Bagels, Lox and Schmear

The day you I have all been waiting for has finally arrived. I made bagels! The holy grail of Jew food. This may be one of the proudest days of my young Jew life, after my show stopping Haftorah performance at my Bat Mitzvah, getting into a top tier university, and dating an orthodontist for two weeks once. Mama was so proud! Now, Bubbe does not have a bagel recipe. She tends to stockpile bagels from her local deli by the baker’s dozen, and pulls out a few freezer burnt poppy seed ones wherever my brother and I visit. Her rationale, of course, is that they were fresh when she froze them so they are fresh now. You eat your gosh darn bagel and you enjoy it, Bubelah! Well these puppies are so good they are never going to make it to the freezer. I used Mara’s recipe, complete with lox and schmear, and enjoyed one fresh out of the oven. Now mine weren’t as pretty as Mara’s, but they sure tasted fantastic – holy canolli, this is what I have been missing in my life since moving to Texas! Besides a cowboy of my very own of course. Giddy up.

Let’s. Make. Bagels!

Look how simple this is- you probably even have all these ingredients in your pantry. What are you waiting for? First, mix up the flour, sugar, salt and oil in a large bowl. Then, combine the yeast with warm water and let it sit and get foamy for about 20 minutes. Yum.

After 20 minutes, pour the yeast and water into the flour mixture, and knead until smooth. I am guessing I didn’t knead enough, as my dough was kind of lumpy (again with the laziness). Move the dough to a clean surface and divide into 8 pieces (I halved the recipe as I certainly do NOT need 8 bagels lying around my apartment). Let them rest for 10 minutes, and then roll out each piece into a rope, and join the ends to form a ring.

Allow the rings to rest another 20 minutes (don’t worry, all this bagel resting will be worth it! Keep you eye on the prize). In the meantime, pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees and bring a large pot of water to a boil. Boil the bagels for one minute, flip and boil for one more minute. Remove bagels from water and add toppings if you like (I made a sesame seed one for kicks). Bake your bagels for 20 minutes or so, until brown and crispy and your kitchen smells like your favorite bagel joint.

Dig in!

Top with lox, schmear and onions. Don’t worry about your breath, boys love the scent of smoked fish on a lady. Trust me.

Excuse me, I need to be alone.

Mara’s Homemade Bagels

Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 8
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1¼ cups warm water or more in needed
  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  1. Mix the yeast into 1 cup warm water and allow it to get foamy for about 20 minutes.
  2. Measure the flour, sugar, salt, oil and remaining water in a large bowl.
  3. Pour the yeast and water into the flour mixture and knead until smooth, adding more water if needed.
  4. Move the dough to a clean surface and divide into 8 pieces.
  5. Allow the pieces to rest for 10 minutes, and then roll each piece into a rope, joining at the end to form a ring.
  6. Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees and bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  7. Boil the bagels for 1 minute, flip and boil for one more minute.
  8. Remove bagels from water and add toppings if you like (sesame seeds, salt, or poppy seeds would all be tasty)
  9. Bake your bagels for 20 minutes or so, until brown and crispy.





  1. says

    These look delicious! Did you like them better than store bought? They don’t look complicated so even someone like me might be able to give them a try!

    • says

      Thanks, Gloria! They are really easy and really delicious- especially straight out of the oven. And I am a total bagel snob. Next time I am back in NYC, I may bring back some of their precious tap water. Apparently that is the secret!

  2. Bubbe says

    My precious kindala, Please do not insult your bubbe on a blog with international fame. Yes, my frozen bagels were fresh when I put them in the freezer and you can be I will never repeat this tradition again. Here’s to Homemade Bagels Forever!!!

    With love,


    • says

      Thanks for the suggestion, Anna! I love to try new variations on recipes, so will give The Fresh Loaf’s a try. I would also love to try some new flavors! (Maybe cinnamon raisin or everything?)

    • says

      Hi Lisa- good question. I have no clue! I got this lox from Super Target because I am poor, and would not highly recommend it, but maybe Central Market would have some quality lox? If I find some, I will let you know.

    • says

      Thanks, Heather! I guess that is the trick! This is my first experience making bagels, but the recipe that Anna suggested from The Fresh Loaf uses a damp towel instead of boiling them prior to baking. I will have to try this version and compare!

  3. Nat says

    Hi Amy,

    Can I use dry active yeast as I can’t get instant yeast where I live? If I can use dry active yeast should I use 2 teaspoons? Thanks

  4. Nat says

    Hi, Do you think I should still wait 20 minutes to proof the yeast as the 7 gram dry active yeast I use gets foamy in about 10 minutes, or is it better to wait the 20 mins? Are these ok to freeze? Do you toast them after they have defrosted? Thanks

    • says

      If it is foamy in 10 minutes, should be good to go! Yes you can freeze them, and I would toast them after they are defrosted for a better taste, Of course they are better fresh!


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