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Jul 24, 2021

Overnight Bagels with Black Pepper

Bagels. Dough boiled in sweetened water and then baked. Yes, you can make them yourself at home!

Bagels stacked.

These bagels are chewy and flavorful, just what you'd expect from a bagel. They are great with a "schmear," for breakfast, or for making bagel sandwiches. 

This bagel recipe is slightly different from other basic bagel recipes I have tried. The dough is a little more pliable and easier to knead because there is more water in the recipe. There is also a little bit of fat in the dough, similar to egg bagels and Montreal bagels

Bagels cooling on a rack.

I used to be intimidated by making bagels at home. The whole water bath thing sounded so complicated. 

As it turns out, boiling bagels in a water bath is actually pretty easy. You just drop a couple into boiling sweetened water and let them boil for a minute, flip them over, and let them boil for another minute before placing them on your baking sheet. 

I used to feel a lot of pressure to complete this step in a hurry, but I've realized the dough is totally forgiving. 

Why are bagels boiled in a water bath? 

First, they get a shine form the gelatinized starches on the outside of the bagels. Plus, this helps the bagels hold their shape. 

Second, the sugar in the water helps with the browning of the bagels. 

Bagels in a basket.

I topped half of these bagels with a few black sesame seeds and left the other half plain. You can top them with your favorite seeds or cheeses. The first time I made them I topped them with poppy seeds and onion flakes soaked in water. 

How to make these overnight bagels:

First, mix flour, water, salt, yeast, sugar, shortening, and optional black pepper either in a stand mixer or by hand, adjusting the flour and water until you have a soft and tacky dough. The dough should not be quite as stiff as typical bagel dough. 

For the flour, I used unbleached bread flour and added a couple of tablespoons of vital wheat gluten. If you have a high gluten flour, that would be good to use instead. 

Next, place the dough into an oiled container, cover, and let rise until doubled, about an hour. 

After that, deflate the dough and place the container in the refrigerator overnight and up to two days. This really helps the dough develop flavor. 

When you're ready to make the bagels, bring a pot of sugared water to a boil and place a baking stone and a steam pan in your oven and heat it to 500 degrees F. 

I shaped these bagels by forming the dough into balls and pushing a hole through the center with my thumb, and then stretching them to enlarge the hole. You could also shape them the traditional way by creating ropes and wrapping them around your hand to join the ends. 

Boil the bagels about one minute per side and place them on a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush them with an egg wash and sprinkle with your favorite topping. I topped half with a few black sesame seeds, and left the other half plain. 

Finally, bake at 450 degrees F for about 25 minutes. You will need to bake them in two batches. 

Bagel sandwich on a plate.

Because you can make the dough up to two days in advance, having fresher than fresh bagels for breakfast is really possible by making one batch of five one day, and the other batch of five the next day. Just divide the dough in half before chilling. 

If you have leftovers, you can individually wrap each bagel and freeze them. Just defrost the frozen bagels, still wrapped, the night before. 

Adding black pepper to this dough is optional, and a matter of taste. The flavor of pepper is not distinct, but adds a nice dimension to the flavor of the dough. 

What to do with leftover bagels?

You can make bagel chips by slicing them into thin slices, buttering and salting them, and baking them for about 15 minutes in a 375 degree oven until crisp. You can also stir fry them with cabbage and bacon for a delicious dish. 

This is an updated post from October, 2012. I've remade the bagels, added new photos, and included a printable recipe card. The first time I made these, I topped them with poppyseeds and rehydrated dried onions. 

Bagels with poppy seeds and onions.

Welcome to From Our Dinner Table, where we get together and share recipes with a similar theme. This week's theme is bagels. 


Get More Bagel Recipes:

Overnight Bagels with Black Pepper in a basket.

Overnight Bagels with Black Pepper

Overnight Bagels with Black Pepper
Yield: 10 bagels
Author: Karen's Kitchen Stories
Prep time: 1 HourCook time: 30 MinInactive time: 24 HourTotal time: 25 H & 30 M
Bagels. Dough boiled in sweetened water and then baked. Yes, you can make them yourself at home!


Bagel Dough
  • 510 grams (2 1/4 cups) tepid water (80 to 90 degrees F)
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable shortening 
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper(optional)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 700 grams (6 cups minus 2 tablespoons) bread flour, or 720 grams flour and skip the vital wheat gluten
  • 18 grams (2 tablespoons) vital wheat gluten (optional)
Water Bath
  • 4 quarts water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • Seeds or other topping of your choice


  1. Mix the water, yeast, sugar, and shortening in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. 
  2. Add the flour (mixed with the vital wheat gluten if using), 1/2 cup at a time, stirring between each addition or mixing on low with the dough hook in the stand mixer between each addition of flour, until you have a soft, slightly sticky dough. Mix until everything is combined. Raise the speed to medium and knead for 6 minutes, or knead by hand for 6 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. 
  3. Place the dough into an oiled bowl or container, turning the dough to coat all sides, Cover the container and let rise until doubled, about an hour. Deflate the dough, recover the container, and refrigerate overnight and up to 2 days. 
  4. On baking day, place a baking stone (if you have one) on a rack set in the lower middle of your oven. Place a steam pan (I use the broiler pan that came with my oven) on the lowest rack. 
  5. Heat the oven to 500 degrees F. Also fill a large sauce pan with 4 quarts of water and stir in the sugar and baking soda. Heat the water bath enough so that you can quickly bring it to a boil when you are ready to boil the bagels. Line the back of a sheet pan with parchment paper. If you aren't using a baking stone, then line the inside of the baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  6. While the oven is heating, divide the dough in half. Wrap and chill one half while you work with the other half of the dough. 
  7. Divide the dough half into 5 equal pieces. Cover the pieces you are not working with with cling wrap. Form each piece into a ball with a taut surface, and then with your thumb or index finger, poke a hold in the top of the ball, and then hook two fingers in the hole and rotate the dough to stretch out the hole. Place on the parchment on the sheet pan and cover lightly with cling wrap. Repeat with the rest of the dough balls. 
  8. Bring the water bath to a boil, and boil the bagels in batches one to two minutes a side, using a skimmer to flip them. Place them, top side up, onto the parchment. 
  9. When all of the bagels are boiled, brush them with the egg white glaze and sprinkle with the seeds of your choice. 
  10. Prepare a small long handled pan with a cup of ice and a 1/4 cup of water. 
  11. Slide the bagels, parchment and all, onto the baking stone and immediately add the ice cubes and water to the steam pan on the lowest rack. Quickly close the oven door. Reduce the oven heat to 450 degrees F. Bake the bagels for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the bagels from the oven and cool on a rack. 
  12. Repeat with the other half of the dough. You can shape the second batch while the first half is baking. Be sure to return the oven to 500 degrees F. 

Nutrition Facts



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This recipe was adapted, with slight adjustments, from the book Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan, published in 1996. The book is based on the PBS series hosted by Julia Child. Her guest for this episode was Lauren Groveman. 

Would you like to comment?

  1. Great looking bagels. Love your photography.

    1. Thank you! This was my first time trying to take pictures at night.

  2. Your bagels are absolutely beautiful! Thank you for baking along! :)

  3. Beautifully done!
    You are correct - the steps seem daunting, but its not so bad once you get into the middle of it.

    1. Thanks, Cher. Every time I try a new recipe, I make a big mess. Second and third time around, not so much.

  4. Replies
    1. Thanks! I want to try your jalapeno cheese ones!

  5. Karen, you made wonderful bagels and your pictures are fantastic.
    I never made or ate bagels before. So, do you reckon, this is the best recipe? Shall I stick to this one or try others?
    I loved them... ohhh yes!

  6. These are amazing bagels this recipe is interesting. The dough can be refrigerated and this idea is cool to make fresh bagels often. We love chewy bagels and would love to try this.

  7. My husband puts pepper on EVERYTHING so I know he would adore these bagels.

  8. I have always wanted to make my own bagels. These look amazing! I LOVE the pepper.

  9. These bagels look yummy and I love the pepper!!

  10. You totally make me think I can tackle homemade bagels!

  11. These bagels look delicious, Karen and I really love the idea of adding black pepper!

  12. These look like a little piece of carb heaven! The perfect texture...and I can never resist a bagel!!!

  13. I am totally enamored of your bread skills. These bagels looks awesome. And I love the black pepper in there. I'm a total black pepper fan.


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