Everyone Is Making These 5-Ingredient Bagels (No Yeast Required!) — and We Tried Them
One PEOPLE staffer — who is by no means a baker — shares her path to bagel glory
Sure, I miss my family and friends. But when social distancing is over, the first people I’m visiting are the employees at my local New York City bagel shop, whom I’ve been missing oh so dearly since the coronavirus crisis began. (But seriously — I haven’t had a proper bacon, egg and cheese in over a month.)
Yes, I know I could order a pre-packed bag and have them delivered from the grocery store, but there’s something about a hot and fluffy bagel straight out of the oven that you just can’t compete with.
That’s why I jumped at the chance to make my own when I heard my boyfriend’s mom raving about the soft-on-the-inside, crispy-on-the-outside bagels she made in 30 minutes using only five ingredients — one of which, surprisingly, was Greek yogurt. I was even more excited when I realized I already had the other ingredients in my kitchen (there’s no yeast required, so there’s a good chance you might too).
While there are a variety of different recipes online for five-ingredient, Greek yogurt bagels, I used this one from SkinnyTaste.com. I’m going to be honest: I’m not a baker, so I chose this particular recipe purely because it was the first one that popped up in my Google search. The photos on the site looked way tastier than what I expected for bagels made out of literal yogurt, so I went for it.
The yogurt, by the way, makes it so these bagels are lower in sugar, and higher in protein than your typical bagel. They’re big in the Weight Watchers community because they carry only 3 points each.
After setting the oven to 375°, I started by mixing a cup of flour with two teaspoons of baking powder and 3/4 teaspoon of salt in a medium-sized mixing bowl. I used a fork to stir, because I am lazy and didn’t want to wash a whisk, and, again, I am not a baker and have nothing to prove. (Note: I used regular, all-purpose flour, but other recipes say you can use gluten-free flour and get the same results.)
Next, I mixed in a cup of plain, Greek yogurt, making sure to pour out the excess liquid before dumping it in the mixing bowl. After a while, it became difficult to stir with the fork, so I washed my hands (for over 20 seconds, thank you very much), and went to town, smooshing the ingredients together with my fingertips. When it was all mixed together, it felt like your average cookie dough, but a little more crumbly.
I then took the dough to a floured surface and began to knead it, giving myself the only arm workout of this social distancing period to date. (In all honesty, I’m exaggerating — it was quite easy to do.) The recipe suggests about 15 turns, and to use enough flour to make sure your hands don’t have any dough stuck to them by the end.
After that, I separated the chunk of dough into four equal balls, and rolled each into little snakes using my palms. The recipe suggests rolling them into “3/4-inch thick ropes” but I just eyeballed it and it worked out. I then created bagel shapes by looping the ropes and pinching the ends together. You really do have to squeeze and squish the ends, since the dough is no longer sticky. But if they look like bagels, you probably did it right! This particular recipe yielded four small bagels in total.
Off they went onto a baking sheet lined with greased parchment paper. Then I brushed each bagel with an egg white wash — I used a barbecue brush, but I’m sure a spoon or paper towel might work too.
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I really, really wish I had had everything bagel seasoning to then sprinkle on top, but alas I settled for the next best thing in my quarantine pantry: garlic powder and pink Himalayan salt. That said, you can add whatever topping you want to your bagels, whether it be poppy seeds, sesame seeds, dried onion or garlic, pepper, cinnamon or anything else you can think of. Some recipes also suggest mixing ingredients like raisins or chocolate chips in the bagel dough to add even more oomf.
After 25 minutes in the oven, on the top rack, my four bagels came out looking golden brown and delicious. I will say, while they were baking, the kitchen smelled a tad bit sour — I think because of the Greek yogurt. Not a bad smell, but I also wouldn’t make a candle out of it. But when the baking was done, it smelled heavenly.
The recipe recommends letting the bagels sit for 15 minutes before consuming, and it was worth the wait. Finally, it was time for tasting.
I will precede this by saying, as someone who lives in New York and often visits New Jersey, I have high bagel standards. It is a point of pride. I can’t even eat bagels at home in Canada anymore because I have been spoiled by the tri-state experts. But these bagels, that I made in my own oven, were pretty. darn. good.
I tried them two ways: spread with whipped cream cheese and a little bit of butter, and smothered in bacon, egg and cheese (What quarantine 15?). Both ways, the bagels were chewy and tender on the inside, with a crisp, warm shell. The crust even had a bit of a shine, from the egg white glaze. The salt and garlic powder were a nice touch also, not overpowering like I was worried about, and I think even more seasonings would have been even tastier.
In general, it tasted like a bagel. A normal, solid bagel. And, praise be, it looked like one too! There was maybe a slight taste of sourness from the yogurt, but I don’t think I would have noticed it if I didn’t know it was there.
All in all, I am incredibly impressed, and will certainly be making these again. If I can do it, anyone can do it, and I have been recommending it to everyone I know. Not only is it a great way to get your fresh bagel fix while social distancing, but it’s also a fun skill to learn while safe inside.
I am living, breathing proof that these bagels are easy to make, and you shouldn’t be afraid to try them out for yourself. Go forth and bake — fingers crossed you can find some flour!
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