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Sourdough Bagels

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Sourdough bagels are a great way to make homemade bagels at home! These bagels have a crisp crust, a chewey interior, and are a flavorful and perfect way to use your sourdough starter!
sourdough bagels piled on cooking rack

If you love a good chewy bagel with great flavor, these sourdough bagels are calling your name!

These bagels are boiled before baking, which helps to give it a nice chewy crust. The bagels then get baked in a really hot oven, which helps them have a dense and chewy interior.

Sourdough bagels tend to have more chew and bite than a store bought bagel. They don’t taste as sour as some sourdough loaves can be, but here the sourdough adds great depth of flavor that really makes these bagels shine.

They are a little smaller than the ones that you buy in the store, but probably a better portion size. They are both soft and chewy, everything a perfect bagel should be! And a whole lot easier to make than you expect them to be!

three sourdough bagels stacked on top of each other

How to make Sourdough Bagels

These bagels might seem like they have a lot of steps, but they come together fairly easily. For the full recipe and directions, make sure you scroll down to the recipe card below. Here is a brief overview:

Mixing the dough

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the starter, milk, flour, and brown sugar with the batter beater on low speed. You just need it to be combined.
  2. Switch to the dough hook and mix on medium-low speed until the dough is smooth, strong, and rubbery. It is a stiff, strong dough. This should take 2 or 3 minutes.
  3. Dump the dough on the counter (you don’t need to add any flour to the counter) and knead by hand for a few turns, or until the dough turns into a satiny, tight ball. Check the gluten development by stretching a small piece of the dough between two fingers. It should stretch really thin without breaking (this is called the windowpane test).
  4. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and allow it to rest on your counter for 10 minutes.
collage of images showing how to mix sourdough bagel dough

Shaping the bagels

  1. Divide the dough ball into 12 equal pieces and roll them into balls.
  2. Cover with plastic wrap and allow them to sit at room temperature for another 10 minutes.
  3. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and liberally sprinkle it with flour.
  4. Roll each ball into a snake about 8-10″ long.
  5. Wrap the snake around your hand, overlapping the ends in your palm about 2″.
  6. Turn your hand over and roll the dough on the counter, fusing the ends together. If the dough seems dry and doesn’t want to fuse, give it a spritz of just a tiny bit of water to help it.
  7. Place the bagels on the cookie sheet, cover with plastic wrap and allow to proof for 1-3 hours at room temperature. They are done when they look and feel puffy. This could take more time if your house is cold, or less time if your house is warm. They will not double in size. You can test that they are done by placing one in a bowl of cold water. If it floats, it is done. Remove the bagel from the cold water and dry it off before replacing it on the cookie sheet.
  8. Place the covered cookie sheet in the fridge to proof for at least 4 hours, or up to 12 hours.
collage of images showing how to shape bagels

Baking the bagels

  1. Prepare a wire rack with a towel under neath it. Remove the bagels from the fridge and place the cookie sheet next to the wire rack.
  2. Place a bowl next to the racks and fill it with the everything bagel mixture.
  3. Preheat the oven to 425F.
  4. When the oven has been fully preheated, place a large pot of water on the stove top to boil. You want to give the oven a good long head start at heating so it is nice and hot, so don’t rush it.
  5. Carefully take the bagels off of the cookie sheet and wipe off any excess flour from them and place the bagels on the wire rack. Leave the cookie sheet with any remaining flour where it is, you still need it.
  6. Add the baking soda to the boiling water. The baking soda will help the crust to develop a rich caramel color during baking.
  7. Carefully drop the bagels, one or two at a time, into the boiling water. Allow them to cook for 30-40 seconds per side. They should float. Note: If you want a chewier bagel, boil them for up to 1 minute per side. If you want a softer bagel, boil them fro only 20 seconds per side.
  8. Carefully remove the bagels and place them on the wire rack for 30 seconds to drain off any excess water.
  9. Then place the bagels, upside down, into the bowl of everything bagel mixture.
  10. Place the bagels, right side up, back on the cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining bagels.
  11. Place the cookie sheet with the bagels into the oven. Immediately turn the temperature down to 400F.
  12. Bake for 12 minutes, and then open the oven door briefly to release any steam in the oven. Bake an additional 12-14 minutes, or until the bagels are golden brown.
  13. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
collage of images showing how to bake bagels

Recipe Notes

What kind of flour should I use?

This recipe works best with a high protein flour like bread flour to get the best chew from your bagels. But you CAN use unbleached all purpose flour, too!

What kind of sourdough starter do I need for this recipe?

These bagels require a 100% hydration sourdough starter. To learn more about what that means and how to maintain your starter, read Feeding Your Sourdough Starter.

For this recipe, your starter needs to be fed and active, meaning that it is bubbly and has doubled, but has not yet begun to fall. Make sure it has had a few good feedings before you start this recipe.

You also need about 300 grams of sourdough starter, which is about 1 1/2 cups.

How do I know if my starter is active and ready to be used?

Your starter is ready to be used in this recipe when it has been fed and has doubled in at least 4-6 hours. It needs to be at least 12 days old and have proved that it consistently becomes active in this time frame after a feeding.

Can you freeze these bagels?

Yes, you can! Slice them in half and then freeze. You can thaw overnight in the fridge or at room temperature.

eight sourdough bagels with everything bagels topping on cooling rack with towel under

How to Make Everything Bagel Seasoning:

Everything bagel seasoning is amazing on so many things, not just bagels! You can also sprinkle it on fried eggs, avocados, basically everything.
Mix up:
  • 1 Tablespoon of poppy seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon of sesame seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon of dried onion flakes
  • 1 Tablespoon of dried garlic flakes
  • 2 pinches of salt

Store this in an airtight container in your pantry.

sourdough bagel cut in half  and smeared with cream cheese sitting on grey plate

Try your sourdough starter with these other great recipes:

Scene with several plates with sourdough bagels, some cut, some with cream cheese, some whole

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split sourdough bagels on plates with cream cheese next to cooling rack
Yield: 8 bagels

Sourdough Bagels

sourdough bagels piled on cooking rack

These homemade sourdough bagels are the perfect use of your sourdough discard! They are tender and chewy, with the perfect level of sourdough tang!

Prep Time 5 hours
Cook Time 24 minutes
Additional Time 8 hours
Total Time 13 hours 24 minutes

Ingredients

  • 455 grams flour
  • 400 grams active (bubbly) 100% sourdough starter
  • 170 grams milk, warmed slightly
  • 24 grams brown sugar
  • 14 grams vital wheat gluten
  • 10 grams salt
  • 1 TBSP baking soda, for boiling
  • 4 Tablespoons Everything Bagel Spice Blend

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the starter, milk, flour, and brown sugar with the batter beater on low speed. You just need it to be combined.
  2. Switch to the dough hook and mix on medium-low speed until the dough is smooth, strong, and rubbery. It is a stiff, strong dough. This should take 2 or 3 minutes.
  3. Dump the dough on the counter (you don't need to add any flour to the counter) and knead by hand for a few turns, or until the dough turns into a satiny, tight ball. Check the gluten development by stretching a small piece of the dough between two fingers. It should stretch really thin without breaking (this is called the windowpane test).
  4. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and allow it to rest on your counter for 10 minutes.
  5. Divide the dough ball into 12 equal pieces and roll them into balls.
  6. Cover with plastic wrap and allow them to sit at room temperature for another 10 minutes.
  7. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and liberally sprinkle it with flour.
  8. Roll each ball into a snake about 8-10" long.
  9. Wrap the snake around your hand, overlapping the ends in your palm about 2".
  10. Turn your hand over and roll the dough on the counter, fusing the ends together. If the dough seems dry and doesn't want to fuse, give it a spritz of just a tiny bit of water to help it.
  11. Place the bagels on the cookie sheet, cover with plastic wrap and allow to proof for 1-3 hours at room temperature. They are done when they look and feel puffy. This could take more time if your house is cold, or less time if your house is warm. They will not double in size. You can test that they are done by placing one in a bowl of cold water. If it floats, it is done. Remove the bagel from the cold water and dry it off before replacing it on the cookie sheet.
  12. Place the covered cookie sheet in the fridge to proof for at least 4 hours, or up to 12 hours.
  13. Prepare a wire rack with a towel under neath it. Remove the bagels from the fridge and place the cookie sheet next to the wire rack.
  14. Place a bowl next to the racks and fill it with the everything bagel mixture.
  15. Preheat the oven to 425F.
  16. When the oven has been fully preheated, place a large pot of water on the stove top to boil. You want to give the oven a good long head start at heating so it is nice and hot, so don't rush it.
  17. Carefully take the bagels off of the cookie sheet and wipe off any excess flour from them and place the bagels on the wire rack. Leave the cookie sheet with any remaining flour where it is, you still need it.
  18. Add the baking soda to the boiling water.
  19. Carefully drop the bagels, one or two at a time, into the boiling water.
  20. Allow them to cook for 30-40 seconds per side. They should float.
  21. Carefully remove the bagels and place them on the wire rack for 30 seconds to drain off any excess water.
  22. Then place the bagels, upside down, into the bowl of everything bagel mixture.
  23. Place the bagels, right side up, back on the cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining bagels.
  24. Place the cookie sheet with the bagels into the oven. Immediately turn the temperature down to 400F.
  25. Bake for 12 minutes, and then open the oven door briefly to release any steam in the oven. Bake an additional 12-14 minutes, or until the bagels are golden brown.
  26. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
  27. Enjoy!

Notes

This recipe works best with a high gluten flour like bread flour, but unbleached all purpose will work, too!

Note: If you want a chewier bagel, boil them for up to 1 minute per side. If you want a softer bagel, boil them fro only 20 seconds per side.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 229Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 668mgCarbohydrates: 47gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 8g

Nutrition information is an estimate and is provided for informational purposes only. For the most accurate information, please calculate using your specific brands and exact measurements.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram, and don't forget to tag #gingeredwhisk.

Loosely based on a recipe for Sourdough Bagels from Wild Yeast

a pile of sourdough bagels with various toppings
sourdough bagel with everything bagel seasoning
close up of sourdough bagel
plain sourdough bagel closeup

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