Authentic Jewish Bagels

Oh yes. There are Bagel purists out there. I know…because my dad is one of them. I stumbled across this recipe through a Project Food Blog entry and just couldn’t stop thinking about making them. Now that I’ve done so, I have to make them specially for my dad so he can give them his stamp of approval. Miss Leighdles, the Boy, and I all HIGHLY approve. And the recipe’s pretty hilarious to read too…I’ll give a link to it here, and write it in my own style below = ). As for the secret ingredients?

1) New York water (preferably NYC water, but I think upstate’s water did a great job)

2) Malt syrup (I ordered mine online through Eden Foods – Barley Malt Syrup. It gives the bagels a sweet sheen.)

Read on for my version of the recipe and photos…


makes about 15 bagels

6 – 8 cups bread flour (it’s high-gluten)

4 tbsp instant yeast

6 tbsp granulated white sugar or light honey (clover honey works – I used sugar though)

2 tsp salt

3 cups hot water (this is where your NY water would come in)

a big of vegetable oil

1 gallon water (don’t need to worry about this water, really)

3 – 5 tbsp malt syrup (if you really can’t wait for it to ship or can’t find it, you can substitute sugar)

a few handfuls of cornmeal


  • Pour the hot water into a mixing bowl. It should be hot, but not so hot you can’t stand to keep your fingers in it for several seconds at a time.
  • Add the sugar or honey and stir with your fingers to dissolve (another good way to determine if your water is warm enough).
  • Sprinkle the yeast over the water and stir to dissolve.
  • Allow this to sit for about 10 minutes and make sure it foams (proofing yeast – we’ve done this before.  don’t skip this or you might end up with heavy bagel cracker things…).

  • Add about three cups of flour and 2 tsp of salt and begin mixing.
  • Add more flour, 1/2 cup at a time. As the dough gets thicker, add less flour at a time.
  • You’ll soon be able to knead it on a lightly floured surface. Don’t add too much flour, or knead too much. It should be heavy but still elastic.

  • Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and roll the dough to coat. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and allow to rise, in a warm dry place, to double its current size (only takes about an hour to an hour and a half).

  • While the dough is rising, fill a stockpot with about a gallon of water and bring to a boil.
  • Add the malt syrup or sugar and reduce the heat to a low simmer – the surface of the water should hardly move.

  • Once the dough has risen, turn it out onto a floured surface and punch down.

  • Divide into about 15 equal sized hunks.

  • Shape your bagels – there are two ways. Form balls and poke holes through (“hole-centric” and what I did for the most part). Form snakes and mash together ends (“dough-centric”). Apparently, however, if you use a doughnut hole or cookie cutter, you’re making the bagels Protestant. (?)
  • Preheat oven to 400F. Sprinkle baking sheets with a generous amount of cornmeal.
  • Let the formed bagels sit for about 10 minutes. They should rise about a quarter of their size in that time.

  • Drop the bagels 2 or 3 at a time into the simmering malt water.
  • After 3 minutes, use a skimmer to flip them and cook another 3 minutes.
  • Remove and allow to sit on a kitchen towel until all bagels have been cooked in the water. Notice the pretty shine from the malt syrup!

  • Arrange the bagels on the cornmeal covered baking sheets and bake for about 25 minutes.

  • Remove from the oven and flip over. Bake another 10 minutes (this avoids flat-bottom bagels).

  • Remove from the oven and cool on wire racks.
  • Make sure to wait until their cool to cut them. I know it’s hard. But it’s worth it.

TO CUSTOMIZE: After boiling/before baking, brush the bagels with an egg wash (1 egg white, 3 tbsp ice water). Sprinkle with the topping of your choice, then bake as normal.

One Response to “Authentic Jewish Bagels”
  1. Great, just done reading this article. Very nice information you wrote. Absolutely following your site! Thank you a lot.

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