These homemade hand rolled bagels are a great way to take your bagel making skills to the next level. Using traditional New York-style bagel ingredients like bread flour and barley malt syrup makes for chewy bagels that are perfectly dense, with a hint of sweetness and a shiny, blistered crust. Oh yes, we're going all-in on that classic New York-style bagel taste!
Don't worry if you're not a morning person – these overnight bagels are still all about convenience. You can prep the dough the night before, and when you wake up, the bagel magic will have happened.
All that's left to do is a quick boil and bake, and you'll have a batch of shiny, fresh hand rolled bagels ready to slather with your favorite toppings.
Unlike my other popular easy bagel recipes, which can be made in about 2 hours with no speciality ingredients needed and are shaped by poking a hole through a ball of dough, this is a New York-style bagel recipe, using more traditional ingredients and shaping methods.
If you're a beginner, don't worry. I've written this bagel recipe with plenty of detail and step-by-step visuals so that anyone can follow it — including instructions for how to knead the dough by hand if you don't have a mixer. If you're looking for a great beginner's guide to hand rolled bagels, you're in the right place.
Top your homemade bagels with everything bagel seasoning, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, dried onion, cinnamon sugar, or any of your favorite bagel toppings.
This recipe makes 6 large bagels, but you can divide it to make 8 smaller bagels, or even smaller to make mini bagels! These hand rolled bagels are also great sliced thin and toasted to make homemade bagel chips!
About This Bagel Recipe
Bagels are my favorite thing to bake in the whole world. I'm Jewish, bagels are basically part of my DNA.
And while I usually use my tried and true easy plain bagel recipe, I've also tried other more "traditional" hand rolled bagel recipes over the years. I'm a trained pastry chef, surely I should be able to make a traditional hand rolled bagel, right?
But recipe after recipe, I ran into issues. Either the dough was too dry for the bagel rope to stay stuck together, or the bagels were smaller and thinner than I wanted, or the shaping instructions just didn't make sense to me.
So I decided to take my existing easy bagel recipe and use that as a starting point to develop a New York-style bagel recipe with an overnight rise and hand rolled shaping instructions of my very own.
While there will always be a special place in my heart for my quick bagel recipes and they are still the bagels I make most often, these hand-rolled overnight bagels have a blistered, crisp crust and chewy center; They're much closer to what I think of when I think of a New York-style bagel.
Quick & Easy Plain Bagels
Overnight Traditional Bagels
Traditionally, New York-style bagels are made using a high protein (aka high gluten) bread flour, and they use barley malt syrup instead of sugar in the dough. So I swapped both of those into my usual recipe and reduced the yeast to allow for a longer, slower 8-12 hour rise in the fridge.
While this bagel recipe is a "more traditional" New York-style version of my quick and easy bagel recipe, there are certainly other bagel recipes that draw on other bagel traditions or that are "more traditional" than mine.
In Chicago, bagels are traditionally steamed rather than boiled. In Montreal, bagels are sweeter and flavored with honey. In Poland, you'll find obwarzanki krakowski, a cousin of the bagel which is twisted and coated with seeds.
Most New York-style bagel recipes are written using the traditional method of hand mixing and kneading the dough for a long period of time, rather than using a mixer.
This is partially because bagel dough is a tough, dense, low-hydration dough that can strain your mixer's motor and partially because it's easier to get a feel for the dough consistency when you knead by hand.
While I've included instructions for mixing and kneading by hand if you don't have a stand mixer, I did design this recipe to work with a stand mixer with dough hook. Not everyone can stand and knead dough for long periods of time, and the mixer makes things much easier and faster.
A Low Hydration Dough
In baking, hydration is the amount of water in a dough relative to the total amount of flour, expressed as a percentage. (So a recipe with 100 grams of flour and 75 grams of water is a 75% hydration dough.)
Bagels, with their chewy, dense crumb are made from a low hydration dough, usually anywhere from 55% to 65% hydration according to King Arthur Baking.
My quick and easy plain bagel recipe which uses all purpose flour has a hydration of 60%. For this more traditional bagel dough, I dropped the hydration just two percent, to 58% hydration. The high gluten bread flour is slightly more absorbent than all purpose flour, but also provides plenty of chewiness with the reduced amount of water.
Lower hydration doughs tend to be stiffer, denser, and tougher to knead. For this reason, bagel dough is traditionally kneaded by hand. While you can knead this dough by hand, I've built in two 10 minute resting periods that give the dough and the mixer a chance to rest so that you can make it in a stand mixer with a dough hook.
Here are the ingredients you'll need to make these New York-style hand rolled bagels! This recipe is all about the specifics, so I really don't recommend making any substitutions here (other than the yeast or salt as indicated). See recipe card for quantities.
- Bread Flour - I use King Arthur Baking Company's bread flour (aka high gluten or high protein flour) which has a higher protein content than other brands of bread flour. This is the flour traditionally used to develop bagels' characteristic chewy crust and texture.
- Water - Lukewarm to the touch. Not hot. If you want to be precise, it should be around 95°F.
- Barley Malt Syrup - This thick, sticky syrup provides a moderate amount of sweetness in traditional bagel recipes. It's used in the dough as well as in the water bath the bagels are boiled in before baking and gives bagels their bagel-y flavor and golden brown coloring. You can buy barley malt syrup at some grocery stores but it's not the easiest to find. I finally found it at my local Whole Foods, but you can also buy barley malt syrup online.
- Salt - I use Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt which dissolves quickly and is half as salty as other brands. If measuring by weight, you can use any brand or type of salt with no adjustments.
- Instant yeast - I swear by SAF Red Instant Yeast. Instant yeast is also sometimes called "rapid rise" yeast. If you only have active dry yeast, use 5 grams instead and mix it in with the liquid ingredients and let it rest for 5 minutes before adding it to the dry ingredients.
- Egg - For the egg wash to make the bagels shiny and to help any toppings stick. (Omit if you don't like/can't eat eggs.)
- Semolina Flour - (Not pictured) I use semolina flour for dusting the sheet pan under the bagels. Some people use cornmeal, but I prefer the finer texture of semolina flour.
- Non-stick spray - For spraying the tops of the bagels before putting them in the fridge so the plastic wrap doesn't stick to them.
First of all, you'll want to use a kitchen scale to weigh your ingredients. You'll have a hard time getting the bagel dough to the right consistency if you don't use weight measurements.
The next step is to dissolve the barley malt syrup and salt in warm water (95°F). The bagels are going to rise mostly in the fridge, so we want to give the yeast a nice warm environment to get working before the fridge slows them down.
Barley malt syrup is one of the stickiest, densest ingredients I've ever worked with. It is a heavy syrup and if you're not careful it's very easy to accidentally pour too much.
Weigh the barley malt syrup into the measuring cup first in case you pour too much. That way you can scoop some out if you need to.
Stir the water, barley malt syrup, and salt together until nice and dissolved.
Whisk the yeast and bread flour together in the bowl, then add the liquid mixture.
Use a stand mixer with a dough hook to mix the dough. We're going to give the dough two short 10 minute rests, one after mixing, and one after kneading.
Because New York-style bagels are made from a relatively dense, low hydration dough it can be pretty tough on your mixer. Slow and steady is the name of the game. If you have a KitchenAid mixer, keep it on speed 2 or 3 for both the mixing and kneading steps.
Mix the dough on medium-to-low speed, pausing as needed to scrape flour into the middle, until a cohesive, messy, dough forms. Be patient, this can take 7-10 minutes.
Cover the bowl and let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
Knead the dough on low speed 7-10 minutes more, dusting in flour as needed, until the dough is smooth and soft. It should feel slightly tacky, not sticky.
Cover the bowl and let it rest for 10 minutes.
If it's very dry in your kitchen, you may need to add an additional 1-2 teaspoons of water during the mixing stage. If the dough won't come together after about 7 minutes of mixing, drizzle water 1 teaspoon at a time directly onto any dry bits in the bowl until the dough comes together in a messy ball.
If the dough seems very sticky during the kneading stage, dust in more flour and keep kneading until it feels tacky instead.
🥯 How to Hand Roll Bagels
Hand rolling bagels by forming a rope and joining the ends (as opposed to rolling a ball of dough and poking a hole through the middle) is the traditional method of bagel shaping when it comes to New York-style bagels.
There is a reason bagels are formed this way: Rolling the dough collapses the gluten structure inside the dough, giving you a denser, tighter, chewier crumb.
To make hand-rolled bagels, start by dividing the dough into six equal portions. Use your kitchen scale to be precise.
Each bagel should weigh approximately 135 grams, though this can vary slightly based on how much additional flour or water you added during the mixing and kneading stages.
First we're going to pre-shape the dough into a log so that it gets used to the rope-like shape we need to form the bagels.
If you need to combine a few pieces together to make one portion of dough, stack the smaller pieces on top of the bigger pieces and flatten them against the counter to make a vaguely rectangular shape with the long side facing you.
Press the dough flat into a rectangle-ish shape.
Fold the top edge down and press to seal with your fingertips.
Repeat two or three times until the dough has formed a log. On the final fold, seal the seam then roll the log so the seam is tucked underneath.
Give the log a quick roll back and forth on the counter just to even it out. You want to avoid having tapered ends and a thicker middle.
Set the pre-shaped bagel dough logs aside under a damp (not wet) paper towel. Work relatively quickly here. Bagel dough rises fast and if you let the pre-shaped ropes hang out too long, they'll start developing giant air bubbles inside which you'll want to collapse in the next step.
I like to arrange the pre-shaped logs in the order I shaped them in so I can do the next steps in the same order. This will keep any piece of dough from sitting for too long before being shaped.
Always shape bagels on an unfloured surface. Flour will prevent the dough from sticking to itself when you join the two ends of the rope together. The friction of the dough against the counter is also important for rolling out the long rope of dough!
Roll the log of dough into a rope about 10-11 inches long. Again, avoid tapering the ends — you want a uniform thickness across the length of the rope.
Hold one end of the dough against your palm and wrap the rope around the back of your hand so the other end overlaps it across your palm by about 2-3 inches.
The overlapping ends should take up almost the full width of your palm. You want plenty of overlapped dough when you roll it against the counter, so the bagel doesn't get too thin where it's sealed shut.
Not overlapping the ends of the rope enough was one of the biggest mistakes I made when I was first learning how to join the ends of the bagel dough. Give yourself lots of overlap!
Turn your hand over and use gentle but firm pressure to roll the overlapping ends of the dough rope against the counter to seal them shut.
If there are any seams where the dough doesn't seem to be joining together, go around and pinch them shut with your thumb and forefinger.
This pinching technique may not be necessary — it's certainly not part of a traditional New York-style bagel shaping technique. But I've found it works well for me, especially if I can feel the dough rope getting thinner than I'd like before the two ends have fully sealed together.
Once you go around and pinch those seams, you can give the bagel another quick roll on the counter to smooth them out.
Traditional Bagels Need A Long, Cold Rise Time
Arrange the shaped bagels on a sheet tray sprinkled with semolina flour. The semolina gives the bagels a lightly textured bottom when you bake them and helps prevent them from sticking to the pan as they rise.
New York-style bagels need a long cold rise in the fridge to slow down the yeast activity and give the bagel dough plenty of time to rest, relax, and fuse together where you've joined the two ends of the rope.
"The combination of high protein flour and plenty of sweetener makes [bagels] expand really fast. Incredibly fast. Before-your-eyes fast. Note that doubling in size might make them seem ready for the oven, but their flavor will be flat unless given enough time to rise."Cathy Barrow, Bagels, Schmears, and a Nice Piece of Fish
If you rush this proofing step or try to do it faster at room temperature, you'll end up with airy, over proofed bagels that lack flavor and come undone when you boil and bake them.
Cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap, spraying either the underside of the plastic or the tops of the bagels lightly with non-stick spray so the plastic doesn't cling to the bagel dough.
Place the sheet pan of bagels in the fridge for 8-12 hours. The bagels will rise, expanding outward. They should look thicker and airier and spring back if you poke them.
To check if your hand-rolled bagels are ready to bake, float one in a bowl of water. If it sinks, your bagels need to rise for a bit longer.
Because the fridge slows down the rise time, you have a pretty big window of time in which to boil and bake them — anywhere from 8-12 hours is usually the perfectly proofed window for me.
When you're ready to boil and bake the bagels, take the sheet pan out of the fridge and leave it at room temperature so the bagels warm up a bit while the oven preheats and the water boils.
Boiling, Topping, and Baking
Boiling is a crucial step in the bagel making process. The hot water kickstarts yeast activity, allowing the bagels to begin expanding while also gelatinizing the starches in the crust.
Boiling the bagels is what gives them their characteristic shiny, chewy crusts and is a step that cannot be skipped. If they aren't boiled, they aren't bagels!
Where my other bagel recipes use a plain water bath, traditionally bagels are boiled in a water bath with barley malt syrup or even sometimes baking soda.
For this recipe, since we already had to buy the barley malt syrup for the dough, we're of course going to use it in the water bath too. It helps give the bagels their golden color and adds some sweetness to the crust.
Use a wide, high-sided pan filled with enough water that the bagels will have room to float but won't cause it to overflow when you add them. About 3 inches of water usually does the trick.
Bring the water to a boil, whisk in the barley malt syrup, and reduce to a vigorous simmer.
You can boil bagels anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes per side. The longer you boil them, the thicker the crust will be and the larger your bagels will be. Play around with different boiling times to find your ideal bagel crust!
I've found that the sweet spot for these hand rolled bagels is about 90 seconds total, 45 seconds per side.
Use a wire spider to flip the bagels and transfer them out of the boiling water to avoid splashing.
After the bagels have been boiled, arrange them back on the lined sheet pan sprinkled with more semolina flour.
In a small bowl, whisk together an egg and a teaspoon of water to make an egg wash.
Brush the tops and sides of the bagels with the egg wash. A pastry brush with real bristles will give you the most even coverage, though a silicone brush will also work.
The egg wash makes the crusts shiny, but also helps any toppings you'd like to add stick. An egg wash isn't necessarily part of most traditional bagel recipes, so if you'd rather not use an egg or can't eat eggs, you can also skip this step.
If you'd like to add toppings but don't want to use an egg wash, press the freshly boiled bagels into your desired toppings or sprinkle them over top and then press them onto the surface of the bagels — the moisture will help them stick. Be careful, the bagels will be hot!
Bake these New York-style bagels for 15-17 minutes in the center of a 450°F oven until the crust is lightly golden brown and slightly blistered.
When the bagels are done, let them cool for about 5 minutes on the sheet pan, then transfer to a cooling rack to finish cooling completely. Bagels are relatively small and cool quite quickly, so you don't have to wait long to eat them!
Freshly baked bagels are actually so crisp and chewy you don't even really need to toast them!
Stand Mixer with Dough Hook - This hand-rolled bagel dough needs a strong mixer with a dough hook or dough kneading attachment. I recommend using a 5-6 quart pro-line bowl-lift KitchenAid mixer or other sturdy mixer with a dough hook for best results.
If you have a tilt-head KitchenAid mixer, you'll want to keep an eye on the bowl — you may need to hold it in place while kneading. Do not go above speed 4 while making this dough.
You cannot use a hand mixer to make this bagel dough.
You don't need a lot of fancy equipment to make these overnight bagels, but here are some tools that will make it easier!
- Kitchen Scale - You need a kitchen scale to measure your ingredients. Measuring flour by cups can throw the recipe off a lot, as they're very inaccurate depending on how much you pack the flour into the cup when you scoop it. It also helps you divide the dough evenly so your bagels are all the same size.
- Bench Scraper - For dividing the dough. A knife will also work.
- Wire Spider - Helps support your delicate bagel dough when you lift it in and out of the water without splashing or dripping too much.
- Pastry Brush - A pastry brush with boar bristles will give your egg wash a smoother, more even coverage.
How to Hand Knead Bagel Dough
Don't have a stand mixer with a dough hook? No problem! You can totally knead these homemade everything bagels by hand.
Follow the same instructions for mixing and kneading the dough with the 10 minute resting periods.
For mixing, use a sturdy wooden spoon, a dough whisk, or your hands to mix the dough until it comes together in a shaggy, messy ball in the bowl.
For kneading, turn the dough out onto a clean work surface or counter top and knead by hand for 8-10 minutes until the dough is smooth, tacky, and elastic. Set a timer or play All Too Well (10 Minute Version)(Taylor's Version) start-to-finish while you knead so you don't stop kneading too soon!
There are a lot of different ways to knead dough, but you're basically looking to fold the dough over itself and press it back together, rotate it, and repeat over and over and over again.
To knead dough by hand: Press the heel of your hand down into the middle of the dough and press away from you to rock the dough forward. Fold the top of the dough down, rotate it 90 degrees, then repeat.
Lightly dust in additional flour as needed while you knead — the dough shouldn't be sticking to you or the counter. The key word here is LIGHTLY. If you add too much flour at once, it will prevent the dough from sticking to itself as you knead.
Bagels stale quickly and are best eaten same day, ideally within 4-24 hours. Though I've definitely eaten one or two day old bagels and not been mad about it.
When baked goods "go stale" that's the water absorbed during baking slowly evaporating, and bagels don't have much water in them to begin with. The good news is that slightly stale bagels are great for making homemade bagel chips!
Store bagels in a paper bag inside a plastic bag or in a large resealable bag along with a paper towel to absorb moisture.
To extend the shelf life of your bagels, freeze them within 24-48 hours of baking. I like to slice my bagels almost all the way through before freezing to make them easier to defrost later. Do not refrigerate bagels.
Reheat frozen bagels in a toaster or toaster oven, they'll be good as new. Whole frozen bagels can be reheated from frozen in a 350°F oven for about 8-12 minutes.
Practical Tips & Recipe Notes
- I'm not kidding when I say barley malt syrup is SUPER sticky. Have a wet paper towel ready before you start pouring to wipe off your hands, the jar, or any sticky, stringy spills that might happen.
- If you're worried about the barley malt syrup pouring too quickly, especially if you're opening a brand new jar, pour it onto a spoon and then tip the spoon to let it drip into the container. This will help you slow and control the pour.
- Once you roll the bagel dough into logs, don't let them sit too long before you begin rolling them out and joining the ends together. Bagel dough rises so fast and even letting them sit for 10 minutes will allow them to start developing large air bubbles. Divide and shape quickly! And if you need to pop some bubbles, you can.
Nope! You can knead the dough by hand instead. See instructions above. It will take 8-10 minutes of heavy kneading, dusting in flour as needed as you go, but it will get there. The rest of the recipe will follow as usual.
I've tried it with this recipe and the results just weren't the same. The bagels were dry and the flavor wasn't what I expected from a traditional bagel recipe. I don't recommend it!
A kitchen scale is more accurate than cup measurements and will give you the right ratio of water, yeast, salt, barley malt syrup, and flour so that your bagel dough behaves the way you want it to. Depending on how much you pack the flour, how much moisture is in the air, and what brand of measuring cups you’re using, you may be off by 30-50 grams of flour per cup which can make a huge difference in how your hand rolled bagels comes out.
I tested and developed this bagel recipe using weight measurements. If I were to convert it to cups, I would be using Google — just like you would. And since there's no set standard for what "1 cup" of flour weighs and different online converters use different amounts, I wouldn't be able to promise you'd get the same delicious results!
Basically, if you convert this recipe to cup measurements it will have a higher rate of failure. I don’t recommend it!
Hand-Rolled New York-Style Bagels (Overnight Recipe)
New York-Style Bagel Dough
- 2 quarts water
- ⅛ cup barley malt syrup
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon water
- Mise en place. In the bowl of your stand mixer, whisk together bread flour and instant yeast. Mix warm water, barley malt syrup, and salt together until the syrup and salt have dissolved.
- Mix. With the mixer running on the lowest speed and the dough hook attached, gradually pour the liquid into the bowl. Increase the speed to medium low (KitchenAid speed 2-3) until the dough comes together in a shaggy, messy, rough looking mass on the dough hook. Pause as needed to push more flour into the center of the bowl, especially early in the mixing process. Be patient. This can take 5-7 minutes. Cover and rest for 10 minutes.
- Knead. Knead the dough on medium low speed (KitchenAid speed 2-3) until it is smooth, soft, and slightly tacky to the touch, about 7-8 minutes. Dust in additional flour as needed, especially if the dough is sticking to the bowl. Cover and rest for 10 minutes.
- Shape logs. Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces (approximately 138 grams each). Cover the pieces you aren't working with with a damp paper towel. Flatten each piece into a long rectangle/oval-y shape, then roll into a log, pressing firmly with your fingertips to seal the dough together each time you roll it forward. Use both hands to apply gentle pressure, rolling the log into an even rope of dough (don't taper the ends) about 9-10 inches long.
- Shape bagels. Hold one end of the dough rope across the palm of your hand, holding it in place on your palm under your thumb. Wrap the rope around the back of your hand, so the two ends overlap across your palm by about 2-3 inches. Gently squeeze to join them together, then turn your hand over and gently but firmly roll the joined ends under your palm so they hold together. You may need to hold the top of the bagel on the back of your hand in place as you roll. If needed, pinch the seams of the joined rope ends together, then roll again on the counter briefly to smooth them out.
- Cold proof. Arrange the shaped bagels on a semolina dusted sheet pan (I can usually fit 6 bagels snugly on a quarter sheet pan) and cover with plastic wrap. Spritz the underside of the plastic wrap with non-stick spray or brush the bagels with olive oil to prevent the plastic from sticking to them. Place the covered sheet pan in the refrigerator for 8-12 hours to rise.
- Float test. To check if the bagels are ready to boil, fill a small bowl with water. Place a bagel in the water. If it floats, it's ready!
- Preheat the oven to 450°F with a rack in the center position.
- Boil. Remove the bagels from the oven about 30 minutes prior to boiling. Prepare a sheet pan with a sheet of parchment paper sprinkled with semolina flour. Whisk together water and barley malt syrup and bring to a low boil, then reduce to an active simmer. Boil bagels in batches of two or three for 45 seconds per side, then place on the prepared sheet pan.
- Bake. Brush bagels with egg wash and add any toppings you like. Bake for 17-19 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and lightly blistered.
- Cool. Let bagels cool on the sheet pan 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to finish cooling completely. Bagels are best eaten within 4-24 hours after baking!
- If it's very dry where you live, you may need to add a bit more water during the mixing process, drizzling 1 teaspoon at a time directly onto any loose dry bits in the bowl. Do not add additional water until the dough has been mixing for at least 5 minutes. There's more liquid in here than you think — give it a chance to incorporate before you decide it needs more!