Part bagel, part pretzel. A Pretzel Bagel delivers the best of both types of bread because you can enjoy it as-is (or topped with mustard), like a soft pretzel, or you can split it open and make it into a great sandwich for breakfast or lunch. This homemade recipe is easy to make and should be a big hit with anyone who likes bagels or pretzels!
The recipe is for an egg bagel, and includes a few egg yolks that you wouldn’t find in most pretzel recipes to give the bagel some color. The dough is mixed up and shaped into bagel-like rounds, but it is dipped in a baking soda solution before baking. Most bagel recipes call for boiling the bagels before baking to give them a chewy skin. The baking soda solution is used for most pretzel recipes to give soft pretzels a deep brown color and toughen up their “skin” to give them their distinctive chewiness. The flavor of the baking soda itself is lost during baking. The finished bagels are a bit lighter than your average bagel and a little bit more tender on the inside than your average soft pretzel, though they do have a nicely chewy, golden exterior.
The best part of a pretzel bagel, for me, is the salt on top that really enhances its pretzel-ness. You can buy pretzel salt at most grocery stores. It’s a very coarse, white salt that won’t melt into the pretzel while baking. If you don’t have any on hand (and I often don’t), use any kind of coarse sea salt or kosher salt – anything bigger than regular table salt – to finish them. Be sure to sprinkle the salt on before baking so that the salt will stick to the bread. If you happen to forget to apply the salt before baking, you can brush the bagels with melted butter immediately after they come out of the oven and apply the salt then. This is a trick that quite a few pretzel places use to give their pretzels a richness before serving, as the butter will almost soak into the bread after a minute.
The bagels keep well in an airtight container for a day or two, but they are at their very best the day they are made. If you need to store them longer, allow them to cool completely and freeze them in a freezer-safe bag.
3/4 cup water, warm (100-110F)
2 1/4 tsp (1/4 oz) active dry yeast
2 tsp sugar
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 large egg yolks
1 1/2 cup hot water
1 tbsp baking soda
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or a large bowl (if mixing by hand) combine 1/4 cup warm water with yeast and sugar. Allow to stand for 5 minutes, until mixture is foamy. Add in flour, salt, vegetable oil and egg yolks and mix until ingredients are thoroughly mixed.
Switch to the dough hook and add in an additional 1/4 cup of water. Mix at medium-low speed, gradually adding in the remaining water, until the dough comes together into a smooth ball and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. If dough seems dry, add in an additional tablespoon or two of water. Dough should be smooth and only slightly sticky. Turn the mixer up to high speed and beat dough vigorously for 1-2 minutes, or turn out onto a lightly floured surface (try not to mix in much additional flour) and knead for 2-3 minutes.
Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow it to rise until doubled in size, about 45-60 minutes.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper (or one large baking sheet). Combine 1 1/2 cups hot water and baking soda in a small bowl and stir to dissolve.
Turn the risen dough out onto a smooth surface (lightly flour the surface if necessary) and deflate it down until it forms a rough rectangle about 1-inch thick. Divide dough into 8 equal pieces using a bench scraper or a chefs knife. Working with one piece at a time, roll out the dough into a snake/rope that is 14-16 inches long. Fold the rope in half, twisting the strands together. Bring the ends of the thicker rope together and overlap them slightly, then roll the overlapping portion between your fingers to seal the bagel.
Repeat for each bagel. Dip each bagel into the baking soda water and place on the prepared baking sheets. Cover with a dish towel and allow bagels to rise for 25-30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 425F.
Sprinkle bagels with coarse salt and bake for about 20 minutes, until dark golden.
Allow to cool before serving.