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Easy Homemade American Bagels

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American Bagels

Who loves a freshly baked bagel with cream cheese? Or how about a generous amount of sour cream, salmon, and chives to go with it? Rucola, tomatoes, and a soft-cooked egg instead? Well, the variations here are endless!! And guess what? I have a good recipe for easy homemade bagels and am sharing it with you here!

Bagels are basically buns with a hole. They are quickly cooked in boiling water and then baked in the oven, this will make the crust crunchy and shiny.

I always associated bagels with the USA, but a search on the web revealed that they actually originate from Poland and the Jewish community. They were given to women as an auspicious gift after giving birth, their circular form representing the circle of life.

Easy recipe for bagels
Homemade Bagels (picture courtesy of Dyutima, My Food Lens)

My Food Lens

The gorgeous pictures I am sharing on this blog post have all been taken by Dyutima from My Food Lens, a professional food photographer in Singapore. She is not only incredibly talented but also a sweet and amusing friend. We met on Instagram, where we liked and commented on each other’s creations, to find out that we were both in Singapore, so we grabbed a coffee and had a lovely chat and finally decided to make a shooting together.

I always wanted to bake bagels and Dyutima liked the idea. So after trying the recipe and brainstorming on styling and ingredients, I arrived at her home with my daughter’s stroller packed with food, clothes, a camera, and so on… No worries, my daughter was at school and not beneath all those things!!!

The whole day we prepped, styled, and took pictures, always laughing at some not so great ideas and shots and proudly celebrating the beautiful ones!

Dyutima’s background as an architect gives her the ability to create wonderful layouts, something I need to improve. Watching her preparing the sets and composing it, layer after layer, detail after detail, shadow after shadow, was an incredible experience for me. Thank you so much, dear Dyutima, for letting me participate in your shooting, I learned so much in just one day! And I also had so much fun! Very lucky to have met you and to share with you this passion! Now, you all go have a look at her beautiful pictures on https://myfoodlens.com and on Instagram @dyutima_myfoodlens you won’t regret it, I promise!

Recipe for bagels
Freshly baked sesame bagels (picture courtesy of Dyutima, My Food Lens)

Easy recipe

When I want to bake anything that has to do with bread, my go-to book is Dean Brettschneider’s “Bread”. This is where I found the recipe that I am sharing with you today, with some minor changes.

Time and organization are key in getting perfect bagels: you will need to let them rise in the refrigerator overnight (for up to 16 hours), let them come back to room temperature (30-45 minutes), cook them quickly in hot boiling water, before baking them for 20-25 minutes. So keep this in mind and try to fit the single steps in your schedule. I usually prepare the dough and the bagels in the late afternoon, so they can spend the night in the fridge. In the morning I’ll get them out and finish them. You can also stretch the time to midday or early afternoon.

The good thing is, you can freeze the bagels without problems and use them as you need them later on. Simply warm them up on the toaster or in the oven after they have defrosted (takes a couple of hours).

homemade sesame bagels
Freshly made bagels (picture courtesy of Dyutima, My Food Lens

American Bagels recipe


  • 50 g of semolina or polenta
  • 500 g of bread flour
  • 10 g of salt
  • 15 g of sugar (possibly brown)
  • 15 g of olive oil
  • 5 g of instant dry yeast
  • 40 g of black sesame seeds
  • 270 ml of refrigerator cold water
  • 2 Tbsp of honey
  • 30 g of white sesame seeds for decorating


  1. Get a tray that will fit in your refrigerator, line it up with baking paper, and sprinkle it with polenta or semolina, this will make the bottom crunchy and not soggy.
  2. Make the dough by mixing together flour (500), salt (10), sugar (15), olive oil (15), instant dry yeast (5), black sesame seeds (40), and cold water (270ml). You can use a kitchen machine or knead by hand, do so for 5 to 10 minutes, pausing every now and then until.
  3. Divide the dough into 10 balls of more or less the same size.
  4. Roll each one out into a rope of approximately 15cm.
  5. To form a circle, wrap the rope around your four fingers (not the thumb), with the ends meeting beneath your fingers.
  6. Gently roll it on the kitchen counter (dust with flour if you need to) with a little pressure to make the ends stick together.
  7. Place the obtained rings on the tray you prepared at the beginning, leaving some space in-between as they will grow.
  8. Cover the tray with plastic wrap, not too tight, or the raising bagels will stick on it. Let them rest in the fridge for 12 to 16 hours.
  9. Remove from the refrigerator and let them come back to room temperature, this will take 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  10. Line up your baking tray with baking paper and preheat the oven to 220C (or 200C if using a fan oven).
  11. Fill a big pot with water, add two tablespoons of honey and bring to a boil.
  12. Place one to three bagels in the boiling water and cook for 30 seconds on each side. Use a big spoon with holes to turn them and to get them out and drain the water before putting them on the baking tray, semolina/polenta side down.
  13. Sprinkle with the white sesame seeds, which make a lovely contrast, as soon as you get them out of the water, or they won’t stick, and remember to leave some space in-between.
  14. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown.
  15. If you manage to, let them cool down before slicing them!
  16. Enjoy!
Recipe for bagels
Homemade Breakfast Bagels (picture courtesy of Dyutima, My Food Lens)

More bread recipes

Looking for something quicker in the execution? Check out my pumpkin bread with spinach and feta! A lovely soda bread from New Zealand.

Or maybe you want to go low carb and try my Italian herby Bread?

Not only delicious for Easter, my Austrian braided bread is a great breakfast and brunch choice.

4 thoughts on “Easy Homemade American Bagels”

    1. Danke Ina! Die Fotos hat meine Freundin Dyutima von My Food Lens gemacht, sie ist super talentiert! Wir hatten viel Spaß beim shooting!
      Die Bagels sind richtig lecker und so erstaunlich einfach!
      Hab eine schöne Woche!

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