Bagels topped with sesame seeds, poppy seeds, minced garlic, and minced onion.

Homemade High-Altitude Bagels

Bagels topped with sesame seeds, poppy seeds, minced garlic, and minced onion.

Servings: 10-12


  • 2 cups warm water (105°F – 115°F)
  • 3 Tablespoons + 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup sugar, packed brown sugar, or barley malt syrup
  • 6 1/4 cups bread flour or high gluten flour
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • Optional add-ins: dried fruit, chopped nuts, flavored chips, spices, herbs, etc.
  • Cornmeal for dusting
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • Ice water
  • Optional toppings: cinnamon sugar, coarse salt, everything bagel seasoning, fresh minced onion or shallots, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, or shredded cheese, etc.


  • In a large bowl, using an electric stand mixer, combine warm water and yeast; rest for 5 minutes. With a paddle attachment, add the sugar and flour; mix at low speed until combined. The dough will be shaggy and some flour may not be hydrated. Allow the dough to rest for 15 minutes.
  • Switch to a dough hook, add the salt, and, if using, optional add-ins. Knead the dough at medium speed for 2-5 minutes. You want a moist, smooth, and firm dough after you have mixed it.
  • Lightly brush a large bowl with oil. Place the dough in the bowl and turn the dough to coat with oil. Cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel. Let rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
  • Punch the dough down, and cut the dough into 10 – 12 pieces or strips. Use a scale to be precise, if desired.
  • Shape the bagels:
    • Ball shaping method: shape each piece into a round ball. Press each dough ball gently against the work surface, moving your hand and the ball in a circular motion pulling the dough into itself while reducing the pressure on top of the dough slightly until the perfect dough ball forms. Repeat with other dough rounds. Shape the bagels by one of two methods below.
    • Hole shaping method: coat a finger in flour, and gently press or poke your finger into the center of each dough ball to form a ring. Twirl and stretch the ring to about 1/3 the bagel’s diameter with a 2-inch diameter hole and place it on a lightly oiled cookie sheet. Repeat the same step with the remaining dough.
    • Rope shaping method: sprinkle a few drops of water onto the work surface, and roll each dough piece into a rope about 9-inches long. Place one hand palm up so that your four fingers are centered on top of the rope. Fold each side of the dough over your fingers, so that the ends overlap by about 2 inches. Holding the dough, turn your hand over and roll it on the countertop to seal the two ends together. A drop of water may be needed on the overlapped dough, so the ends seal together.
  • After shaping the bagels and placing them on a cornmeal-dusted sheet pan, cover with a damp kitchen towel or spray plastic wrap with a non-stick spray and allow to rise for 20-30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400ºF.
  • Bring a large pot of water with molasses to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer.
  • Use a slotted spoon or skimmer to lower 2-3 of the bagels into the water. Once the bagels are in the water, they will float to the top. Let them cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute, and then flip them over to cook another 30 seconds to 1 minute. Extend the boiling times to 2 minutes each, if you prefer a chewier bagel. Next, remove the bagels and place them in an ice-water bath to cool for a few seconds.
  • If you want to add toppings to the bagels, do so as you take them out of the water. Alternatively, you can use an egg wash to get the toppings to stick before baking the bagels.
  • Once all the bagels have boiled and have been topped with your choice of toppings, transfer them to an oiled or parchment-lined baking sheet.
  • Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until golden brown. The internal temperature of the bread should be 190°F.
  • Remove the bagels from the oven. Transfer to wire rack and cool.
  • Store bagels on the countertop in a plastic bag or wrapped in foil to keep it from going stale; however, the crust will soften due to trapped moisture. Do not store the bagels in the refrigerator. Freeze for longer storage.


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