Everything Bagel with Cream Cheese

Paul Reinhart’s New York Style Bagels

Having spent a good long time in New York, Lisa and I got used to really good New York style bagels.  Unfortunately, you just can’t get them here, so we decided to make our own…
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Servings: 12



  • 1 tsp Instant Yeast
  • 4 cup Unbleached High Gluten or Bread Flour
  • cup Room Temperature Water


  • ½ tsp Instant Yeast
  • cup Unbleached High Gluten or Bread Flour
  • tsp Salt
  • 2 tsp Malt Powder

To Finish

  • 1 tbsp Corn Meal or Semolina Flour for Dusting
  • To Taste Sesame seeds, poppy seeds, kosher salt, rehydrated dried minced garlic or onions


Day 1

  • If you have Active Dry Yeast instead of Instant Yeast, add the yeast to the water and stir well otherwise just add the yeast to the flour.
    Active Dry Yeast In Water
  • Add the water, whisking or stirring only until it forms a smooth, sticky batter.
    Bagel Sponge Before Resting
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for approximately 2 hours, or until the mixture becomes very foamy and bubbly.
    It should swell to nearly double in size and collapse when the bowl is tapped on the counter top.
    Bagel Dough after Resting
  • To make the dough, in the same mixing bowl (or in the bowl of an electric mixer), add the additional yeast to the sponge and stir. Then add 3 cups of the flour and all of the salt and malt.
    Bagel Dough Being Mixed
  • Stir (or mix on low speed with the dough hook) until the ingredients form a ball, slowly working in the remaining 3/4 cup flour to stiffen the dough.
    Bagel Dough Before Kneading
  • Transfer the dough to the counter and knead for at least 10 minutes (or for 6 minutes by machine). The dough should be firm, stiffer than French bread dough, but still pliable and smooth. There should be no raw flour – all ingredients should be hydrated. The dough should pass the windowpane test and register 77 to 71 degrees F.
    If the dough seems to dry and rips, add a few drops of water and continue kneading. If the dough seems tacky or sticky, add more flour to achieve the stiffness required.
    Bagel Dough Window Test
  • The kneaded dough should feel satiny and pliable but not be tacky.
    Bagel Dough After Kneading
  • Immediately divide the dough into 4½ ounce pieces for standard bagels, or smaller if desired (Deb note: I used 2¼ ounce pieces, and yes, I weighed them because I wanted them to bake evenly).
    Form the pieces into rolls.
    Bagel Dough Balls Before Resting
  • Cover the rolls with a damp towel and allow them to rest for approximately 20 minutes.
    Bagel Dough Balls After Resting
  • Line 2 sheet pans with baking parchment and mist lightly with spray oil.
    Proceed with one of the following shaping methods:
    Method 1: Poke a hole in a ball of bagel dough and gently rotate your thumb around the inside of the hole to widen it to approximately 2½ inches in diameter (half of this for a mini-bagel). The dough should be as evenly stretched as possible (try to avoid thick and thin spots.)
    Method 2: Roll out the dough into an 8-inch long rope. (This may require rolling part of the way and resting if the pieces are too elastic and snap back, in which case, allow them to rest for 3 minutes and then extend them again to bring to full length. Wrap the dough around the palm and back of your hand, between the thumb and forefinger, overlapping the ends by several inches. Press the overlapping ends on the counter with the palm of your hand, rocking back and forth to seal.
    Place each of the shaped pieces 2 inches apart on the pans (Deb note: I got away with 1-inch space for the minis). Mist the bagels very lightly with the spray oil and slip each pan into a food-grade plastic bag, or cover loosely with plastic wrap.
    Let the pans sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes.
    Bagel Dough Formed Into Circles Before Resting
  • Check to see if the bagels are ready to be retarded in the refrigerator by using the “float test”.
    Fill a small bowl with cool or room-temperature water. The bagels are ready to be retarded when they float within 10 seconds of being dropped into the water. Take one bagel and test it. If it floats, immediately return the tester bagel to the pan, pat it dry and cover the pan with plastic wrap. If the bagel does not float. Return it to the pan and continue to proof the dough at room temperature, checking back every 10 to 20 minutes or so until a tester floats. The time needed to accomplish the float will vary, depending on the ambient temperature and the stiffness of the dough.
    Place the pans in the refrigerator overnight (it can stay in the refrigerator for up to 2 days).
    Bagel Float Test

Day 2

  • Preheat the oven to 500° F with the two racks set in the middle of the oven and remove the bagels from the refrigerator
    Bring a large pot of water to a boil (the wider the pot the better), and add the baking soda (and optionally, a few tablespoons of barley syrup, see Note at the end). Have a slotted spoon or skimmer nearby.
    Bagels After Retarding in the Refrigerator
  • Gently drop them into the water, boiling only as many as comfortably fit (they should float within 10 seconds).
    After 1 minutes flip them over and boil for another minute. THe longer they boil, the chewier they'll be (but no longer than 2 minutes).
    Bagels Boiling
  • While the bagels are boiling, sprinkle the same parchment-lined sheet pans with cornmeal or semolina flour. (If you decide to replace the paper, be sure to spray the new paper lightly with spray oil to prevent the bagels from sticking to the surface.)
    Sheet Pan Lined With Parchment and Corn Meal
  • If you want to top the bagels, do so as soon as they come out of the water. You can use any of the optional ingredients mentioned above, or just use Everything Bagel Mix like we did.
    Everything Bagels Ready for Baking
  • When all the bagels have been boiled and topped, place the pans on the 2 middle shelves in the oven.
    Bake for approximately 5 minutes, then rotate the pans, switching shelves and giving the pans a 180-degree rotation. (If you are baking only 1 pan, keep it on the center shelf but still rotate 180 degrees.)
    After the rotation, lower the oven setting to 450 degrees F and continue baking for about 5 minutes, or until the bagels turn light golden brown. You may bake them darker if you prefer.
    Remove the pans from the oven and let the bagels cool on a rack for 15 minutes or longer before serving.
    Everything Bagels Just Out Of The Oven
  • Serve em up!
    Everything Bagel with Cream Cheese