American Pantry UK


New York Bagels

New York Bagels - American Pantry UK - American RecipesI have to agree with Daniel Young of Young and Foodish that it’s hard to find a good New York bagel in the UK (see his Top Bagel article). The New York bagel is more malty, chewy and hefty than its London cousin, which lends itself well to toasting and topping. New York bagels also tend to come encrusted with seeds and/or dried onion. Yes, those varieties are available in supermarkets here but texturally they are all wrong – the crust should be slightly crisp, and the inside should be slightly steamy – not dry and crumbly.

Bagels really only require time and attentiveness to make – you do not need to be an experienced baker to pull off outstanding results. For the best results, though, use a very strong bread flour and in-date yeast. The dough is also quite firm and requires some muscle power to handle, so if you have a stand mixer with a dough hook, use it. This recipe is adapted from Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Every Day, as featured on Epicurious and tested by Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen fame.

Preparation time: 15 minutes to make dough, 30 minutes to shape and poach
Cooking time: 18 minutes. 12 hours to rest once dough is made, plus 1 hour to rest after shaping
Makes 6 bagels


1 tablespoon malt syrup (available at Holland & Barrett) or honey
1/2 sachet easy bake yeast (3.5g)
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt, or 2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (255ml) lukewarm water (about 35°C – near body temperature)
3 1/2 cups (490g) very strong white flour (such as Doves Farm Organic Strong White Bread Flour, available at Waitrose)

For poaching
2 to 3 L water
1 1/2 tablespoons malt syrup (available at Holland & Barrett) or honey
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 teaspoon table salt, or 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse sea salt

Other things you’ll need

Stand mixer with dough hook or wooden spoon, large plastic bowl, non-stick silicone baking mat or baking paper, large stock pot, cling film


1) Mix malt syrup/honey, salt and yeast in a bowl with the lukewarm water. Put flour in mixing bowl, and add water mixture. Either mix with a wooden spoon or a dough hook for 3 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes. If you are doing by hand, knead on a non-stick surface for 3 more minutes. Otherwise, simply turn on the dough hook for 3 more minutes. The dough should be stiff and easy to handle – if it is sticky, you will need to add in more flour. If it is dry and cracks, add a bit more water.

2) Transfer dough into a lightly oiled plastic bowl and cover bowl tightly with cling film (use a rubber band if needed). Allow to sit for 12 hours.

3) Pull the dough apart in half, and then again into three sections – giving you six equal pieces of dough. Roll each section into a ball on a non-stick surface (do not dust with flour). At this point, you can poke a hole in the middle of the ball, and stretch the hole until it is about 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter. Otherwise (in keeping more closely with tradition), you can roll the dough ball out into a sausage shape the length of your two hands put together. Slightly wet both ends of the dough. Hold one end of the dough in your palm, and wrap the dough around your hand until the two ends overlap by 2 inches (5 cm). With your palm facing down, roll the two ends together until they hold fast. Cover your 6 bagels with cling film, and allow to rest for an additional hour. Preheat your oven as hot as it will go – usually 250°C/480°F.

4) Fill a small basin with some water. After 1 hour, your bagels should hover somewhat when placed into the water. If they sink straight to the bottom, try again in 20 more minutes. If they still do not hover at this point, that’s fine, but you may want to check your yeast or water temperature the next time.

5) Prepare your baking tray with a non-stick silicone mat or liberally greased baking paper (do not use greaseproof paper as it will stick to the bagels). Mix all ingredients listed under ‘for poaching’ in a large stock pot, and bring to lightly simmering on your hob. Carefully place your six bagels in for one minute. Flip using a spatula, and poach for 30 more seconds. Remove and place bagels on your baking tray domed-side up.

6) Place bagels in the oven, and reduce temperature to 230°C/450°F. Bake in the middle of your oven for 8 minutes, preferably placing your baking sheet on a drip tray rather than a rack (this will help keep the bottoms from becoming too brown). Rotate the pan 180° and bake for 8 – 10 more minutes. The bagels should be golden and slightly crusty. Cool on a wire rack for a minimum of 30 minutes. Better sliced and toasted.

Topped bagels: Sprinkle sesame seeds, poppy seeds, sea salt, or other small seeds on bagels as you remove them from the poaching liquid. You can also top with rehydrated dried onions. Although the seeds should stick, you may want to brush your bagels with a beaten egg white mixed with water first – this will make the bagels even stickier.


Share this