Martin's Bagels

Recipe by Martin Philip

King Arthur Baking Ambassador Martin Philip says bagels are a “zany, misfit member of the baked goods family.” While bagels aren't a staple in our bakery, Martin has his own recipe. Though with a lengthier timeline than some of the other bagel recipes on our website, the wait is well worth it for the flavor it develops. Dark and chewy (yet not tough), these bagels will make you think twice about ever buying a bagel again.

This recipe was adapted from Breaking Bread: A Baker’s Journey Home in 75 Recipes by Martin Philip, photography by Julia A. Reed, Copyright© 2017. It's been reprinted with permission of Harper Wave, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

35 mins
20 to 25 mins
14 hrs
1 dozen bagels
Martin's Bagels - select to zoom
Martin's Bagels - select to zoom
Martin's Bagel video - select to zoom


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  1. To make the poolish: Weigh your flour; or measure it by gently spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour and yeast. Add the water, mixing until smooth. Cover and let rest at room temperature for 2 to 8 hours. This broad time range is for both convenience and flavor. More time will yield more flavor, but even a few hours will be enough to make a noticeable difference.

  2. To make the dough: In a large mixing bowl combine the poolish with the water, mixing by hand to break up the poolish. Add the flour, salt, and yeast, stirring by hand or on low speed of a stand mixer until the dough forms a cohesive, shaggy, tacky mass. Resist the urge to add more flour.

  3. Place the dough in a bowl, cover, and allow it to rest for 2 hours, stretching and folding the dough over onto itself three or four times in the bowl after 1 hour.

  4. Without touching the dough again, place the bowl in the refrigerator overnight, or for 8 to 12 hours.

  5. The next day, remove the dough from the refrigerator and leave it at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours.

  6. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces; if you have a scale each piece will weigh about 114g.

  7. Shape each piece into a tight ball, place on a lightly floured surface, then cover and let rest for 15 to 30 minutes.

  8. To shape the bagels: Using your fingers, poke a hole in the middle of each ball, gently expanding the hole until it’s 2” to 3” in diameter.

  9. Return the shaped bagels to the floured surface, cover them again, and allow them to rest for 20 to 30 minutes.  

  10. While the bagels are resting, preheat the oven to 475°F. If you have a baking stone, place it on the middle rack in the oven and have ready two pieces of parchment large enough to fit the stone. To bake on baking sheets, line two pans with parchment and set aside.

  11. To prepare the water bath: Put 4” of water in a shallow (wide) 6-quart pot, then add the barley malt syrup or molasses and the salt. Bring to a medium boil.

  12. Carefully place three bagels at a time in the water bath. Boil the bagels for 30 seconds on one side. Using a slotted spoon, flip them over. Boil the bagels for another 60 to 90 seconds.

  13. Remove the bagels from the water, allowing them to drip dry for a few seconds before placing them 2” to 3” apart on the prepared parchment or parchment-lined pan; you should be able to get six bagels per parchment/pan.

  14. Sprinkle any toppings onto the bagels. Alternatively, dip the bagels into a shallow bowlful of the toppings before returning to the parchment/pan.

  15. Bake the bagels for 20 to 25 minutes, either in two batches if baking on a stone, or rotating the pans halfway through if using baking sheets. The bagels are done when the bottoms and sides are a deep mahogany brown and firm.

  16. Remove the bagels from the oven and cool them on a rack. Store bagels at room temperature for up to one day, or wrap and freeze for longer storage.

Tips from our Bakers

  • Your desired water temperature depends on a few factors, but primarily the temperature of your home will have the most influence. If your home is cool (below 70°F), you’ll want to use warmer water (between 90°F and 110°F). If your home is on the warmer side (above 70°F), use water in the lukewarm range (75°F to 90°F).
  • To shape bagels ahead of time and bake the following morning (to serve fresh for breakfast or brunch): Shape, place on a parchment-lined or cornmeal-dusted baking sheet, cover, and refrigerate. In the morning proceed with the recipe as written, boiling bagels immediately out of the refrigerator.

  • Join King Arthur baker Martin Philip and his family as they bake Martin's Bagels together, start to finish. Watch Martin Bakes: Bagels now.

  • The maximum temperature rating for most parchment paper is below 500°F, and at temperatures between 450°F and 500°F parchment’s exposed edges begin to char. To be safe, keep a close eye on anything being cooked at temperatures above 450°F (especially anything on an upper rack). Burned edges can also be minimized by trimming away excess parchment before baking.