Jennifer Garner's Homemade Bagel Recipe Combines Tips From 2 Different Bakers

Jennifer Garner doesn’t just make Ina Garten’s favorite dinners on “Pretend Cooking Show.” She also bakes! The Alias alum loves to pull from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Bread Bible, in which she found her favorite chocolate bread recipe. And it’s Beranbaum’s writing she turned to for advice when trying to make a homemade bagel recipe from the Mel’s Kitchen Cafe blog.

Jennifer Garner likes to prep her ingredients the night before

If the mother of three knows she’s going to be making Beranbaum’s chocolate bread or the homemade bagels for her kids the next morning, she’ll prep all of her ingredients the night before. That way, when she wakes up at 5 a.m. to bake before sending the kids off to school, she already has some steps done.

That’s what she did for the Mel’s Kitchen Cafe bagel dough. For the water bath (the step before the bagels go in the oven), Garner turned to Beranbaum.

“I love Mel’s Kitchen Cafe, I’m using her recipe,” she said in the Instagram video. “But for the water bath, I’m going to cheat and use Rose Levy Beranbaum’s, ’cause it just has a little more oomph to it.”

Here’s everything you’ll need to whip up these homemade bagels.


  • 1/2 cup unbleached bread flour
  • 1/4 cup cool water
  • Pinch of instant yeast
  • 4 cups unbleached bread flour
  • 1 1/4 cups cool water
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • Water to fill a 10” diameter pan about 1” deep
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

How to make Jennifer Garner’s favorite homemade bagels

Making this dough actually requires prep the night before, so prepare yourself for that. To start, combine the 1/2 cup of unbleached bread flour, 1/4 cup of cool water, and the pinch of instant yeast into a medium bowl. Cover, and let rest overnight at room temperature.

The next day, combine your puffy starter with the dough ingredients—the 4 cups of unbleached bread flour, 1 1/4 cups of cool water, 1 3/4 teaspoons of salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of instant yeast. Either by hand, electric mixer, or bread machine, knead the dough until it’s stiff, but not dry. Garner’s instructions note that the high-protein flour will require more effort and time to develop the gluten.

Once kneaded, place your dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let it rest for an hour to rise. Deflate the dough gently, and then let it rise for another half hour.

When that step’s done, transfer the dough to a clean work surface and divide it into 12 separate pieces. Roll the pieces into smooth balls, and then cover with plastic wrap to let rise for another 30 minutes. They’ll only slightly puff during this step, but it’s necessary.

While the dough is rising again, get your water bath ready. Heat the water to a gentle boil in a wide-diameter pan, add the molasses and baking soda, and stir. The molasses will change the color of the dough.

When the dough’s ready, use your index finger to create the bagel’s hole, which should be about 2 inches in diameter. Place the bagels on lightly greased or parchment-lined baking tray. When your water bath is simmering, add the bagels in four at a time. Turn up the heat to bring the water back to a gentle simmering boil, and cook the bagels for 2 minutes on one side, 1 minute on the other.

Use a skimmer or strainer to get the bagels out of the water bath and place on the baking sheet. Once all the bagels are out, bake them for about 25 minutes at 425 degrees until they’re golden brown, or as deep in color as you prefer. Allow them to cool completely before eating. And bon appétit!

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