Stuck in quarantine and bored beyond belief: Baking bagels beats the quarantine blues

Baking Asiago Bagels with Samantha Shaffer.

Baking Asiago Bagels with Samantha Shaffer.

Samantha Shaffer , Staff Writer

At this point, all of my days have blended into one. I rely on my phone to keep track of passing time and remembering what the date actually is. 

The first week of this spontaneous break was blissful, but as the days passed I quickly ran out of ideas for activities to keep me busy. I found myself napping quite a bit and struggling to stave off the onset of isolation driven depression that I’m sure I am not alone in experiencing. 

As a solution to this ever looming boredom, I turned to my hobbies. One of my favorite pastimes is baking. I will bake anything from cookies to bread. I absolutely love it. Scrolling through Pinterest, I came upon a recipe for asiago bagels and thought to myself, “Why not give it a shot.” 

They were incredibly easy to make and the finished product was quickly gobbled up by the other members of my household. I would highly recommend trying your hand at making these bagels. You most likely have all of the ingredients necessary already in your cupboards with the exception, potentially, of active dry yeast and cheese, but neither of those products are particularly obscure, even at a time like this. 

When you make the bagels, which I have done multiple times now per the request of my father, I would recommend using slices of cheese rather than shredded cheese as the recipe calls for. The sliced cheese covers the bagel better which delivers a much more delicious finished product. 

Also, you can use a fancy stand mixer, if you have one, or make it all by hand. With the extra time it may be nice to lose yourself in the mindlessness of kneading yeast dough. Furthermore, as the dough rises, it is the perfect time to pick up a book to pass the time. Another perk to making these bagels is the smell that fills the house as they bake. 

The recipe calls for asiago cheese, but you can use any kind of cheese that fulfills your heart’s desires. Also, do not be intimidated by the boiling process that occurs before the bagels bake. It is quite easy and gives the bagels their signature texture. I hope you find as much solace in making bagels as I was able to. Happy baking!

Recipe from

Asiago Cheese Bagels

8 ounces asiago cheese

2 cups warm water

2 packets active dry yeast

2 tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon salt

4 1/2 – 5 1/2 cups flour

1 tablespoon brown sugar

In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the warm water, yeast, and honey. Let sit until bubbled and foamy. Add the salt and four cups of flour, and mix until combined. Add the remaining flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until a smooth and non-sticky dough forms (I used about 5 cups total). Knead until elastic, then place in a lightly greased bowl to rise until doubled in size, about one hour.

After one hour, punch down the dough and divide into 15 equal sized pieces (about three ounces each). Roll each into a ball and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes. While the dough is rising, grate the cheese into a shallow dish and set aside. After thirty minutes, push your finger through the middle of each bagel to make a bagel shape and return to the baking sheet. Preheat the oven to 400.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the brown sugar. Add bagels to the water, 3-4 at a time, and cook for two minutes, then flip and let cook for another 30 seconds. Remove the bagels one at a time and place them in the grated cheese, lightly pressing to coat with cheese. Return the bagels to the baking sheet and continue with the remaining bagels (you will most likely need another baking sheet). Bake for 28-35 minutes, or until the cheese is golden. Remove and let cool before slicing and serving.