Fresh bagels only remain tender for a day or two after you bring them home before they begin to harden and turn stale. Gentle warming after bathing the outside of the bagel with moisture replicates the original baking process. The bagels regain a similar texture and flavor to their fresh-out-of-the-oven appeal.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Turn on the hot water tap and run the water until it heats up. Hold the whole, uncut bagel under the hot water for 30 seconds.
Lay the moistened bagels on a baking pan. Leave a space between each bagel.
Place the pan in the oven and heat the bagels for 5 minutes until they are warmed through. The moisture and brief baking freshens the bagels and makes the outside crisp and the inside soft again.
Dampen a paper towel with water. Wring it out so it is barely moist.
Set a bagel on a microwave-safe plate. Cover the bagel with the damp towel.
Microwave the bagel on high for 15 seconds. Check the bagel and continue to heat in 15 second intervals until the bagel is warmed through and soft.
Store bagels in a tightly sealed bag for up to 24 hours, or in a sealed bag in the freezer for up to three months. Proper storage prevents the bagels from becoming stale.