Embellishing this recipe for plain bagels is as easy as sprinkling on your favorite topping just before baking.

Serves: 8Hands-on: 40 minutesTotal: 2 hours 25 minutesDifficulty: Medium

Serves: 8


  • 1 cup plus 1 quart water, divided
  • 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 3⁄4 tsp. active dry yeast (1 package)
  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1⁄2 tsp. plus 1⁄8 tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 2 Tbsp. cornmeal
  • 1 quart whole milk
  • 1 large egg


  • In a large bowl, combine 1 cup water, sugar, and yeast. Stir to dissolve and let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.
  • Add oil, 1⁄2 teaspoon salt, and enough bread flour to create a firm dough. Add flour only to reduce stickiness. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead 8 to 10 minutes. Return to bowl, dust the top with flour, and cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap. Rise at room temperature until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
  • Spray a baking sheet with pan spray and sprinkle with cornmeal. Turn risen dough onto a floured surface and shape into a rope, about 3 inches thick. Slice 2-inch pieces off the rope, then roll each into a tight ball. Leave balls on the floured surface, dust with flour, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and proof for 10 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 425°F. Combine milk and 1 quart water in a large, deep skillet. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Working with 1 roll at a time, poke your finger down through its center, and on a well-floured surface, begin spinning the roll to open up a large center hole. Make the hole large, as it will close in during baking.
  • Drop each formed bagel into simmering milk and water mixture, and poach 30 seconds on each side. Remove, tap off excess liquid, and place on prepared baking sheet, seam-side down. Mix egg with remaining salt and brush lightly onto bagels. Place a pan of water on the oven floor to create steam, and bake until brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. Cool completely on a rack.