In this episode of “Weird Qualities That Jessica Possesses” we learn that she doesn’t really like bread.

Homemade Asiago Cheese Bagels I

And we learn that possesses has a heck of a lot of s’s.

It’s not that I don’t LIKE it. I do. It’s just not the first thing I think of when I’m all OMGIneedfoodnow. I’m simply not a bread person and can easily pass up the dinner basket unless I’m starvvvving. Which yeah… feels like all the time.

But still, I prefer to think of bread as a vehicle for something much more delicious. Like smashed avocado with sea salt and lime. Or a plate full of olive oil sprinkled with parmesan cheese and minced garlic. Or really creamy peanut butter with a layer of melted chocolate chips. Or melty brie topped with macerated strawberries. Or even… cut into little cubes and mixed with bacon and other delicious bites then doused with gravy on that thing we call Thanksgiving.

That’s what I think of bready stuff. And believe me, I thank my lucky stars that I don’t have the bread addiction like so many others, but I MORE than make up for it with a cheesecake, cookie, pizza and mac and cheese addiction. Pick your poison.

Homemade Asiago Cheese Bagels I

Now the kicker: things like buttermilk biscuits, cornbread and banana bread don’t really fall under those specifications because, well… they are buttermilk biscuits, cornbread and banana bread.

And bagels too. I love bagels as much as the next guy (but really, who IS that even?), however they gotta meet these three conditions:

They must be fresh.

They must be PERFECTLY toasted. Like, perfectly.

They must be blanketed by a spread or sandwich-like things.

Homemade Asiago Cheese Bagels I

If right about now you are thinking “wow, this chick is seriously high maintenance and I feel bad for those within a 16 mile radius of her”… then you are certainly right.

I am.

Homemade Asiago Cheese Bagels I

[And if you know anyone else that posts pictures of their very dirty home appliances on the internet, you should probably send them my way. I clearly need friends.]

Homemade Asiago Cheese Bagels I

Last week I stopped by my parents’ house and on the counter I spied a BAG full of asiago bagels. After I checked the fridge… of course. That’s always the very first thing I do. Obviously.

But wait… why do parents always have the best food? Why do things taste like five kajillion times better at their house?

Why do I want to consume food that I normally don’t even care about when I visit, like gumdrops and buttered rum muffins and two-week old cold pizza and stale-but-buttery Ritz crackers?



If I love bagels, I love asiago cheese bagels like sixty times more. If I found it feasible to waste a day’s worth of calories on bread alone, I would trek to Panera every single freaking day.

Oh but wait. I don’t have to. Because I MADE MY OWN. And they are easy. Promise. Super promise. It only took me four or five tries, which yeah, was a massive pain, but now? I have asiago cheese bagels for life.

Homemade Asiago Cheese Bagels I

Homemade Asiago Cheese Bagels

[adapted from both foodnetwork and king arthur flour]

makes 12-15 bagels

10-12 ounces freshly grated asiago cheese

2 cups warm water

2 packets active dry yeast

2 tablespoons honey

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 1/2 cups bread flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon brown sugar (for the water bath)

vegetable oil for brushing

In the bowl of your electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine water, yeast and honey, stir to combine, then let sit until foamy, about 10-15 minutes. Once foamy, gradually add in salt, 2 cups of all-purpose flour and 2 cups of bread flour with the mixer on low speed. After 5 minutes or so, if the dough is still sticky, add the remaining bread flour and 1/2 cup all-purpose flour and mix until combined. Remove the dough from the bowl (it should be thick and stiffer than most yeast breads) and knead a few times with your hands, forming it into a ball. Add the remaining all purpose flour if the dough is still sticky.

Brush a large bowl with oil and place the dough inside, turning to coat. Cover and let rise in a warm place (I turn on my oven and set it on top) until it’s double in size – about 1 hour.

Once doubled, punch down the dough and place it on your counter, using a little more flour if needed to prevent it from sticking. Divide the dough into 12 pieces (I actually got 15) that are 2.5-3 ounces each. Using your kitchen scale here is priceless! Rolls the dough into balls, then places on an oiled baking sheet, cover and let rise for 30 minutes. At this time, grate your cheese and place it in a large bowl.

After 30 minutes, fill a large pot with water and add brown sugar, letting it come to a boil. While the water is heating up, take each round of dough and poke a hole straight through the middle, twirling it gently on your finger to create the bagel “look.” Place back down on the baking sheet and let rest for 10-15 minutes, while the water comes to a rolling boil.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. If needed/desired, grease another baking sheet. I did this as I found it was easier to place the bagels on.

Once boiling, add 3-4 bagels at a time. Let cook for 2 minutes on one side, then using the end of a wooden spoon, flip the bagel and cook for another 30 seconds. Remove bagels one at a time and place in the bowl of asiago cheese, turning to coat and lightly pressing to adhere. Transfer to the greased baking sheet for final baking and repeat. Once all the bagels (or as many that can fit on your sheet) are finished, place in the oven and bake for 28-35 minutes. I began checking mine after 20 minutes just to ensure that they cheese wasn’t burning. It never burnt, but it did get golden and delicious!

Let bagels cool completely before serving, then toast or eat as desired.

[Note: I did try making the “starter” as noted in the king arthur recipe three times, and all three times I did not like the result of my bagels. This basic recipe without a starter or sponge is what worked best for me.]

Homemade Asiago Cheese Bagels I

Still trying to figure out if this is a wonderful or terrifying thing. Halllllp me.

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198 Responses to “Homemade Asiago Cheese Bagels.”

  1. #
    Chelsy — February 1, 2012 @ 10:55 am

    Seriously…I can’t stand bread either, except for you know? when it comes in a thin, crispy, pizza crust form topped with thinly sliced prosciutto and chunks of pineapple. Well, then I am obviously all about it. BTW, I am also a huge bagel snob. If my bagel isn’t slightly charred to a crisp, I will send it back. I love EVERYTHING bagels so I am sure I would love me some of this asiago cheese yumminess. Who wouldn’t. Bagels aren’t bread. Haha!


    • Jessica — February 1st, 2012 @ 10:58 am

      Oh girl… you must be my soul mate. Everything bagels give asiago a run for their money with me. A few weeks ago I have an everything bagel that also had SALT on it. In all my years of bagel consumption I had never come across one with salt. It was the best thing ever.


      • Chelsy — February 1st, 2012 @ 11:02 am

        You are definitely speaking my kind of language.

        • tina @ mylifeasamrs — February 1st, 2012 @ 11:35 am

          EVERYTHING bagels are THE BEST!!!!!

          • Chelsy — February 1st, 2012 @ 11:55 am

            O you know it. I may just have to take a trip to Einstein’s to get one…like, NOW!

  2. #
    Tamara @jemofthesouth — February 1, 2012 @ 10:56 am

    I may fight my fear of baking with yeast and try these. I love the asiago bagels from Panera and the thought of making homemade bagels has me intrigued!


  3. #
    Whitney — February 1, 2012 @ 11:02 am

    WOw. I had a brick of Asiago that I haven’t used and I was up last night thinking…I need to learn how to make Asiago Cheese Bagels! Mindreader!!!


  4. #
    Meagan Wied — February 1, 2012 @ 11:09 am

    Whoa Jessica! I think you out did yourself with this recipe. I went to Panera bread yesterday and looked over the bagels and now seeing yours — I WANT!!


  5. #
    Erin — February 1, 2012 @ 11:10 am

    I didn’t use a starter either when I made asiago bagels. Good thing too because I don’t know if I’d have the patience!


  6. #
    SABRINA — February 1, 2012 @ 11:15 am

    My english muffins and bagels both have to be toasted perfectly or I won’t eat them. They also must be eaten straight out of the toaster. Sometimes my husband is being nice and will make breakfast for me – but then he forgets to tell me and it gets cold. YUCK!


  7. #
    beth@kitchenminions — February 1, 2012 @ 11:20 am

    Oh I miss Panera and their delicious asiago cheese bagels. I’ll have to make these at home!


  8. #
    Rachel — February 1, 2012 @ 11:23 am

    Oh thank goodness for this recipe! I, too, have HIGH bagel standards (spending every weekend for 8 years at bar mitzvah brunches will do that). I will definitely be making these soon!


  9. #
    Cait's Plate — February 1, 2012 @ 11:25 am

    I LOVE homemade bagels. This post reminds me that I absolutely need to make another batch SOON!


  10. #
    tina @ mylifeasamrs — February 1, 2012 @ 11:31 am

    you can pass up the bread basket at dinner?!!!!!!!?! i wish i had the will power… I’m a bread & cheese girl all the way… healthy, i know ;) PS- these look AMAZING (I mean hello- bread AND cheese in one- sold!).


  11. #
    Karma7 — February 1, 2012 @ 11:32 am

    Hi Jessica, just wanted to tell you I love, love, love your blog! Thanks for the wornderful recipes, and you’re so friggin’ funny too!

    I’ve never made bagels, but this looks like a recipe I can handle. Just wondering why you didn’t try putting cheese into the dough itself. Do you think this would mess up with the results? I just looooove cheese, not to mention anything bread! Just wondering if I should try to add some into the dough.

    Thanks for the rocking recipes! :)


    • Jessica — February 1st, 2012 @ 11:35 am

      Oh oh oh! I meant to add that into the recipe. I actually did try to do that with two batches. First off, my dough didn’t come out quite as fluffy as my favorite batch. Second, I did bake those bagels but didn’t find them to be any more cheesy than the ones that just had cheese smothered on top. I know… sounds crazy, but true. I think in order for them to be really cheesy inside, you have to add a LOT of cheese, and the dough is already really stiff to begin with. Perhaps if I get more familiar with the whole bagel making process I can make it work??

      Thanks for reading!


  12. #
    Carre at Kiss My Whisk — February 1, 2012 @ 11:32 am

    You never seize to amaze me!


  13. #
    Elizabeth @ Chronic Venture — February 1, 2012 @ 11:35 am

    need a bagel nowwwww!


  14. #
    DK — February 1, 2012 @ 11:36 am

    Every picture I ever take for my blog requires fancy cropping to limit the amount of messy that shows up. Most recently my blog photos feature my cookie sheets that look similar to your toaster.


    • Jessica — February 1st, 2012 @ 11:37 am

      Oh… my cookie sheets? Let’s not even go there. GAH-ROSS!


  15. #
    Hilliary @Happily Ever Healthy — February 1, 2012 @ 11:39 am

    I have always wanted to make my own bagels! These look oh so good!


  16. #
    Mansee — February 1, 2012 @ 11:41 am

    Am I dead? Is this heaven? I was going to tackle making homemade soft pretzels this weekend – buuuuuuut you may have just changed my mind.


  17. #
    Lucie (Thursday Night Dinner) — February 1, 2012 @ 11:43 am



  18. #
    Ashley — February 1, 2012 @ 11:44 am

    You kind of left me speechless with this post. The browned cheese on toppppppppppp. Doughy bagel with cream cheese. I think I need to go back to bed + pretend this never happened. Unless you can make these gluten free. Come ooooooooon…for me???


  19. #
    Jessica @ Stylish Stealthy and Healthy — February 1, 2012 @ 11:47 am

    Not liking bread is really something I just can’t comprehend. It’s like not breathing air. Ok maybe that’s a little dramatic.. nope, no it’s not. Bread is the BEST! And while the asiago bagels are pretty fantastic, the cinnamon sugar bagels are the things dreams are made of. These really do look awesome though.


  20. #
    Dana B — February 1, 2012 @ 12:26 pm

    I’m not much of a bagel person, but these look scrumptious! like swooningoverthem needthemnow scrumptious :)


  21. #
    Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga — February 1, 2012 @ 12:29 pm

    These bagels look awesome! I made cheese donuts a few months ago and need to take it one step further and try cheese bagels. I admit that the whole boiling thing intimidates me a little bit but the final result looks soooooo….worth it! YUM!


  22. #
    Carolyn — February 1, 2012 @ 12:31 pm

    Hi Jessica – LOVE the blog. Seriously, the highlight of my morning is checking in to see what you’ve posted!
    I have a quick (maybe silly) question. When you add the flour to the yeast in the mixer, do/can you use regular 2 beaters (as if you were making a cake) or do you need a dough hook..or just one beater? =)


    • Jessica — February 1st, 2012 @ 12:32 pm

      Ah sorry – should have added that, I use a dough hook!


  23. #
    Karriann — February 1, 2012 @ 12:35 pm

    Yummy! Your pictures make me drool, as always. Looks fabulous!

    “Happy Cooking”


  24. #
    Courtney @ Bake.Eat.Repeat. — February 1, 2012 @ 1:03 pm

    Parents TOTALLY have the best food. It’s not even the food itself…I think it’s the presentation. What delicious thing must be lurking in that slightly green tinted–looks like it’s from 1948–tupperware container? What’s that? Blueberries sitting in a shallow container without a lid? I MUST HAVE THEM! Is that a giant tub of Pub Mix I spy in that cupboard? I don’t know why, I just can’t resist the parent’s food!


  25. #
    JG — February 1, 2012 @ 1:10 pm

    You have no idea how much this excites me. We live in a barren wasteland where there is no Panera. Well, not really. But there really is no Panera. This just made my day!! Thank you!!


  26. #
    Jacquie — February 1, 2012 @ 1:20 pm

    I love me some bread, and bagels are generally my fave, one question though.. Are these new york style chewy like the new star bucks everything bagels? Or are they less dense?


  27. #
    Ariane @ Bitchetarian — February 1, 2012 @ 1:33 pm

    It’s official – you have just ruined my waistline forever. I AM a bread person, and asiago cheese bagels are like kryptonite. I had this big plan to stop buying so much processed food… which may not help if I can make these at home. Which, despite all the whining I’m doing, I am SO excited to do!


  28. #
    Tracy — February 1, 2012 @ 1:42 pm

    I agree that bagels must be fresh and perfectly toasted. I like mine with nutella. These look fabulous!


  29. #
    Chelsea@Chelsea Is Dishing Up — February 1, 2012 @ 2:01 pm

    I think we’d be friends in real life. Fat friends though because all we’d do is eat cheese, mac and cheese, cheesecake and any other delicious treats containing cheese.


  30. #
    Krissy's Creations — February 1, 2012 @ 2:02 pm

    Why haven’t I made homemade bagels yet?? Why?! I must change that. Your pictures have convinced me :)


  31. #
    Amy's Cooking Adventures — February 1, 2012 @ 2:13 pm

    Oh looks wonderful!


  32. #
    Linda M — February 1, 2012 @ 2:58 pm

    Love bagels! But you mentioned your toaster…hmmm, maybe you should follow blogs too! I recently read this one! (literally like 3 days ago!)

    I’ll HAVE to try your recipe!
    Keep up the great work!!


  33. #
    Susan — February 1, 2012 @ 3:01 pm

    Yesssss!! I have been wanting to make bagels forever, but I’ve been putting it off because I never think to make a sponge the day before. 100% trying this version without one, thanks Jessica!


  34. #
    nicole {sweet peony} — February 1, 2012 @ 3:19 pm

    i like bread more than i should. sometimes, i just eat slices of bread when i can’t figure out what to eat. not a good habit haha. bagels are my faaaavorite. i looooove them! they must be perfectly toasted and perfectly loaded with cream cheese. i am so excited that you made your own… so cool! i’ll have to try this soon, although i’m kind of on a low carb thing right now :( anywho, great pics & yay for bagels!


  35. #
    Rebekah @ Medicine, Munchies & Movement — February 1, 2012 @ 3:28 pm

    I’m not a bread person either but absolutely love the smell of it baking in the oven! And when it’s combined with cheese the aroma is even more heavenly. It should almost be a candle scent…

    Btw, I made your pan-roasted brussel sprouts with brown butter and toasted pecans yesterday. It was absolutely delicious. Can’t wait till I get home to eat the rest :)


  36. #
    Ryan — February 1, 2012 @ 3:37 pm

    I LOVE bagels! And bread. And pretty much all carbs. I’m gonna need to make these soon but make them everything bagels cause they’re my fave! :)


  37. #
    joelle (on a pink typewriter) — February 1, 2012 @ 3:53 pm

    Holy cow.

    Homemade bagels?! Can we be best friends?


  38. #
    Tickled Red — February 1, 2012 @ 3:56 pm

    Girl! I need to make a trip to PA for some of these. Goodness that is a beautiful bagel :D


  39. #
    Heather of Kitchen Concoctions — February 1, 2012 @ 3:58 pm

    Move over the everything bagel, these look like my new favorite!


  40. #
    honeywhatscooking — February 1, 2012 @ 4:14 pm

    I have no words to describe that first pic. I love it. I love slightly golden brown cheese, it kinda looks like parmesan, but it’s asiago. YUM! You are so cool.. make the best things.


  41. #
    Sally @ Spontaneous Hausfrau — February 1, 2012 @ 5:24 pm

    Oh. My. Jesus. These are my absolute favorite bagels. I’ve had at least a few thousand of them from Panera.


  42. #
    Kelly — February 1, 2012 @ 5:44 pm

    You crack me up…only you could describe making homemade bagels as simple…super simple. Only you.


  43. #
    Jess@atasteofconfidence — February 1, 2012 @ 6:09 pm

    Mmm looks delicious. I love Panera. Really, I could live there.


  44. #
    Rachel @ Baked by Rachel — February 1, 2012 @ 6:28 pm

    This was one of the first things I saw this morning and wow… I was immediately starving. I’m a HUGE fan of bagels, even more so with cheese and butter. Nom. So good.


  45. #
    rose — February 1, 2012 @ 6:48 pm

    Wow these look awesome.. Cheese bagels were my fav growing up, I looved the crispy/chewy layer of cheese in the middle YUM. I love love cinnamon raisin bagels now.. delish. Wish I had a mixer-thing to make these with! And yes, bagels need to be perfectly fresh and toasted brown to be good and worthwhile for me too.. very bagel high maintenance :)


  46. #
    Cassie — February 1, 2012 @ 7:31 pm

    I’m not a fan of sandwich bread. Only gourmet bread. That’s smothered in butter and cheese. Or bagels smothered in butter and cheese. Those will work too.


  47. #
    Liv — February 1, 2012 @ 7:54 pm

    This looks so good! I can’t wait to try it. I live in Switzerland and you can’t get bagels here, so this is golden :)


  48. #
    Jaime — February 1, 2012 @ 8:31 pm

    How did you know I was just thinking yesterday that I would like to make homemade bagels? Actually homemade cheese bagels. Which I can toast perfectly. Thanks for turning your ESP on at just the right time.


  49. #
    Living The Sweet Life — February 1, 2012 @ 8:39 pm

    I got a little scared when you said you’re not a bread person – – my heart broke a little. But then, I read on – – and I TOTALLY get your logic. I love bread – – I love anything that can be put on bread – – especially peanut butter. Now, that I think about it – – just give me the peanut butter, hold the bread.

    :( … can we just come the the conclusion that anything food related I’m pretty much madly in love with.

    These bagels = love. true love.


  50. #
    TeriLyn [a foodie stays fit] — February 2, 2012 @ 12:30 am

    ooooh fancy. These look amazing but totally doable too. I’ve always wanted to try bagels that required boiling (seems more authentic, right??). No, I know don’t why. Yes, I know that’s not normal to have that want in the “always” category. :)



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