I first tasted bagels on my first trip to NYC in 2006 and it was pure love. It was impossible to find the same quality of bagels this side of the pond so I spent years looking forward to my next trip to the City and my next bagel! I have bagels and coffee for breakfast almost every day when I am in NYC, my favorite is pumpernickel with peanut butter and jelly, and I always bring back as many as I can fit in my hand luggage to stock up my freezer.

I even stocked up with bagels on the way back from our honeymoon in Polynesia! We had a 12 hours stopover in Los Angeles and decided to go to Manhattan Beach for brunch. After brunch, we took walk and stopped by a New York-style bakery. It was heaven for me I stoked up with bagels, the owner was so astonished that gave me a few extras for the trip home!

With the arrival of Covid-19, lockdown and no trips to the US, my bagels supplies quickly run out. I tried various bakeries in London and, although good, the bagels were far from the real thing, so I started looking at recipes and I found one that is as close as it can get!

Prep TimeCook TimeServe
90 minutes13-15 minutes6


For the bagels

  • 450g strong white flour 260g cold water
  • 6g honey
  • 10g fresh yeast (or 5g if dried)
  • 6g fine sea salt
  • 60g sugar
  • 4 liters water
  • Egg white (for brushing)

For the topping

  • 1/2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1/2 tbsp black sesame seeds
  • 1/2 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1/4 tsp coarse salt
  • 1/4 tsp red chilli flake


1. Mix the water, yeast and honey in a bowl until dissolved. In a separate bowl mix the flour and the salt, pour in the water and yeast mixture. Incorporate the ingredients using a fork and then work the dough with your hand to make a compact ball.

2. Put dough on the table and knead it for 6 minutes until the gluten develops and the dough appears elastic.

When working the dough, use the back of your palm, push out the dough before pulling back in again like in the pictures below.

Shape the dough in a ball, place it back into the bowl, cover and leave for one hour until it doubles in size.

3. Once the dough has doubled in size, weigh it and divide it into 6 equal parts. This should be roughly 110-115g each.

4. Shape each piece into a small ball first, then make the bagels.

There are two techniques that you can follow:

First method: Take each ball and roll it to create a sausage. Then roll it out to about 25cm length, wet both ends of the sausage with a bit of water and bring them together to make a doughnut. Roll the end together on the table using your palm

Second method: Insert both index fingers in the middle of the round dough, in opposite direction, and spin them around to create a hole in the middle of the ball so to shape it as a bagel.

5. Place the bagels on a lined and oiled baking tray, evenly spaced, and let them rest for ten minutes.

6. While the bagels rest, prepare the topping by mixing all the ingredients in a small bowl.

This is my version of Traders Joe’s “Everything but the bagels” seasoning. I omitted the dry onion and dry garlic, but you can add 1/2 tablespoon of each to the mix.

You can easily increase the quantities and have a big batch that will store up to 2 to 3 months.

7. Heat up a large pot with the water, bring it to simmer, add the sugar and lower the heat to a minimum. When water is hot but not boiling, add the bagels and poach them for approximately 20 seconds on each side.

8. Place the poached bagels on a lined baking tray, brush with the egg white and sprinkle with the topping mix.

7. Bake in a preheated oven at fan 200°C for 13-15 minutes until golden brown

8. Once out of the oven, let them cool down before serving

I love mine slighlty toasted with salmon and scrambled eggs!

Bagels are great when eating fresh on the day of baking as they get hard and gummy relatively quickly. You can store them in an air-tight container for a day or two but if you are not eating all the bagels on the day you bake them, then I would recommend freezing them once cold. They freeze very well, just take them out and let them defrost at room temperature when ready to have your next bagel.

Enjoy making it and let me know if you have any comments or questions!

If you want to make this recipe and share it on your social media please tag me using @prepandproperrecipes and the tag #prepandproperrecipes

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