Moving from Japan to Kuwait was a hard move for my family. Even though we felt ready to move on to a new duty station I think we weren't mentally prepared for the new round of culture shock that hits you when you move to somewhere new. I could easily go on for days about the things that I find strange or different here. Long story short though, life is very different in the middle east.

One of the hardest adjustment has been the food. I'm a Japanese food eating machine and so are my children; My oldest, Emma, especially loves Japanese food. I think she asks almost weekly for Japanese noodles and curry rice. I try to do my best to make her favorites at home, but nothing compares to the food we used to eat in Japan. One of the more random things my daughter misses is store bought bagels. She's an extremely picky eater (Japanese food being the only exception to the picky eater rule). and most nights I spend a great deal of effort just begging her to eat a couple bites of her meal.  So when my picky eater asked for bagels one morning, I decided to go on a mission to find some. I quickly found out that most stores here don't have any in stock and the few stores that do have any available only carry ones that have been flash frozen and they usually cost around $8 for 5 bagels. 

Of course the 'coupon loving and deal searcher me' decided that it was much more affordable to make my own bagels. The original recipe I used comes from The Sophisticated Gourmet. The only thing I did differently was I decided to double the batch size because this recipe does take time and I wanted to have plenty of extras to freeze for later. 

This recipe is for plain bagels, but you could easily modify it to make sesame, poppy seed, or even blueberry bagels. Every single time I make these bagels, they come out fluffy and buttery tasting. No joke, I usually don't even wait until they're cooled to eat one right away. You won't be disappointed if you make these bagels! I promise. 

Homemade Plain Bagels


2 teaspoons of active dry yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
1/2 cup warm water for yeast
3/4 additional cups of warm water for dough
3 1/2 cups of bread flour or high gluten flour (I've also used all-purpose flour before and they still come out great)
1 1/2 teaspoons of salt

1. Pour sugar and yeast into 1/2 cup of warm water. Make sure the water isn't too hot, otherwise your yeast won't activate. Do not stir this mixture. Let it sit for approximately 5 minutes. Once the mixture has sat for a while, you can stir it until most of the sugar and yeast mixes into the water. 
2. In a large bowl mix together flour and salt. In the middle of the flour mixture make a well to pour in the yeast/ sugar mixture. (I put my mixture into my kitchen aid mixer and used the paddle attachment to mix everything together)
3. Pour in the remaining water a little bit at a time. Mix it all up. Add additional warm water until you have a firm and moist dough. 
4. On a floured surface, knead the dough for about 10 minutes. (I cheated a little and used my Kitchen Aid's dough hook and left it to knead for about 8 minutes on low. )
5. Oil a large bowl and place the dough in the bowl. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and leave it to rise in a warm place for at least an hour or until the dough has doubled in side. 
6. Punch down the dough once and then let it rise for another 10 minutes. 
7. Divide the dough into 8 pieces. I like to roll the whole thing out on a floured board first, then score it with a knife to break it up into 8 pieces. Take each piece (it should be more or less a hand full of dough) and roll it into a ball. Then take your thumb and press a hole directly into the center of the ball. Repeat with other remaining 7 pieces of dough. 
8. After forming each bagel let them rest for 10 minutes. Also, start preheating your oven now to 425 degrees. 
9. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Reduce the heat so that the water is now at a low simmer. Using a slotted spoon place one bagel at a time into the hot water. Boil each bagel for 1-2 minutes on each side.
10. This is the point where you can top your plain bagels with something special like poppy seeds or sesame seeds.  Just make a quick egg wash (one egg with a splash of water mixed together), brush the egg wash onto the bagels, and then top each bagel with your favorite topping. If you're leaving the bagels plain, there's no need for an egg wash. 
11. Place all the bagels onto a lined baking sheet. 
12. Bake the bagels for 20 minutes. I like to broil them for a quick 2 minutes at the end so that they have a nice toasty brown color to them. 
13. Cool the bagels on a wire rack. 

These bagels are going to come out so buttery and delicious tasting. I dare you to try and wait until they cool to bite down into one of these oh-so-yummy bagels. 

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