Easy Homemade Bagels: #29 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

Hot, fresh-from-the-oven, chewy bagels are a fun weekend treat. The steps are super easy but there is one overnight resting period. If you have some time on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning, this is a great recipe to allow make-your-own bagel sandwiches for Sunday lunch.

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($2 total)

1 tbsp + 1 tbsp honey – $0.28
1 tbsp active dry yeast – $0.50
2 tsp + 1 tsp salt – $0.15
1 cup hottest tap water + full pot of water – free
2 cups flour – $0.32
1½ cups white whole wheat flour – $0.26
¼ cup milk or unsweetened soy milk – $0.10
1 tbsp baking soda – $0.04
Sesame/poppy seeds to taste


1. In a small bowl, mix 1 tbsp honey and the yeast into the 1 cup hot water and let sit to bloom for 5 mins. 

In a large bowl, add the regular and white whole wheat flours and 2 tsp salt, then mix in the bloomed yeast mixture. Stir until the dough is too hard to mix, then work it with your hands. Add a bit of extra water if the flour won’t all work itself into the dough.

Knead for about 5-8 minutes until you have a smooth, elastic, stiff ball of dough. Cover with a tea towel in a bowl and let it rise in a warm place for 1 hour.

2. Cut the risen dough into 8 equal pieces, roll each piece into a ball in your hands, then press a hole into the center of the ball and shape it into a bagel shape. Don’t use any flour at this stage or the dough will be too dry.

Put the shaped bagels onto a parchment-lined baking tray, and brush each one with olive oil. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate overnight.

3. The next morning, take the bagels out of the fridge and bring them up to room temperature for 1 hour. Test if the bagels are risen enough to boil by dropping one into a bowl of cold water and seeing if it floats.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the 1 tbsp honey, baking soda, and 1 tsp salt. Turn down to a simmer and drop 3 bagels in at a time. They should come up to float after a few seconds. Set a timer for 1 minute, and flip the bagels over for another minute when it rings, so both sides get nicely poached in the liquid.

Take the bagels out with a flapjack that has holes in it to drain out the liquid, and put back on the baking sheet. Decorate with seeds and salt while they’re still wet. Repeat with all the bagels, then preheat the oven to 500F.

Put an empty baking tray on the rack below where the bagels will bake, so the bottoms don’t get too dark. Put the bagels in and immediately turn the oven down to 450F. Bake for 8-10 minutes, open the oven to rotate the pan, and bake for another 8-10 minutes, until they’re nice and golden. 

Remove from oven, cool on a wire rack, then slice and fill with your favorite bagel toppings.

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 1 = 3+ hours
  • Servings:  3 = >6 servings
  • Cost per person (prices based on Trader Joe’s/Costco): 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 2 = decent meal
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 2 = healthy-ish
  • TOTAL: 14/18

If you tried it, please let me know how it came out for you. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

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