January 01, 2011

Connecting the old with the new year: overnight bagels

I wanted to something good for the first breakfast of 2011. Wally and I we are heading to San Jose’ today, just to take a short trip and visit the Winchester Mystery House. We wanted to do something fun, as the end of our time off is approaching. And a few days ago on twitter I was talking about bagels with Mara, from What’s for Dinner? and the whole conversation made me crave for bagels. So I thought “Why not have a couple of toasted bagels with cream cheese with us in the car?”

I’ve already made bagels before. They came out very good, although not totally pretty. This time I decided to go for a different recipe and use one that makes the dough rise overnight. Rising the dough overnight usually allows for yeast goodies to get a much “deeper” flavor. I really wanted to see if this was true for bagels or if the extra work and extra waiting time were not worth it. Well, I have to say it was totally worth it! Wally is more expert than I am in bagels, after all, I've had my first bagel only 4 years ago, when I moved to the US. But I've had New York style bagels, in New York, not here on the West Coast. We both thought these bagels were pretty darn close to those. We loved them. And to be honest...it's not that much more work. You just have to get organized to start the night before. But isn't it worth it, if the day after you can have wonderful fresh bagels in less than half an hour?

I tried the recipe from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice and modified it just a tiny little bit to get cinnamon raisins bagels instead of plain ones….hmm except for then discovering that the raisins I had at home very reeeeally old. So I ended up making cinnamon only bagels J

Oh, I’ve also skipped one of the steps in the preparation (see below in the method section)

Cinnamon Bagels
Makes 1 dozen

For the sponge:
5 gr (1 tsp) instant yeast
540 gr (19.2 oz or 4 cups) bread flour
590 ml (20 fl oz or 2 1/2 cups) water

For the dough:
2 gr (1/2 tsp) instant yeast
510 gr (18 oz or 3 3/4 cups) bread flour
14 gr (2 ¾ tsp) salt
2 tsp malt powder (or
1 tsp malt syrup, honey, or brown sugar – I used honey)
5 gr (1 tsp) cinnamon

To bake:
15 gr (1 tbsp) baking soda for the water
cornmeal for dusting the pan


First day:
First of all, you need to prepare the sponge. To do this, stir the yeast into the flour in a large mixing bowl. Add the water and stir until all ingredients are blended. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise for two hours.

Remove the plastic wrap and stir the additional yeast into the sponge. Add 410 gr (3 cups) of the flour, the malt powder (or the honey in my case), the salt, and the cinnamon into the bowl and mix until all of the ingredients form a ball. You need incorporate the extra 100 gr (3/4 cups) of flour to stiffen the dough, either while still mixing in the bowl or while kneading.

Put the dough onto a clean surface and knead for 10 minutes.

When you are done kneading, split the dough into a dozen small pieces around 4 1/2 oz each. Roll each piece into a ball and set it aside. Cover the balls, with a damp towel and let them rest for 20 minutes.

Shaping the bagels: simply press your thumb through the center of each roll and then rotate the dough, trying to make the bagel as even in width as possible.

Place the shaped bagels on a baking pan prepared with parchment paper and lightly oiled. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and let the dough to rise for another 20 minutes.

Now, the original method say to test whether the bagels are ready to retard by dropping one of them into a bowl of cool water: if the bagel floats back up to the surface in under ten seconds it is ready to retard. If not, it needs to rise more. I did not do that….after all it was new years eve and I wanted to watch a movie with Wally so after the 20 minutes wait I just put the pan in the refrigeration for the night.

Look at these guys! Before getting boiled in the water, and right out of the oven! Don't they look great?!

Second day

Preheat the oven to 500F degrees. Sprinkle corn meal onto another baking pan.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 1 tbsp of baking soda to the water.

When the water is boiling, place the bagels into the pot one at a time and let them boil for a minute each side.

When you remove them from the water, place them on the baking pan sprinkled with cornmeal. Repeat this process until all of the bagels have been boiled.

Bake the bagels for about 5 minutes. Then, reduce the heat to 450 degrees, rotate the pan by 180 degrees, and bake for another 5 minutes until the bagels begin to brown.

Remove the pan from the oven and let them cool for about 15 minutes. I really could not resist eating them and I tried to cut them sooner than that but they really need to sit for a little…believe me it’s worth it!

Have a sweet day and happy new year!  


  1. They look amazing, I think they really must be worth it! Have a great little trip to San Jose!

  2. Your bagels look awesome! A 2 day project.... good for you. This is why I shy away from yeast. Have a sure trip to San Jose.... eat lots of good food and have fun! - Megs

  3. What a great way to make bagels. I've never made them but now I want to try your method. I do this method for cinnamon rolls all the time, with putting the formed rolls in the frige over night and then bake in the morning. Thanks for sharing this one.

  4. They look amazing! I tried my hand at homemade bagels a few years ago but they didn't come out looking this good. And cinnamon is a lovely flavor.

  5. These look absolutely perfect. I've tried making bagels before and they did not look anywhere near as good as this. I might have to try again with the method you posted!
    Happy New Year!

  6. There is NOTHING better than fresh bagels in the morning and this is the perfect way to get them. Thank you for sharing this recipe with us, my friend.

    You're a genius.

    Happy new year!

  7. These look really great! I've made homemade bagels before, but not this tw day method. I might have to give it a shot!

  8. hi Sara
    Home made bagels must be incredible! I can just smell them coming out of the oven, warm with cream cheese...sigh
    Thanks for a great first post of the new year!

  9. Those bagels look gorgeous! I've always loved bagels, but have never tried making my own. Kudos to you! I bet these made for an excellent New Years breakfast. :D

  10. Thanks guys! Now I can even testify that the bagels were good even a few hours later. I brought them with me for our little trip and we ate them with just a think spread of cream cheese and they were still as good as straight out of the oven. My friends declared them the best bagels they had in a long time....so I feel I can totally recommend this recipe.
    @Evan and @Megan: the first ones I made where so far from these! I thing the overnight rise really made a difference in giving them this crunchy crust and a super good inside! you guys should try them!

  11. Oh, Sara!! These bagels are stunning... You have inspired me. My son is on a bit of a bagel kick right now and he is always asking me to head to Panera to pick up more. Panera is a bit out of the way, but making my own might solve the problem! Excellent timing. These are are so professional looking, nicely done!!

  12. Your bagels look amazing! Good food always takes a while longer to make.
    I love homemade bagels. I make them once in a great while, but when I do, they are all gone within 2 days!

  13. They are decent looking bagels...that's a serious compliment..I have been struggling with making mine look decent...and have also other people struggle with the look of theirs.

    nice work! :)

  14. I've never made bagels before, but they are definitely on my to-make list in 2011 ;) I love the overnight dough rising trick and that you put extra thought into your first breakfast of the year :) Hope 2011 brings you fantastic things :)

  15. Give me your bagels, woman. How come mine don't turn out all pretty like yours? I get fugly, deformed bagels. Sigh.

  16. Wow, so PROFESSIONAL looking! You could open up a bagel shop...close to my house please!

  17. Wow your bagels are gorgeous! I LOVE bagels (obviously, haha) but I've never made bagels before. I might just have to attempt it sometime. :)

  18. These look just perfect. Amazing job. An excellent breakfast to start off the year. ;)

  19. Oh my goodness Sara these bagels look amazing! I have to try this recipe when I get back home because the ones we tried before were definitely not this good looking!! Happy New Year :)

  20. Awesome looking bagels! Kudos! Happy baking to your new yr!

    LeeYong rolfmester@yahoo.com

  21. Wow!! I have never known anyone to actually make bagels before! I love bagels and this fresh would be perfect for breakfast! I have not orked ith yeast yet, I have some waiting for me to get the courage to try making bread. Maybe if it is a success, i will try this next!

  22. Happy New Year! I have long wanted to make bagels but yet to attempt. You have given me inspiration. One of my goals for 2011 from the food world is tackle making bread. Have not been to the Winchester house since being a kid - I bet you had fun!

  23. Gorgeous bagels, Sara! I will have to try this recipe because it looks like bagel perfections! Bravissima!

  24. I was just thinking of tackling some bagels and this looks like the perfect way to go! They look so pretty!

  25. Great-looking bagels! The ones at the bagel shop are getting so LARGE that I might have to start making them myself to prevent family carb-overload.
    We visited the Mystery House this past summer. I was not looking forward to it, but was totally fascinated with the place! Hope you enjoyed it.


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