A freshly  made bagel is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Slather a still-warm bagel with cream cheese and you’ve got yourself the perfect on-the-go breakfast; top one with a fried egg and it’s a complete meal in one. The best bagels don’t even need to be toasted, and are good enough to just munch on plain.

Stuffed with salmon and cream cheese, spread with marmite, or simply toasted with a little butter, bagels are a sure-fire crowd pleaser for any day of the week. Here is a simple recipe in this step-by-step guide to a batch of perfect bagels, topped with crunchy seeds.

1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1-1/4 cups warm 2% milk (110° to 115°)
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 large egg yolk, room temperature
3-3/4 to 4-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
Sesame or poppy seeds, optional

Step one.
Mix the yeast with 300ml lukewarm water. Put the flour, sugar and 1 tsp salt in a large bowl and mix together. Pour over the yeasty liquid and mix into a rough dough.

Step two:
Tip out onto the work surface and knead together until smooth and elastic – this should take around 10 mins.

Step three:
Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a piece of oiled cling film. Place in a warm area and leave until doubled in size, about 1 hr, then uncover and tip onto your work surface.

Step four:
Divide the dough into 10 portions and form into balls – I like to weigh them to make sure they're all the same size. Line up on 2 parchment-lined baking trays and cover lightly with cling film.

Step five:
Leave for around 30 mins or until risen and puffy, then remove the cling film.

Step six:
Use a floured finger to make a hole in the centre of each bagel, swirling it around to stretch the dough a little, but being careful not to knock out too much air. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.

Step seven:
Fill a large saucepan with water and bring to the boil. Add the bicarbonate of soda to alkalise the water. Place 1-2 of the bagels in the water at a time and boil for 1 min (2 mins if you want a chewier bagel), turning over halfway through. Using a slotted spoon, lift out the bagels, drain well and place back onto the baking tray.

Step eight:
Brush the bagels with the egg white and sprinkle with your chosen seeds. Bake for 20-25 minus or until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool before eating. They will keep for 3-4 days, or freeze for 2 months.

Bagels are likely one of those foods you’ve never thought to make at home. But not only are homemade bagels possible, they’re absolutely worth making. Homemade bagels are irresistibly chewy, boast a crisp golden-brown exterior, and taste fresher and more flavorful than anything you can buy. Plus, you can get endlessly creative with toppings and mix-ins.