sesame bagels, homemade


My first try at homemade bagels was a success. While they take several hours to make counting rising times, the recipe is easy and hands-on time is just little over an hour. I got the original recipe from Munchies, and made some minor adjustments. Here’s the skinny:

  • 5 cups bread flour (you can use all-purpose flour as well; I like the chewiness bread flour gives them)
  • 1 tsp yeast
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp buckwheat honey (barley malt syrup could also work)
  • 1.5 tbsp salt
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup raw sesame seeds


  1. Put water, yeast, sugar, salt, and honey in stand mixer (like a KitchenAid) with dough hook. Mix together.
  2. Add 5 cups flour slowly, giving it time to mix. When all the flour is in, mix for 5 minutes.
  3. Put dough in oiled bowl and cover w/oiled plastic wrap to keep it from drying out. Let rise in warm place for 2 hours or until about double.
  4. Put dough on lightly floured board and cut into 12 equal pieces. Roll into 12 balls and put on parchment-lined baking sheets (I used 2 sheets). Cover with a damp cloth and let rise for 20 minutes.
  5. Uncover and make a hole in the middle of each bagel. Poke a hole with your thumbs and give the dough a quick spin around one thumb to make a 2″ hole.
  6. Put holed bagels back on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Let rise uncovered for another 20 minutes.
  7. While bagels are rising, preheat oven to 500F, and start a large stock pot 3/4 filled with water to boil.
  8. When bagels are done with their final rise, drop in boiling water for 30 seconds, 3-4 at a time (however many fit with space to float independently). Flip the bagels and boil for another 30 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon back onto parchment lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with sesame seeds while still wet. Repeat for remaining bagels.
  9. Place in preheated 500F oven for 5 minutes. Rotate baking sheets, turn oven down to 350F, bake for another 10-15 minutes until golden brown.
  10. Cool on racks, if you can wait.


Homemade cream cheese update:

I made some cream cheese to go with those bagels. The recipe I used called for 1 qt of heavy cream (from the local dairy – not the ultra-pasteurized stuff you usually get in the supermarket) with 1/8 tsp. mesophilic culture (mine from stirred together in a glass bowl.

I warmed the oven to 170F, put the cream-filled bowl in the oven, turned off the oven, and let it sit for 10 1/2 hours. Once it formed a solid curd, I drained the curd for 12 hours through a butter muslin lined strainer placed on top of a bowl. After the curd became a solid ball, I mixed in a tsp. of cheese salt (any fine-grind salt will do) and put it back into the muslin let it drain for another hour.

The result was more cultured butter than what I think of when I think of cream cheese. It’s relatively soft at room temperature, like butter, and has a mild tang. When spread on toasted bagels, it melted less quickly than butter, but not nearly as slowly as packaged cream cheese. It tastes fine and has a little butterfat waxiness. It wasn’t what I had in mind for cream cheese, though. Perhaps I’ll try another cream cheese recipe next time to get a more cream-cheesy flavor and texture. Or, [dramatic back of hand to forehead], go for good old Philly.

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