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Secrets From a Pastry Chef – The Best Bagels

Secrets From a Pastry Chef – The Best Bagels

TIQA in Maine makes some awesome bagels. Learn how to bake great bagels right in your own kitchen from their pastry chef.

Secrets From a Pastry Chef - The Best BagelsShutterstock: SlopeEast

So Maine might not be known for bagels, right?

When it comes to bread, there are a few rules every novice baker should know.

Whether you’re trying to create a traditional New York Bagel, or simply looking to reinvent the Montreal-style bagel in your own kitchen, get some expert tips from an expert baker, Executive Pastry Chef Robyn Ray from TIQA Bagels in Maine.

For more expert tips from Chef Robyn Ray, head straight to Michelle’s blog for a one-day bagel recipe without all the fuss and other great tips from the star baker

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Ready, Set… Bake!

If you want to make these in a single day, you can make your bagel sponge, cover it lightly, and leave it in a warm place for 1 to 2 hours. (I suggest leaving it in the makeshift proofer I outline below). It is ready when it has grown in size and has visible bubbles on the surface. Mix your dough as directed. Once dough is mixed, let the dough ball rest, covered, in a warm place for another hour (again, create a proofer in your oven). It is ready when it doubles in size. Shape as instructed. This method is perfectly acceptable, but you will not get the depth of flavor that you normally would with the overnight rests.


  • Author: Chef Robyn Ray
  • Category: Baking, Bread




  • 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 265 g a little more than 1 ½ cups room temperature water (it should never be hotter than body temperature!)
  • 234 g about 1 ¾ cup bread flour
  • 15 g about 1/2Tbs molasses


  • 182 g about 1 ½ cups bread flour
  • 1/2 tsp yeast
  • 10 g about 1/2Tbs granulated sugar
  • 9 g about 1/2Tbs kosher salt


  • 2 Tbs granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbs kosher salt
  • 1 Tbs baking soda


  1. We start our bagels with a pre ferment known as a sponge. Mix all sponge ingredients together, loosely cover with plastic wrap or a lid and refrigerate overnight.
  2. The next day remove your sponge from the fridge and let sit at room temperature for about ½ an hour. While your sponge is warming up, combine the dough ingredeints in the bowl of a stand mixer.
  3. Stir them ingredients to combine. Add your sponge and, using your dough hook, knead your dough until it has developed a strong gluten structure. This will take about 5 to 6 minutes.
  4. (are the bagels ready yet? Nope….) Place dough into a lightly-oiled container, cover, and refrigerate overnight.
  5. In the morning remove your dough from the fridge and let rest for 20 to 30 minutes (just enough time to take the morning chill off your dough. Do NOT let it sit for too long, though, because your dough will get too soft and will not hold a proper bagel shape. They will be flat). While your dough is warming up, fill a large, wide mouth pot with about 6qts of water. To this water add the water ingredients above.
  6. Bring your water to a boil. Grab a sheet pan and line with a piece of parchment paper. Spray with pan spray. Set your oven to 375 degrees.
  7. Divide your dough into 6 equal portions and shape into a tight ball. Create a hole in the center of the ball by placing it between your thumb and your forefinger and pinch through the dough until you have pierced through. Stretch the hole with your fingers (gripping it kinda like you would a car steering wheel) until you have a substantial hole in the middle. I like to slide the bagel up my arm and wear it like a bracelette for a hot second. That’s how I know my bagel hole is big enough. Let your bagels rest on a floured countertop for 15 minutes, covered with a tea towel.
  8. Once your 15 minutes is up and your water is boiling, turn your water down to a light boil/high simmer. (You want some movement in the water, but you don’t want a full rolling boil. That’s too much stress on your fragile bagels!)
  9. Drop your bagels into the hot water and boil for 2 minutes*. Flip them and boil another 2 minutes. Remove each bagel with a slotted spoon and brush with your favorite egg wash and top with your favorite spices. (Here at Tiqa we enjoy a nice za’ater spice mixed with a little sea salt.)
  10. *Do not crowd your bagels in the pot. They should have room to swim around. During this boiling process they will expand! If you can only comfortably boil 2 or 3 bagels at a time, it is okay to boil them in shifts OR, do what we have done here in the past and set up multiple pots on your stove.
  11. Pop your bagels in the oven and bake until they are a nice golden brown and the centers of your bagels are no longer “doughy”. This will take about 14 to 18 minutes, depending on your oven. If your oven has a tendency to bake unevenly, I suggest rotating your sheet tray half way through baking.

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View Comments (2)
  • Thanks. This bagel is a lot better than the standard 1 day bagel recipe. Some notes: I reduced the Malt syrup/molasses back to 1 tsp – to avoid the coloring and because the syrup made bagels taste too much like rye bread. Also, I had to add a good deal of flour before the dough stopped being tacky (maybe because I have very soft water?).

    I still don’t understand why sometimes the crump is fine, sometime less so – with what seems like the same recipe.

    • Yes! The recipe works well, but the flour amount for the dough should be around 250g or more, feel it out, the dough should feel quite tough, best to knead with your hands to feel how much it needs. For bagels, it’s usually between 55% – 58% water on 100% flour.

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