The Clever Bagel Shaping Hack You Need To Know About

Whether you're an avid home bagel maker or you've never made a bagel in your life, you've got to try this foolproof bagel-shaping hack to make pro-level bagels at home. There are two common bagel-shaping techniques, but a popular Instagram reel shows another inventive and "really cute" way to prepare both stuffed and plain bagels. First, let's dive into some baking fundamentals.

There are two stages in the dough shaping process: pre-shaping and shaping. Why shape twice? When manipulating and stretching bread dough, gluten strands can "tighten" and become stronger which can restrict the shaping process, according to The Perfect Loaf. After the dough has rested, it will be easier to stretch and shape again. This is why most recipes instruct to pre-shape, rest, then shape before baking.

The two aforementioned common bagel-shaping techniques are the "poke-and-stretch" — as seen in The Kitchn and Sally's Baking Addiction — and the "rope-and-loop" method, which King Arthur Baking Co notes is the more traditional route. The poke-and-stretch method involves pre-shaping the dough into little rounds and poking your finger through the center, while the rope-and-loop method calls for pre-shaping the dough into short logs, rolling those into longer snake-like shapes, and forming those dough pieces into an O to get that classic bagel shape. However, one Instagram baker is making waves with a non-traditional way to shape bagels that will level up your bagel game.

CANDY CO's creative bagel shaping method

Instagram account CANDY CO has 41K followers and nearly 2.5K posts showcasing her beautiful carb-y creations, like canelé, hotteok (stuffed Korean pancakes), and pork floss and scallion rolls. Clearly, she knows what she's talking about.

In one bagel-centric reel, CANDY CO divides and pre-shapes dough into spheres, but instead of poking through the dough, she uses a small rolling pin to flatten the dough ball into a long, oval-shaped sheet. For the stuffed bagel, she spreads small cubes of ham and cheese in the lower third of the dough — horizontally, the long way — and rolls the dough over the filling like a cinnamon roll. Next, she uses the rolling pin to create a flat tab at one end (The Kitchn describes it as a "fan") and uses it to encompass the other end — think of a dog chasing and catching its tail. The tab is pinched to seal the ends together, creating a bagel shape. Lastly, she stretches the center hole to compensate for shrinkage during the baking process.

For the non-stuffed bagel, CANDY CO uses the same process up until the filling step. Rather than rolling the dough cinnamon roll-style, she performs a letter fold by meeting the two long ends in the center, then folds again and pinches to seal the dough into a log shape. She then creates a fan-shaped tab and loops, seals, and stretches the dough the same way. To complete the process, she boils the bagels, tops them with everything bagel seasoning and cheese, and bakes.