotted spatula to remove the bagels from the water and place them back on the baking sheet.
  14. Brush each bagel all over with egg white and top with sesame seeds.
  15. Bake for 20 mins in the preheated oven, until the bagels are a deep golden colour. To be sure they're done, they should sound hollow when you tap the bottom.
  16. Remove the bagels from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.
Sauce Pots
  1. JT
    April 25, 2015

    What is the unit of measurement for the “500 strong white flour”? Thanks!

    • Alice | Sauce Pots
      April 25, 2015

      My apologies what a silly mistake! It’s 500 grams strong white flour. Have adjusted the recipe accordingly.

      Thanks 🙂