ESB’s Autumn of Baking : No. 2 : Edd’s Homemade Bagels

Hello everyone!

Welcome back to my blog and my second post in my Autumn of Baking series. I hope you enjoyed my first post, baking my very own easy version of a tarte tatin.  As I said in my last post, this new series is an opportunity for me to bake some new recipes and share my experience with you as the nights draw in, to bring myself into the light and warmth of the kitchen.

This week, in the second instalment, I am going to give you the low down on how I got on making my own homemade bagels, the next recipe on my yet-to-bake list.

ESB - Bagel Header

For me, bagels have been a convenience food.  In fact, I have often picked up a warm bagel from the Bagel Factory, as a quick and delicious lunch as they are so versatile and lend themselves to being filled with almost anything you can imagine! However, I have always been fascinated by how they were made – the process of poaching uncooked dough in boiling water intrigued me and I was determined to have a go at making them myself.

Before I got baking, I discovered I knew very little about the origins of the humble bagel. Originating from Jewish communities in 17th century Poland, the word bagel or beygl means ring or bracelet. They were a staple part of the Slavic diet and were even given to women during childbirth (whether to chew on during labour or enjoy afterwards, I don’t know!) The unique shape, partly allows the dough to be cooked evenly and partly, evolved from the need of sellers to transport them as they strung them up on poles to sell them.

The recipe I have chosen is by Edd Kimber, 2010 winner of the Great British Bake Off and I have added my thoughts and ideas along the way. There are so many recipes for bagels online but this one seemed the most simple and achievable for a complete novice.

Here is the recipe…

Makes 10 bagels


7g fast-action dried yeast

500g strong white bread flour, plus extra for shaping

2 tbsps. light brown sugar

1 tsp salt

A little oil, for greasing

1 tbsp. bicarbonate of soda

1 egg white, to glaze

Seeds of your choice for the toppings (I used poppy and sesame seeds)


A measuring jug

A big mixing bowl

A wooden spoon

Cling film

A sharp knife or dough scraper, to divide the dough

A large saucepan

A slotted spoon

2 baking trays, lined with greaseproof paper

A wire rack

Kitchen roll or clean tea towel, to drain the bagels on

A pastry brush

How to make the bake

  1. Mix the yeast with 300ml lukewarm water. Put the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl and mix together. Pour in the yeasty liquid and mix into a rough dough.
  2. Tip out onto the work surface and knead together until smooth and elastic – this should take around 10 mins. (ESB Top Tip : This dough is on the dry side but stick with it and don’t add more water, as it does come together in the end!)
  3. Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a piece of oiled cling film. Place in a warm area and leave until doubled in size, about 1 hr, then uncover and tip onto your work surface.
  4. Divide the dough into 10 portion and form into balls – I like to weigh them to make sure that they’re the same size. (ESB Top Tip : I made 10 balls this time but I think in the future I would make 8 as it would be simpler to divide and you would get a slightly bigger bagel.)  Line up on 2 parchment-lined baking trays and cover lightly with cling film (ESB Top Tip : Oiling the cling film is a faff but makes it less likely the dough will stick to it!)
  5. Leave for around 30 mins or until risen and puffy, then remove the cling film.
  6. Use a floured finger to make a hole in the centre of each bagel, swirling it around to stretch the dough a little, but being careful not to knock out too much air. Heat the oven to 180C. (ESB Top Tip : In retrospect, I would suggest using a wooden spoon handle to make a bigger hole, as my finger didn’t make a big enough hole!)
  7. Fill a large saucepan with water and bring to the boil. Add the bicarbonate of soda to the water. Place 1 – 2 of the bagels in the water at a time and boil for 1 min (2 mins if you want a chewier bagel, turning over halfway through. (ESB Top Tip : Use a timer to count the minute so you know when to take them out!) Using slotted spoon, lift out the bagels, drain well and place back on the baking tray. (ESB Top Tip : I used kitchen towel to drain my bagels but using a tea towel might reduce the amount of sticking!)
  8. Brush the bagels with egg white and sprinkle with your chosen seeds. Bake for 20 – 25 mins or until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool before eating. They will keep for 3 – 4 days, or freeze for 2 months. (ESB Top Tip : Fill with the filling of your choice – My favourite fillings are the classic smoked salmon or pastrami – both of which compliment the sweetness of the bagels.)

Thank you for popping by my blog today and joining me as I had a go at making my own bagels. My verdict was that it was well worth making your own, as they are so much fresher, lighter and more delicious, although a little more elbow grease is required to make them!

Join me next time for a new recipe for ESB’s Autumn of Baking but until next Wednesday,

Happy Baking!

English Singing Baker x



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