1990s blog: Basic New York Water Bagels

I totally enjoy my own homemade bagels. I wrote this note in the 1990s and it is still true today:

I make these a lot! I like them for sandwiches. I think, but I’m not sure, that using malt syrup makes them better; you can find it in a beer brewing supply store. If you can’t find it, don’t worry about it!

These days (2016) I use malt powder that I purchase online from King Arthur Flour. It is more subtle than the malt syrup that I used to use, and not as sweet (so I add a little sugar). But no worries, if you want to try these but have no malt, just use sugar instead.

I like these bagels so much that I wrote about these in my other blog. Geeky food-obsessed me.

The following recipe is pretty much as I wrote it for my 1990s food blog. The recipe is adapted from The Best Bagels are Made at Home by Dona Z. Meliach. Please refer to my recipe for “Oat Bagels with Pumpkin Seeds” for photos of how to form bagels and a photo of the package of malt powder that I use.

Basic New York Water Bagels
makes 8-10 bagels

  • 1 1/8 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 tablespoons diastolic malt powder AND 1 tablespoon sugar OR 2 tablespoons malt syrup OR 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • 16 ounces bread flour (3 1/3 cups)*

*I highly recommend using bread flour rather than all purpose flour for all yeast breads. Please see my reference page on yeast and flours.

Mix in breadmaker on a dough cycle with a rising step. Or, by hand until you have a stiff dough, then let rise until double and punch down.

Divide into 8-10 equal pieces. (I like bigger bagels so I usually make 8.) I like to use a kitchen scale: The total weight of the dough is usually about 800 grams, so it’s 100 grams per bagel.

Form into bagels: press each piece into a flat round, poke a hole in the center, then enlarge the hole by placing one hand on the inside and one on the outside and rolling the dough between your hands until you have a big, smooth ring. (If you don’t get the inside hole quite big, when the dough rises and cooks, you won’t have a hole in your bagel. That’s why I say to put your hand inside the bagel; the hole needs to be that big.) Photos here.

Let the formed bagels rise 20 minutes. Bring some water to a boil in a saucepan and add malt syrup (2 tablespoons) or powder (1 tablespoon) or sugar (1 tablespoon) in it. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

When the water is boiling briskly, place the risen bagels in it a couple at a time and boil 30 seconds on each side.

(After rising, the top of the bagel is smoother than the bottom. So that the baked bagel has a smooth top, I always flip the bagel as I put it in the water. In other words, I pick up a risen bagel, turn it over and place it in boiling water. After 30 seconds, I turn it. After another 30 seconds, I take it out of the boiling water.)

Remove the boiled bagel to a rack to drain. Continue until all the bagels are boiled. Brush the bagels with egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 T water) and sprinkle with poppy or sesame seeds. Bake 18-22 minutes at 400 degrees.

NY bagels

Read the introduction to my 1990s cooking blog for the history of this category of my blog.


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