Peter Reinhart’s Bagels

A Variety of Bagels

Week three of The Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge has ended and I have to say that I am sad to say goodbye to these bagels!  I would happily make these once a week for the next year if there weren’t so many other tempting breads coming up.

Bagels are one of those things that I always assumed you had to buy from a bagel shop if you wanted the ‘real thing.’  I’m certainly not a connoisseur, but I’ve had wonderful, chewy bagels in both New York and Los Angeles that put every other bagel I’ve tasted to shame. It’s certainly seems to be true that the real deal can’t be found just anywhere.  I’ve had decent bagels in San Diego, but nothing to get overly excited about.  However, I can now tell you that it is possible to make a great bagel at home, even in San Diego, because these babies rivaled anything I’ve eaten before.

In the book, Peter Reinhart tells us that his wife Susan, who grew up in Philadelphia, and some of his friends from New York all agree that this formula produces, “…a bagel for the ages.”  And though I grew up in Central California eating donuts rather than bagels on the weekends, and therefore have no real frame of reference, I’m going to have to agree.  This is a bagel for the ages.

Peter Reinhart's Bagels

So how does one go about making these wonderful bagels at home?  Well first, you need to buy Peter Reinhart’s book. Trust me, I’m only three recipes in and I already feel that this is one of the best cookbook purchases I’ve ever made.  But after that, your next step might be to weigh out your ingredients.

Since many American home bakers still prefer volume measurements to weight, the book helpfully gives both options.  But I’m finding myself reaching for my digital scale more and more often these days.  Pouring 18 ounces of flour into a bowl that’s sitting on a scale is so much faster and simpler than measuring out four cups of flour.  With the helpful ‘tare’ function on my cute red digital scale, I can cancel out the weight of the bowl and just add flour until I reach the correct weight.  It took about five seconds.  And I also found it easier to weigh the water, since the scale was already out.  Yes, I weighed it in the measuring cup.  I just wanted to see if the weight and volume of the water both equaled what was listed in the book.  It did.

Weighing Ingredients

The flour and water I weighed were for the sponge.  Just like the other two bread recipes I’ve tried so far, these bagels start with a sponge made of flour, water, and yeast.  I measured the yeast using a teaspoon rather than the scale, since it was such a small amount.

Bagel Sponge

The flour, yeast and water were mixed up until it resembled a thick pancake batter.

Mixing the sponge for bagel dough

I covered it and let it sit at room temperature for a couple of hours.  Apparently, the sponge has fermented enough when it bubbles and swells to nearly twice it’s original size.  After two hours, mine had started bubbling but it definitely needed some more time.  Unfortunately, I had a conference call coming up and needed to get my bagel dough finished by a certain time.  So (as I often do), I cheated and continued with the recipe.

Bubbling Sponge

The next step is to stir in some additional yeast before adding the rest of the flour.  I added the yeast…

Adding yeast to the sponge

Stirred it all in…

Stirring in the yeast

And then realized that I was going to need a bigger bowl if I planned on adding almost four more cups of flour.  Let me introduce you to my bread bowl.  I like to call her Big Bertha.

Switching to a larger bowl

So I scraped the sponge into Big Bertha and added the rest of the bagel dough ingredients:  lots more flour, some salt, and a spoonful of barley malt syrup.

Adding flour, salt and malt syrup

Of course I had my trusty dough whisk nearby, but I quickly found that it was pretty much useless when confronted with the beginnings of a bagel dough.  I could tell immediately that this dough was going to be very stiff.


There was really only one thing to do.  I tossed that silly whisk aside and dug in with both hands!

Mixing the Bagel Dough with my Hands

It took quite a bit of muscle to get it to to this point, but the flour still wasn’t completely incorporated (and I still had more waiting outside the bowl to be kneaded in).

The Bagel Dough is Coming Together

So I worked harder.

Kneading Dough in the Bowl

Eventually, I ended up with a shaggy mass of dough that was ready for some serious kneading.

Rough Ball of Dough in the Bowl

I dumped the dough out onto my floured board, and got to work.  I had quite a bit of flour that still needed to be worked into this dough, which was already feeling stiffer than any bread dough I’ve made in the past.

Rough Ball of Dough on the Board

I kneaded and kneaded and kneaded.  After ten minutes, I had managed to incorporate about half of the extra flour.  The dough was getting somewhere, but the gluten hadn’t developed enough to pass the windowpane test.

Kneading the Bagel Dough

I kept kneading and kneading.  Finally, after about 20 minutes (longer than I’ve ever kneaded any bread dough), it seemed to be ready.  And this time, it did pass the windowpane test.  What a relief!

After 20 minutes of Kneading

Now it was time to shape the bagels.  I knew the dough should yield approximately 12 standard-sized bagels, so I started dividing the dough.  First, I cut it in half.

Dividing the Dough for Shaping

Then I cut each half into two pieces.  I weighed each of the four pieces to make sure that they were divided equally.

Scaling the Dough

Next, I dived each of those pieces into three pieces, weighing them to make sure they were equal.  I wasn’t too picky about it, but wanted them to be close to the same weight so that my bagels would be of similar size and bake evenly.

Scaling the Dough for Shaping

Once I ended up with twelve fairly equal pieces, I quickly rounded them (I shaped them just like I shape dinner rolls), and lined them up on a baking sheet lined with silpat (can also use parchment that has been lightly misted with oil).

Twelve Equal Pieces of Dough

Next, I was supposed to cover them with a damp towel, and leave them alone for 20 minutes.  But I was still in a hurry, so they only rested for ten minutes.

Cover with Damp Cloth

Now for the fun part!  Unfortunately, it was really hard for me to take photos while I shaped the bagels.  But it’s very easy to do.  I simply flattened one of the dough balls, and punched my thumb right through the very center.

Shaping the Bagels

Once you have a hole in the middle, just gently stretch it out, using both hands, until the diameter is approximately 2 1/2 inches.  The holes should be bigger than you think they need to be, they will shrink back up a bit later on.

Shaped Bagels

I used two sheet pans (one lined with lightly greased parchment and one lined with Silpat), and was able to fit six bagels on each pan.  I covered each pan with lightly greased plastic wrap.

And then I made a mistake.

At this point, we are supposed to let the bagels rest for another 20 minutes and then check to see if one of them floats in a bowl of water.  Once they pass the ‘float test,’ the trays can be put in the refrigerator and left overnight.  But I completely skipped the resting period AND the float test.  It was an accident, but I wouldn’t have had time to do it anyway.  I finished shaping the bagels only five minutes before my conference call was supposed to happen!

Cover Bagels with Greased Plastic Wrap

So, they went into the fridge and there they stayed for about a day and a half.  The bagels need to be refrigerated for at least 8 hours, but like most bread dough, they can hang out in there for 2-3 days if necessary.  When I finally found the time to bake them, this is what they looked like:

After 24 Hours of Refrigeration

They had risen a bit, the holes were slightly smaller, and they looked great to me!  So now for the test.  Would they float in the boiling water?  I was a little worried, since they never got a chance to prove their ‘floatability’ earlier on.  But I forged ahead.  The bagels were to be boiled in a big pot of water that had been laced with a tablespoon of baking soda.

Boiling Water with Baking Soda

Guess what?  They floated!  I was able to fit three bagels in the pot at a time.  They needed to be boiled for one minute per side, so it didn’t take long to get through the entire batch.

Boiling the Bagels

After adding the bagels to the water, I sprinkled some cornmeal on the baking sheet.

Sprinkle Baking Sheet with Corn Meal

After boiling, I removed the bagels with a slotted spoon, and placed them right back on the baking sheet, on top of the corn meal.

Return Boiled Bagels to Sheet Pan

The toppings need to be added right after boiling, while the bagels are still wet.  These were my ‘everything bagels.’  I topped them with a combination of dried minced onions (re-hydrated), dried minced garlic (re-hydrated), sesame seeds, poppy seeds, caraway seeds, and sea salt.

Sprinkle Wet Bagels with Desired Toppings

After adding all the toppings, the bagels are ready to be baked!  The oven should be preheated to 500 degrees and the sheets should go on two oven racks placed close to the center of the oven.  Unfortunately, this was the day that  my oven decided it didn’t want to heat to 500 degrees.  Not even close, actually.  So instead of baking them for ten minutes as suggested, my bagels stayed in the oven for close to twenty minutes.  I just kept rotating the pans and checking on them.  They didn’t brown as much as I would have liked, but they still looked beautiful to me!

Baked Bagels

Even with all of my mistakes and cheats, these bagels were absolutely wonderful.  I took them fresh from the oven over to my sister’s house where we ate them with cream cheese as a Sunday brunch.  I don’t know if there’s any better way to eat a bagel.

Later that night, I took some other bagels over to Amanda and Tyler’s house, where we used them as buns for these delicious grilled turkey burgers with cheddar, basil, and roasted red pepper.  That was a close second.

Bagel Burger

The Next Bread

This week we will be making Brioche!  The instructions begin on page 123 of The Bread Baker’s Apprentice.  You will need to allow two days (or one very long day) to complete the brioche as the dough requires a four-hour (or longer) fermentation in the refrigerator.  You will be using bread flour for this recipe, and all the other ingredients are easily attainable.  There are three different versions of Brioche to choose from: Rich Man’s Brioche (tons of butter), Middle-Class Brioche (moderate amount of butter), and Poor-Man’s Brioche (least amount of butter, although still a lot!).  You only need to bake one of them to participate in the challenge, but are welcome to bake all three if you wish.  Due the high butter content and delicate nature of the dough, you will probably want to use a stand mixer for the Rich Man’s Brioche or the Middle-Class Brioche, otherwise you’ll be stirring everything in with a spoon rather than kneading by hand. But if you have a strong arm, go for it!  The Poor-Man’s Brioche can be mixed and kneaded by hand.  Good luck and happy baking!

Want to Bake Along With Us?

There are several ways for you to join in the fun!  First of all, you need a copy of Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice.  Read the first section of the book carefully, as this will prepare you for the bread recipes in the second section of the book.  Then just jump in and bake some Anadama Bread! But first, please visit The BBA Challenge Page for more details on how to participate in the group!

If you haven’t already, you might want to bookmark the BBA Challenge Page.  From there you can see which breads are coming up soon, find answers to Frequently Asked Questions, visit and/or add yourself to our World Map, see the BBA Challenge Blogroll, and check out the continually updated slideshow of BBA Bread photos from our ever-expanding group of bakers!

Want to Win a Free Book?

Deborah from Italian Food Forever is giving away a copy of The Bread Baker’s Apprentice! To enter, visit Italian Food Forever and leave a comment that relates to bread (talk about your favorite bread, a story about bread baking, etc). That’s it!  You can enter as many times as you want until June 15.  A winner will be chosen randomly.  Good luck!

Bagels from other BBA Bakers:

For those of you who are participating in The BBA Challenge, how did you like these bagels?  What toppings, if any, did you use? Did you learn anything new while using this formula?

And remember, if you wrote a blog post about Bagels, or have photos available online, please leave a comment and share your link!

  1. Paula - bell'alimento

    As always Nicole your post and pics are stunning! I LOVED these bagels! I made plain, seeded & cinnamon sugar! They were amazing. Can’t wait to bake them again. My post is here

    6:41 pm  Jun 1st, 2009
  2. Sarah Parkin

    Your photos practically make a video if strung all together! Mine were so good warm. They didn’t rise quite as much as I hoped but good enough. Yours look great with the seeds. This baking challenge is great.

    6:47 pm  Jun 1st, 2009
  3. Dragon

    I don’t see any mistakes. I just see gorgeous bagels! Nice job.

    6:48 pm  Jun 1st, 2009
  4. Judy

    Just beautiful Nicole! love all the pics. I can’t wait to make these again! They were every bit as good as the bagel shops here!

    6:48 pm  Jun 1st, 2009
  5. Haley J.

    My bagels are linked to below:

    I used poppy seeds, sesame seeds, dried garlic flakes, dried onion flakes, and coarse grained salt to make everything bagels. We absolutely loved them! I am looking forward to making these many, many more times. It certainly doesn’t need any tweaking.

    As I’ve baked, the main things that keep being impressed upon me are that the temperature must be right, the texture must be correct, and the windowpane must be achieved. If these things are in place, the bread turns out. If not, more kneading, more flour, more oven-time is a must! I made pie crust this weekend, keeping these things in mind, and it turned out better than ever before. So far, so good!

    6:53 pm  Jun 1st, 2009
  6. kellypea

    Loved reading this, and since I have to go back to make them, inspirational. The windowpane test makes me wince…I still haven’t “passed” one yet. Great idea to use your bagels for burgers. I’m saving that idea.

    6:57 pm  Jun 1st, 2009
  7. Dianne

    Hey Nicole,

    Thanks for that link up there! I LOVED making these bagels and have vowed to do it again and again. So satisfying and delicious. Mostly what I learned from this recipe is that delectable bagels are totally within the realm of the home baker. Who knew?!?

    Your bagels look really delicious, especially as a bun for turkey burgers. Mmmm. I also enjoyed your step-by-step photos — nice work! And thanks again!

    6:57 pm  Jun 1st, 2009
  8. Victoria

    My bagels are here:

    I would love to make more, but I have so much bread now and it’s all in my freezer waiting for someone to eat it! The bagels are the first thing we have finished off, which is a testament to how good they are.

    I have the exact same digital scale, only in silver. I love it, too.

    7:01 pm  Jun 1st, 2009
  9. Nancy/n.o.e

    You do such a great step-by-step post, Nicole! Thanks for all the time you put into the group. Love the way your bagels look. I agree that they were bagels for the ages. Weird that mine only needed about 5 minutes of kneading. We’ll be posting in 2 weeks; now is Artos posting time for us slowpokes…

    7:01 pm  Jun 1st, 2009
  10. Amy

    Your step by steps are amazing!

    I need to try this, I have always wanted to make bagels.

    😉 amy

    7:18 pm  Jun 1st, 2009
  11. Caitlin

    Absolutely gorgeous bagels! I didn’t top mine, and am just kicking myself after seeing your everything bagels. As for the float test? Mine floated basically immediately, so no worries there!

    7:19 pm  Jun 1st, 2009
  12. Ruby

    Wow Nicole, these look amazing! So proud of you! I would love to try and make these some day. I’d have to pair them with apricot/walnut cream cheese spread….oh man, my mouth is drooling…
    Great photos as usual!

    7:50 pm  Jun 1st, 2009
  13. Amanda @ Fake Ginger

    Oh man, I wish I had made everything bagels after seeing yours. They look AMAZING! It was also nice to see someone else who did it by hand. I moan and groan about my broken stand mixer but it really is nice to just get your hands messy every once in a while.

    Time to get started on that brioche, huh? I can’t wait!

    7:54 pm  Jun 1st, 2009
  14. Jenn @ Pete Eatemall

    I loved making the Bagels – even in an outdoor kitchen. Now onto Brioche…Thanks again for organizing the group!

    8:11 pm  Jun 1st, 2009
  15. Jen

    Great job on the bagels. I’ve always wanted to make them at home but they’ve seemed like too much work but seeing how well yours turned out, I’m tempted to give it a try.

    8:21 pm  Jun 1st, 2009
  16. Heather

    You bagels turned out beautifully. Thanks so much for the step-by-step description.

    I had a blast making mine. I topped some with cinnamon-sugar, some with sesame seeds and some with Kosher salt. You can see my post at:

    Thanks again for organizing this awesome challenge!

    Happy baking,

    8:25 pm  Jun 1st, 2009
  17. Katerina

    Amazing! I have made an easier homemade bagel recipe, and even that was delicious. I bet the sponge makes such a difference.

    8:46 pm  Jun 1st, 2009
  18. Catherine

    Your photos are great! I’m loving the bagels even more the next morning (though all my toppings fell off…). Now I definitely want to try cinnamon raisin. Or even chocolate chip!
    Here’s my post:

    9:24 pm  Jun 1st, 2009
  19. mags

    LOL… still laughing about Big Bertha Lovely post, lovely photos…. and thanks again for including all of us in your bread baking challenge. I have actually dedicated two posts to the bagel (that’s how much I love bagels)



    9:27 pm  Jun 1st, 2009
  20. Sean

    Curious, did you use bread flour or high protein flour? I used the high protein flour, and they turned out great, but I’m curious how much difference it actually makes. Bread flour is a lot easier to get. I guess I could do a batch each way and find out, but I’m not sure I’m that ambitious…

    9:35 pm  Jun 1st, 2009
  21. Nicole

    Sean: I just used King Arthur’s Bread Flour because I didn’t know where to get the high-gluten stuff other than ordering it online. I’ll probably order some for the next time I make bagels so I can see if there’s a difference. I have a feeling that I won’t have to knead the dough quite as long if I use the high-gluten flour. But I was really happy with every other aspect of these!

    9:38 pm  Jun 1st, 2009
  22. Allen

    Ahhh, yes … the kneading … seriously, it was such a workout. I remember thinking that it would never end. Your bagels look chewy and delicious — good job!

    9:41 pm  Jun 1st, 2009
  23. Sean

    Yeah, I just ended up ordering it. The recipe used most of the bag, though, so now I either have to order more or use bread flour. I wish they sold it in larger bags.

    9:44 pm  Jun 1st, 2009
  24. Natashya

    What a wonderful photo essay! Nicely done.

    9:45 pm  Jun 1st, 2009
  25. chris

    Your bagels look fantastic. I didn’t even think about creating an everything bagel, as I was sold on using poppy seeds and sesame seeds. I’m definitely going to make these again, and probably turn them into cinnamon raisin.

    9:55 pm  Jun 1st, 2009
  26. Corinne

    These look awesome! must try some!

    10:49 pm  Jun 1st, 2009
  27. Hélène

    Wow you did 20 min. of kneading, I still prefer to use the KA. Love your everything topping. Also the idea of eating them as burgers is great. I should try it. Love your pictures 🙂

    11:33 pm  Jun 1st, 2009
  28. Deb

    As usual Nicole, your photos are great and could be published as a step by step instruction book for bagel making. I did finally make great bagels after finally finding the right high gluten flour, and my attempts and final success can be found at

    My next bagel attempts will be to make cinnamon raisin bagels as well since they are my favorite.

    I am running a Bread Baker’s Apprentice book giveaway on my site since I have enjoyed this experience so much! Thanks again Nicole!


    11:34 pm  Jun 1st, 2009
  29. Sandra

    Hi Nicole!
    Thanks a lot for your step by step recipe, it’s great !
    I have just one question. I’m from Barcelona (Spain) and it’s hard to believe, but can’t find yeast ! I suppose there’s no quite tradition these days to bake at home, and the kind of yeast I find is very simple for sweets cakes etc. SAF yeast is impossible ! even though it is from France…
    Could you tell me please where I could find it at least on line?
    Thanks a lot ! and sorry for my English !

    1:24 am  Jun 2nd, 2009
  30. Susie

    Great detailed post. Love reading your entries.
    Your bagels look great.
    This is so much fun,

    1:40 am  Jun 2nd, 2009
  31. Daniel

    As usual, your photos and bagels are beautiful! Thanks for coordinating the BBA challenge. Here’s a link to my post:


    2:47 am  Jun 2nd, 2009
  32. Rebecca

    Terrific post! This is really inspiring. Your photos are gorgeous and the results look so delicious. Thank you for sharing it all so carefully. I am starting my sponge today (I’m running a week behind, but planning to do bagels during the week and brioche on the weekend). Btw, on the flour – I’m going with KA bread flour, too. I went to the KA store last week and found some organic high gluten flour there, but it was $10 per 5 lb bag! Thought I’d go with the bread flour I already have on hand…


    5:34 am  Jun 2nd, 2009
  33. Erin

    I officially bow down to you oh great baking diva! These bagels look top notch. PS: I have the same scale. Mine if pink of course though 😉

    5:36 am  Jun 2nd, 2009
  34. Jodi

    I love the “growing up in Cali eating donuts” comment! So true! And biscuits and gravy were a hit too. Life on the East Coast is all about yummy bagels. We faithfully get up on Sunday mornings and go to our local bagel deli and pickup our morning freshly baked bagels. I eat them with butter and jelly (like my biscuits) and now sometimes egg salad. But of course the real way to eat them here is with cream cheese or lox! 🙁 My favorite are sesame bagels. We also pick up garlic and onion bagels and use them later in the week for a quick meal as pizza bagels!

    Beautiful post. They definitely look like they would rival our hometown bagels! Maybe in your next profession you can “schlep” out here and open up a bagel shop!

    5:40 am  Jun 2nd, 2009
  35. Susan/Wild Yeast

    Mistakes and cheats? No, just call it “refining the method!” This is a great photo tutorial and your finished bagels are definitely for the ages.

    6:01 am  Jun 2nd, 2009
  36. Oggi

    The thing I learned from making bagels at home is that store-bought will never be good enough for me.:D

    I loved reading your post and enjoyed all the photos. Thanks for the burger idea.:)

    6:16 am  Jun 2nd, 2009
  37. Kris

    Wonderful job Nicole! I made mine for the second time yesterday. No, I am not that kind of girl, but we had a lot of hungry people here over Memorial weekend and there weren’t any left. So… I used KA bread flour and added 1 t. of Vital Wheat Gluten per 1 c. of flour this time (I used just the KA bread flour the first time). Easier and cheaper than finding the high gluten flour– and I found the vital wheat gluten at my very small local grocery store. My second attempt was GREAT! (My first attempt was ‘good– but not perfect’) I love this challenge– thanks again for giving us the opportunity!

    6:56 am  Jun 2nd, 2009
  38. Paula

    I’m going to try these this weekend. I have a side of smoked salmon ready and was just looking for a good bagel recipe. So far the ones I’ve found say you can’t leave the bagels in the fridge over night, and I’m not an early morning person, so I’m definitely in favour of these.
    And I love the bread baking challenge idea. What a perfect way to learn in the company of others. Got to make sure I have time to commit and then I think count me in.

    7:30 am  Jun 2nd, 2009
  39. Sean

    Oh, by the way, I froze some of the bagels we made and they came out well. Not as good as the first day, of course, but not bad. I think after freezing, they really need to be toasted, though (whereas I’ll eat the fresh ones as-is).

    7:33 am  Jun 2nd, 2009
  40. Ivete

    Wow, yours came out gorgeous! Mine, not so much:

    I’ll definitely be trying them again. If it weren’t for this challenge I don’t think I would ever have even TRIED bagels!!

    7:55 am  Jun 2nd, 2009
  41. Jeff

    Joy and joyness has been had by all and I am happy we all can suffer with hand kneading. Nicely done and thankfully this week we will be rewarded with a ton of butter to help replace all those excess calories we burned kneading.

    Looks amazing and love the burger idea!!! Mine have been enjoying the comfort of open face cheese sandwiches under the broiler for a quick snack. Unfortunately I am so freaking sick of eating them right now so I donated the remainder to a friend.

    My bagel post:

    10:14 am  Jun 2nd, 2009
  42. Devany

    Great post and excellent looking bagels.

    Big Bertha! LOL. I love it. I call mine “Big Blue”.

    Here is my bagel post:

    ~devany, Hilo, HI

    11:10 am  Jun 2nd, 2009
  43. Katie

    Your bagels look beautiful! I love the scale idea. I’m going to have to look into one of those if I keep baking! Here’s my post about my bagels:

    11:44 am  Jun 2nd, 2009
  44. carolyn

    Hey Nicole,
    Your bagels look so great! Thanks for posting my blog on your blog 🙂
    This challenge has been so much fun – a great learning experience in so many ways!


    12:16 pm  Jun 2nd, 2009
  45. MyKitchenInHalfCups

    This does make great bagels, bagels for the ages yes.
    The scale: I didn’t get what people said until I started using mine several years ago. Now it’s out all the time and I use it several times a day. Actually I’m on my second one and thinking about upgrading;)
    Your ‘mistake’ just goes to show how very forgiving this bread stuff is.
    I must try the everything topping you’ve done here. Every recipe works in this book.
    Yes if there weren’t so many yet to bake I’d love each one again.
    I just enjoyed my first slice of rich man brioche … oh my.
    This is a terrific experience.

    1:02 pm  Jun 2nd, 2009
  46. ATigerintheKitchen

    Beautiful bagels! I’m realizing more and more that I really need to get a kitchen scale. (Do you use that dough cutter a lot? I’m wondering if it would be helpful to get one as well.)

    I loved the color that you got on your bagels. Am wishing that I’d thought to use my bagels for burgers. Delicious picture. Congrats!

    1:51 pm  Jun 2nd, 2009
  47. Nicole

    Cheryl (A Tiger in the Kitchen): I highly recommend buying a bench scraper (what I’m using to cut the dough in the photos). In addition to dividing dough, it’s great for cleaning dried of bits of dough and flour from counter tops and pastry boards. Definitely one of my favorite baking tools!

    2:17 pm  Jun 2nd, 2009
  48. wendy

    These bagels are great! I’ve made them three times and plan to make them again soon. I love your step by step pictures.

    Thanks for all your hard work for the group. It’s fun!

    2:52 pm  Jun 2nd, 2009
  49. Madam Chow

    Great pictures, as usual! These were a hit at my house, too, and I went the whole wheat route. They are best toasted, I think, and they make great sandwiches.

    5:20 pm  Jun 2nd, 2009
  50. Anna

    Looks great! I too loved this week. My KA pro mixer protested a bit, but luckily the dough was pretty much ready when I decided it had enough. It was a fun dough to work with (for a few minutes at least). And surprisingly, mine looked awesome if I do say so myself! Here they are:

    6:00 pm  Jun 2nd, 2009
  51. Cindy

    Beautiful bagels and photos. I also loved these bagels so much I made them again last weekend, this time with cheddar and jalapeno. The cheddar slightly oozes out and forms a crust on the bottom of the bagel. I also topped them with a bit of cheddar and so that made a top crust. They were unbelievable. Thanks again for dreaming up this challenge. Without it I never would have made my own bagels. And thanks to Peter for the wonderful recipe.
    My bagel adventure can be found at:…of-some-bagels/

    6:08 pm  Jun 2nd, 2009
  52. pam

    This is the best bagel post ever! Seriously, it is a fabulous tutorial. With your great pictures, I think I am ready to attempt bagels.

    4:21 am  Jun 3rd, 2009
  53. lesley

    I just popped in to see what’s cooking…
    making bagels is something I’ve yet to attempt, I’ve always enjoyed them with smoked salmon & cream cheese, but to actually get into the kneading is a problem for me ( weak wrists) is there no way round this?

    7:00 am  Jun 3rd, 2009
  54. Sean

    I did the kneading in my KitchenAid mixer and it worked ok. Definitely got a bit warm, and I think I’ll do it by hand next time, but if you can’t do it by hand I think it’s a decent option.

    7:14 am  Jun 3rd, 2009
  55. Phoo-D

    These look wonderful! I agree that the bagels were quite forgiving and had an incredible flavor. I couldn’t find the malt syrup and then forgot to add in the alternatives and despite that thought they were some of the best tasting bagels I’ve ever enjoyed. Here’s my post about them:

    7:44 am  Jun 3rd, 2009
  56. Phoo-D

    Oh I forgot to mention, I used KA Bread flour too but added in vital wheat gluten (Bob’s Red Mill brand, surprisingly found it at Walmart) Worked like a charm.

    7:47 am  Jun 3rd, 2009
  57. Nicole

    Leslie: Some people were able to knead the dough using a stand mixer, but it’s so stiff that it tends to be hard on the machines. It can be done, just be careful 🙂

    Phoo-D: I feel like an idiiot because I have some vital wheat gluten in my pantry and completely forgot about it. I’ll try it next time!

    8:18 am  Jun 3rd, 2009
  58. Kate

    Your bagels look great. Mine looked darn good too! And, as a person who grew up in New York, I say these are really super bagels. The only crit I have/got from tasters is that they should have been a bit deeper in color (my fault) and shinier. Next time — egg wash. I left some of mine plain and topped some with rosemary garlic salt. SO good! And really pretty easy–much easier than I anticipated.

    12:01 pm  Jun 3rd, 2009
  59. nico

    very nice as always, I really enjoy reading your posts. I made my brioche already so this weekend I think I gonna repeat the bagels and some brioche since my father in law is coming and he loves those.

    6:28 am  Jun 4th, 2009
  60. Rebeca

    Looks great! Here’s mine:

    9:20 am  Jun 4th, 2009
  61. Judy H,

    Kneading the dough was a real workout, but boy was it worth it. I will definitely make these again. I topped some with poppy seeds and left some plain. I threw a bunch in the freezer to take up to Toben and Sarah this weekend, so we’ll see how well they freeze and thaw. They are definitely the best bagels I’ve ever eaten, including the ones from New York.

    12:42 pm  Jun 5th, 2009
  62. Judy H,

    Whole Foods carries Bob’s Red Mill Vital Wheat Gluten Flour. I didn’t add it to the bagel recipe, but I add it to some of the other breads I make to make them easier to work with. It is good if you are adding coarse grains or other things to your dough. I might try adding some next time I make bagels.

    12:57 pm  Jun 5th, 2009
  63. derf

    great recipe
    cannot wait to try it
    i like to use 1 1/2 times the barley malt syrup called for to get a sweeter taste and a little darker color
    if you can get new york city water for the boiling, it makes a difference

    check out this site for other great recipes and places to buy awesome baked goods:

    7:42 am  Jun 7th, 2009
  64. Laurie Ashton Farook

    Love Big Bertha! And your bagels turned out great, too. 🙂

    Mine are a failure of sorts, deformed and mutant. The post is up at for everyone to laugh at. 🙂

    8:02 am  Jun 8th, 2009
  65. BBA - Bagels – Fake Ginger

    […] am now officially a week behind most of the BBA bakers. I hate being behind but I’ve just been too busy. I actually made these last weekend an […]

    3:03 pm  Jun 8th, 2009
  66. Green Bean

    Love it. I just made bagels a week or so ago. They were actually much easier than I thought they would be! Except mine were different sizes. Guess I’ll have to weigh them like you did. Very nice.

    5:21 pm  Jun 9th, 2009
  67. Di

    Your bagels look awesome! And I have to agree, measuring is so easy with a digital scale. I’m keeping up with the baking, for the most part, but am behind on my blogging. I finally got my bagel post up:

    12:13 pm  Jun 14th, 2009
  68. Barbara

    I tackled my bagels last night (I’m catching up to the group with my two breads per week schedule but, boy, we have a LOT of bread). My experience was not nearly as lovely as yours and many of the other posters. Here’s a description of how it’s gone so far: I love your descriptions and the pictures really help to visualize the process and the outcome. Thanks!

    8:53 am  Jun 20th, 2009
  69. Barbara

    I finished my bagels…You can see the sad results here:

    3:33 pm  Jun 22nd, 2009
  70. body loving posts from the blogosphere 06.28.09 « medicinal marzipan

    […] Pinch My Salt, Peter Reinhart’s Bagels […]

    1:45 pm  Jun 28th, 2009
  71. Danielle

    Hi Nicole,

    For a non-bagel fan, I’m pretty delighted with this recipe. I found it pretty straightforward and simple to make. Good on you for tackling the dough with your whisk and hand-kneading it…I’ll have to keep that for next time! I used KA’s high-gluten flour and malt powder and it worked like magic. I’ve posted about it here:

    4:22 pm  Jul 6th, 2009
  72. AP269

    Hi, your bagels look great. I just finished mine. Here’s the post:

    12:38 pm  Aug 22nd, 2009
  73. Bob

    So I’m a bit behind. Making the bagels this weekend. Peter’s book is great, but I read and re-read your post before and during my baking. Thanks for the great information, advice, letting us know about your “mistakes” and the great photos. I have the laptop in the kitchen comparing my dough to your photos.

    I can’t wait for the Brioche next. I’ve NEVER thought to even try.

    Oh and can I just say the Artos, toasted with a spread of Nutella. Great bed time snack. Also thanks for the French toasts suggestion. That’s how I started my Sunday.

    5:41 pm  Aug 26th, 2009
  74. Herbed Focaccia from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice — Pinch My Salt

    […] such as a poolish (like I used for the ciabatta), or by refrigerating the dough overnight (the bagels were a good example of overnight […]

    9:04 am  Aug 27th, 2009
  75. Abby

    Trying to catch up….Here are my bagels, which I boiled and baked this morning:
    I totally agree with you…I would make these once a week if there weren’t so many other breads to bake! =)

    11:47 am  Sep 13th, 2009
  76. Carla McGarvie

    I just tasted my bagels fresh from the oven. So glad to read that you had trouble getting the flour incorporated, too. I kneaded for a total of thirty minutes including the ten minutes it took to use all the flour. The dough seemed dry but the bagels are great. Thanks so much for organizing.

    8:50 pm  Sep 20th, 2009
  77. Scratch one off the list.

    […] and plotting, I finally made my first batch of bagels! I used the recipe and tips from He-Eats and Pinch My Salt, both which used a recipe from Peter Reinhart’s The Breadmaker’s Apprentice (currently […]

    12:06 pm  Nov 12th, 2009
  78. Sourdough Bagels |

    […] Bread Baker’s Apprentice book for guidance, compulsively reviewed the posts of every single BBA challenger who had followed his bagel recipe, and, on an afternoon when it seemed I could not sit at the […]

    10:47 pm  Nov 12th, 2009
  79. body loving posts from the blogosphere 06.28.09

    […] Pinch My Salt, Peter Reinhart’s Bagels […]

    1:28 pm  Dec 12th, 2009
  80. Malea Kneen

    I just made the Cinnamon Raisin Bagels this weekend. Really good! Very easy to make and great flavour and texture – I am looking forward to seeing how well they freeze. Anyhow, there was a moment of horror as I was showering while waiting for them to cool when I realised that I had forgotten to add the 5 tbsp of sugar (this variation only) into the dough – anguished howls from the bathroom. I reasoned that the 2 cups of raisins should provide sufficient sweetness to make things OK and, indeed, that turned out to be the case. My 8 yo bagel devotee actually complained that they were “too raisiny” and I think that I would, next time, drop the raisin quantity back by a third or even a half (but this time add some of the sugar – I don’t like them too sweet), even though the rest of the tasting committee thought the raisins were good. A big success. I would never have believed that I could make such great bagels at home.

    9:17 am  Jan 24th, 2010
  81. Bagels For The Bread Bakers Apprentice Challenge |

    […] For the bagels, I tried a sweet version – cinnamon and raisin bagels. I followed the recipe as closely as I could but when it came to boiling the bagels, I forgot to add baking soda and so my bagel looked quite ugly. Also, the dough had risen a lot more than I expected so it wasn’t holding shape too well. Learning from my mishap, I shaped smaller bagels the next day and made sure to add the baking soda in the water before plonking in the bagels. And just by the look of it, I knew these would be perfect! For step by step instructions, you must check out Nicole’s post on bagels. […]

    1:53 pm  May 12th, 2010
  82. Dar

    Your bagels look awesome! I just finished trying this recipe.. well the second time around. Your bagels look super smooth, I didn’t incorporate all the flour and might not be kneading mine enough.. and maybe that’s why they look lumpy and a little skinny. I did cheat a little and didn’t use the window pane test. Ah well, me being lazy.
    Anyways, they still turned out good! and I posted it up on my blog.

    6:18 am  Jul 18th, 2010
  83. World Bread Day 2010 « Cocina a Tiempo Parcial

    […] is a bit long but worthy! You can find it in english here, in 2 of my favorite blogs: this one and this one. I just added blueberries and chili & cheese right before making the rolls, add these extra […]

    10:03 pm  Oct 15th, 2010
  84. Warm Red Cabbage Slaw with Apple and Caraway Seed — Pinch My Salt

    […] I purchased a bottle of McCormick Gourmet Collection Caraway Seed for bagels I made for the Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge last year.  I had never used caraway seed and I really didn’t think I would even like it […]

    12:41 pm  Jan 10th, 2011
  85. Reinhart peter | Info007cleanin

    […] Peter Reinhart’s Bagels – Pinch My Salt […]

    7:26 pm  Apr 1st, 2012
  86. Walt

    Obviously very late to the party. lol

    I did this based on his Artisan’s Bread Everyday recipe. Fantastic. First time I used the syrup in both the dough and the bath. Second time I used the powder in the dough and the syrup in the bath. Reasoning was purely aesthetic. The syrup left the dough a very dark color.

    Both time had excellent results in regards to taste. And being from NJ I am a tough judge!

    6:28 am  Feb 25th, 2016
Leave a Comment