Bagels, chewy and delicious – all the secrets you need to know

There is something so incredibly satisfying in eating a bagel! It must be the jaw workout you do while chewing it… But also, the glossy top, the familiar shape and all the awesome combinations you can invent for the spreads.

If you want to achieve that perfect chewiness and freshness at the same time, here are the three things you should focus on:

1. Flour

You need a high gluten flower with 12-14% protein. Bagels have very few ingredients, but from all of them, flour is the most important. So make sure you buy a high gluten flour and make sure you will knead it for 15-20 min to develop very well that gluten.

2. Hydration

The amount of water you are using is very important. The ideal hydration is between 50-60%, but not higher. I use for my recipe a 56 percentage and they come out perfectly chewy. Besides the flour absorbing just as much water as it needs for becoming chewy, this lower hydration helps a lot with the manual kneading. Your dough will be elastic and very easy to knead.

3. Method for rolling the bagel

There are two methods for creating the bagels, here are the differences.

Method 1 for less chewiness

This is the most common way of creating a bagel. Roll the dough into a sphere, then pinch a hole with your index finger and thumb, then rotate it with your both index fingers through the hole. The outcome for this method is the following: the bagel will be a bit less chewy, it will have a more chunky look and it will dry faster over the days.

Method 2 for more chewiness

This is the traditional way of creating a bagel and the one I prefer. Roll the dough in a rectangular shape, roll it into a tube, twist it in opposite directions, wrap it around the hand and roll it gently for combining the edges. The outcome for this method is the following: the bagel is more chewy, it will have a better and rounder shape and will keep fresher. Make sure you connect the two ends well, otherwise they will come apart during the cooking process.

Here is how to two method look like next to each other:

home made bagelsBagels
Servings: 9
Preparation time(knead, rise, boil): 1.5 hours
Baking time: 20 min
Total time
: 2 hours
: medium


  • 500 g bread flour
  • 9 g dried instant yeast
  • 14 g of sugar
  • 2 teaspoon of salt (6g)
  • 280 g of lukewarm water (32 C)
  • 20 g brown sugar (for boiling them)
  • 1 egg for covering them


  1. Make sure that your flour is fresh and dry. Mix it with the salt using your hand.
  2. Activate the yeast with 100 g of lukewarm water (32 C) and the sugar.
  3. Pour the water on the flour and combine them well and let it rest for 10 min. This will help the gluten to start developing.
  4. Knead the dough for 15-20 minutes. The method you should use is rolling the dough towards yourself and pushing away from you.
  5. At the end of the 15 min your dough should be very elastic and very easy to manipulate still.
  6. Let it rise for 1 hour in a bowl that was previously covered with oil on the inside.
  7. Make the dough into a roll, cut it in 9 pieces.
  8. Create the bagels choosing one of the methods described in the introduction.
  9. Let them sit for 10 minutes to rise again.
  10. Boil them for 1 minute on each side in the sugary water.
  11. Spread an egg on them and add your favorite seasoning (in my case just few with sesame).
  12. Bake them on 220 ºC for 20 minutes, while rotating the baking tray 15 minutes in.
  13. Let it sit for 10 minutes in the opened oven.
  14. One extra type of bagel that I love is with cinnamon and raisins. In step 7, before rolling them, I add the cinnamon and raisins. It is the perfect type of bagel to serve with jam.
  15. Serve them hot or cold or toasted with your favorite spread.