I love bread. Spherical bread, in particular, has a special place in my heart. Croissants? Love 'em. Doughnuts? Definitely. Dinner rolls? Yes, please. Therefore, when it comes to bagels, I am 100% on board with anything and everything—especially bagels from scratch.

Bagels are like a halo in my stomach, glowing with post-breakfast (or anytime of the day) bliss. Just the other day, a friend and I were eating—you guessed it—bagels. While discussing the superiority of the bread in front of us I said something to the effect of: "It's weird that boiled bread can taste so freakin' good." To this, my friend replied: "Bagels are boiled?"

I scoffed, “Of course they are,” while frantically googling under the table to see if bagels are indeed boiled. (They are.).

“How would I know, I’ve never made them,” he said. “Have you?”

And thus, a challenge was born.

I waited a few weeks later until I was home for the holidays so 1. I could use my mother’s kitchen and 2. If I failed, I could cuddle with my dogs knowing they would not judge me for being a fake foodie and they would lick my flour filled wounds clean.

The Process

Making my bagels from scratch started out simple enough: just add flour, add sugar, add yeast, then mix to my heart's content. Except the recipe said to mix for eight minutes. It did not say check the dough every once and a while, it just said mix for eight minutes on low speed.

Now I am not usually a strict rule follower, especially when it comes to recipes. I figured I should be a little more attentive since this is bread and that requires extra chemistry and shit. The ONE TIME I actually follow the rules is when it doesn’t work— so I’m never following rules again.

After eight minutes, my dough was not a pillowy beaut, but a kind of crusty lump. My dough was the moment in every movie where the evil queen takes off her disguise and reveals a decrepit old woman.

Exhibit A

ginger, meat
Sidney` Hallak

According to my trusty soux chef Google, I overkneaded. I plopped the lump into a bowl and covered it, hoping that a little extra time to rise would fix the problem. An anxious three hours later, I uncovered my treasure and scrutinized its progress. It would have to do.

I proceeded to roll out my dough and add fillings, which was easier said than done. Eventually, I cajoled enough cranberries and chocolate chips into the snakes of the dough I had created and started the boiling process that launched this whole experiment.

doughnut, cream
Sidney` Hallak

The boiling was actually the easiest part—one minute on each side and then you just pop them in the oven. Even a lousy over-kneader like me could do it. The bagels baked for about 15 minutes while I prayed they would come out. (Not pictured: Me biting my nails and watching like a hawk.)

Sidney` Hallak

Final Thoughts

bread, dough, doughnut
Sidney` Hallak

Ultimately they were a success! No one was more surprised than me. I attempted the recipe again a few weeks later and hand-kneaded the dough and it worked much better. This is a great recipe for fellow bakers and it’s fun to experiment with toppings and fillings. I even did the first test run for you—now get out there and get baking! Pretty soon, you will be making your own bagels from scratch.