Softening Hard Bagels

These boiled and baked breads can sometimes become hard on the outside. This guide is about softening hard bagels.


November 15, 2009 Flag
0 found this helpful

I made my first batch of bagels. They came out great on the inside (soft and chewy), but a little hard on the outside. From the recipe below, how can I modify it to make the outside softer? Thanks.

Recipe (makes 8 bagels)

Mix all in a bowl, knead for 10 minutes, cut into 8 balls. Let rest for 10 - 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 425. Roll balls into bagel shape. Rest bagels for 20 minutes. Boil bagels for one minute on each side. Dry for one minute. Bake 10 minutes each side. Cool at least 20 minutes.

Thank you.

By John from Saint Augustine, FL

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November 16, 20090 found this helpful

I suggest to steam them just before you serve them. Heat some water in a pan,put a rack over it. Place bagels on rack covered with a clean cloth. Let steam a few minutes, until soft. Good luck.

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November 16, 20090 found this helpful

A good authentic bagel is supposed to be a bit hard or chewy. If you insist on a softer bagel, try baking at a lower temperature like 375.

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November 17, 20090 found this helpful

The reason that you boil them is to make the outside harder and the inside chewy. If you don't want then hard on the outside then don't boil them but then they will be more like a roll. You could try to boil for a smaller amount of time but like OliveOyl said authentic bagels are supposed to be hard on the outside and soft on the inside.

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Anonymous Flag
November 17, 20090 found this helpful

Placing them in the microwave for 10 seconds before serving moistens the crust which makes it softer ;-) I do this one at a time (because I live alone) so you'll have to experiment with the length of time for more.

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September 15, 2004 Flag
0 found this helpful

Every once in a while, I forget about the last bagel in the bag and it ends up as hard as a rock. I am tired of dipping them in soup; does anyone have an idea to make them soft?

Thank you!


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September 16, 20040 found this helpful

Dampen with water and place in microwave or oven toaster or regular for a few minutes. This works well for biscuits or cornbread - bjm

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September 16, 20040 found this helpful

To rejuvenate a "middle aged" ; ) bagel, I slice it in half and put it, cut side up in the steamer. Steam gently, just till warm/softened. If it feels a little wet for your taste, you can pop it in the broiler for a moment to crisp the toastable surfaces. I hope this helps : )

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September 19, 20040 found this helpful

Thanks for the ideas! I appreciate your help.

My mother-in-law was visiting this weekend, and she told me to wrap the bagel in a paper towel, and microwave for 30 seconds at half power, check to see if it is soft, and repeat as many times as it takes to get soft. This works with frozen bagels too, since I tried it this morning!

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