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Dazzle the Houseguests

November 2, 2011

We’ve entered November, and with the passing of Halloween, the fall/winter holiday cluster has officially started  (stay tuned for the Holiday Special series, coming to AC4A!).  While most of us doesn’t have a lot of staying visitors for the haunted parties, for Thanksgiving and Christmas, quite a few of us houses family and/or friends from further away.  Aside from the turkey-ham-gravy-potatoes feast on the big nights, you’ll probably have some other meals together – including breakfasts.  What can be a more pleasant surprise to wake up to than fresh, homemade pastries…  especially if they’re fresh bagels, piping hot out of the oven!

This recipe for bagels is actually quite easy to make by hand, but if you don’t want to wake up hours ahead of your guests, or don’t feel like kneading the dough by hand, you can always just throw all ingredients into a breadmaking machine for a dough program and set the timer.  Since the recipe contains no dairy or eggs, it won’t go bad even when waiting a few hours in the machine.  Still, try to put it in as late as possible, and set it up to finish about 45 minutes to an hour before breakfast-time.


  • 2-1/2 c flour
  • 1-1/2 tsp instant dry yeast
  • 1-1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1-1/2 Tbsp oil (I used olive oil)
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup water
If you’re preparing it in the machine, just throw everything in the pan, set the timer and the program, and forget about it for a while.
If you’re making your bagels by hand, put all the ingredients except the water in a large bowl, and pre-heat your oven at the lowest possible setting (usually 100 or 150 degrees).
Ingredients combined

Combine everything in a large bowl

As soon as the oven reaches the temperature (or, if you have a digital display of the current climate inside, when you reach about 100 degrees), turn off the heat, but keep the door closed.  In the meantime, mix together all the ingredients, gradually adding enough water to form a firm dough.

Form a firm dough


Knead it smooth, then put the dough ball back into the bowl, covering it with a slightly damp towel, and put it in the oven to rise.  This way the heat and the dark helps activate the yeast and makes your dough rise faster.  Once it has about doubled in bulk, take it out, knead it gently for a few folds, then put it back in the oven.  If the temperature drops, heat it for a few minutes again.



Once the bagel dough is done with the second rising time as well, gently knead it again, then cut the dough into 6 pieces.  Roll each piece into a 7-8 inch long rope, then form the bagel ring by twisting the rope around your four fingers, then sealing the ends with a little water.  Turn each ring inside out as you take them off of your fingers, and let them rise for another 10-15 minutes; just until they get puffy.


Shape the rings, moistening the ends to seal well

In the meantime, fill a big pot or Dutch oven with water and bring it to a boil – add no salt or oil to the water; and also pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.  Drop the puffed-up bagel rings into the water and boil each side for about 90 seconds.  Make sure the bagels have ample space and don’t touch!  This boiling process kills the yeast in the dough, disabling any further rising and ensuring the nice, dense texture of your bagels.


Boil the bagels for 90 seconds on each side

Place the bagels on a lightly greased cookie sheet, and in the oven they go.  They’re ready in about 20-25 minutes – just enough to get the eggs, bacon and sausage on the table!

Homemade Bagels
Of course, don’t forget the cream cheese either!  For a little extra flavor, you can add 1 cup of raisins, dried cranberries or dried blueberries, or about 1/2 cup of dried minced onions to this dough.
Enjoy your meal!
3 Comments leave one →
  1. November 3, 2011 05:52

    Yum. My grandmother (who was Czech btw) used to make homemade donuts in a similar process. Of course she used oil instead of water. No fat there…they were delicious!

    • November 3, 2011 14:08

      Aimee – my grandma made donuts, too, but hers had no holes in them. She would cut them with a biscuit cutter and press a “crater” in the center of each, then fry them in oil. For us in Hungary, those donuts are the “masquerade season” treats, from 12th Night to Ash Wednesday, when kids dress up and have costume parties: kinda like Halloween, but less scary, and lasts a month!


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