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Sourdough Bagels

Sourdough Bagels Recipe By: Cece Kirkwood. This post may contain affiliate links.

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These naturally-risen sourdough bagels have the Montreal sweet bagel taste, mixed with the fluffy goodness of a New York bagel. While they take three days to finish – from feeding your sourdough to baking and devouring – each day has simple steps that won’t take more than an hour out of your day. Start these on a Friday night and by Sunday morning – your brunch is ready to go. 

Bagels. My first true love. This recipe was also my first ever sourdough bread recipe that I developed. After a few trial runs and a very angry KitchenAid mixer, I found the perfect combination of sourdough, flour, water, salt and the fun stuff. 

This is a stiff dough and will require a strong arm or an electric mixer fit with a dough hook. The process is similar to many breads. First you activate the rising agent, knead until smooth, rise, shape, rest, boil and bake. The biggest difference here is that you complete these steps over a three day period. 

Now, before I lose you, don’t worry – there is not 72 hours of active baking time for this recipe. The starter and the dough just require a lot of down time to work their magic. You’ll only be actively working with it for no more than 90 minutes each day. 

If you’re ready, read on. And when you’re done, you’ll be ready to bake bomb a** bagels. 

And, if you’re looking to make these bagels with yeast rather than sourdough, try out my Montreal Bagels with a New York Twist recipe.

The Process 

Day 0 – Prepare the Sourdough

The night before you are ready to make your dough, feed your sourdough and allow it to reach peak active state. This typically takes 8 – 12 hours, so it’s a great activity to complete right before you head up for bed. 

Day 1 – Prepare the Sourdough Bagels Dough

The next day, check your starter. She should have grown to about twice the size and be very bubbly. Prepare your work area by pre-measuring out all your ingredients.

Grab a large bowl. If you plan to knead with an electric stand mixer, make sure the bowl fits into the stand. Whisk together water, bubbly active starter, maple syrup, sugar and canola oil. Whisk until completely combined and you begin to see some bubbles forming. Allow this to sit for a few minutes to make sure everyone is happy and ready for baking. 

Next, add in flour, then the salt on top and begin combining. This is a stiff dough, so you may need to move it to an electric mixer fit with a dough hook. Once mostly combined, turn your dough onto a floured work surface and knead until smooth (about 6-7 minutes of kneading). Like I said, this is a stiff dough, so don’t be afraid to put some muscle behind your kneading. 

NOTE: If you are subbing in cocoa powder, or adding raisins or blueberries – add those ingredients in during this kneading stage.

Once smooth, loosely shape the dough into a ball, creating tension across the top and place back into your bowl, cover with a towel and rest for 30 minutes. Perfect time for a cup of coffee or tea or to take your dog on that walk she is begging for. 

After this rest, divide the dough into 12 equal parts and shape each smaller dough mound into a tight ball, once again creating tension across the top. This is a great opportunity to use your scale to ensure your bagels are all the same size. This is really important if, like me, you are jealous when your family member ends up with the slightly larger bagel than you. Because, well… carbs are everything.

Once shaped, cover the dough balls with a towel to rest for 20 minutes on the workbench. Meanwhile, prepare 2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper or silicone baking mats, sprinkling a generous amount of flour on each.

After this rest, begin shaping your dough balls into bagels. I like to poke my thumb through the center of the dough ball. More on that bagel shaping here.

Place bagels on the prepared baking sheets, cover with a towel and place in a warm spot in your kitchen to proof for 2.5-4 hours.

After 2.5 hours, test your bagels  – they should be marshmallowy in texture – when you press into a bagel, it should not spring back up immediately. Instead, it should leave a bit of an indent before taking back its shape. If the bagels are still too springy, allow them to proof for another 30 minutes and check again. 

Once proofed, cover your pans tightly with plastic wrap and place into the fridge for 12-24 hours. If the pans are not wrapped tight enough, the bagels will develop a dry crust so make sure they are wrapped tight! 

Day 2 – Boiling and Baking

12 – 24 hours later….

Preheat your oven with a pizza stone to 450 degrees. If you do not have a pizza stone, the pans your bagels were resting on will be just fine to bake with. 

Bring a large pot of water, mixed with the honey and baking soda, to boil. Meanwhile, remove your bagels from the fridge and prep your work surface with double layered paper towels. 

Once your water is boiled, remove your bagels from the fridge and place in the water to boil for 45 sec on each side, 90 sec total.

Remove the bagels from the water and allow them to drip on a paper towel. 

If you would prefer not to use an egg wash for your bagel toppings, remove your bagel from the water and immediately dip your bagel dough into your preferred topping choice. 

Next, prepare your egg wash. Brush the wash all over the bagel and immediately dip or sprinkle with your chosen toppings. I like to put toppings on both sides of my bagels for an extra flavor explosion. 

Put 4-6 bagels on a sheet of parchment paper at a time. Then transfer the parchment paper and bagels to the preheated pizza stone.

Bake each bagel for 18-20 minutes, flipping the bagels halfway through.

Cool on a rack and enjoy with your favorite schmear. 

The Tips 

Can I make the sourdough bagels ahead of time and store them for the future?

Yes, these bagels can stay fresh for one month in the freezer! After the baking and cooling time, slice the bagels and place into a freezer-safe bag to store. When you are ready to eat, defrost the bagel in the microwave for 30 seconds. Then them pop into the toaster and enjoy with your favorite schmear or bagel toppings. 

Why is this recipe in grams? 

Baking is a science and in science you want things to be exact and precise. The best way to do this is by weighing out your ingredients using a simple scale. Ever baked a cookie using the same recipe, yet somehow it turns out slightly different each time? That is because when measuring by volume, you can’t be as precise. It is vital that your ingredient ratios are accurate for a reliable bake every time. 

What if I don’t have a pizza stone to bake my bagels? 

No worries! You can easily bake these bagels on a normal baking sheet lined with parchment paper. 

How do I properly feed and take care of my sourdough starter? 

There are a ton of different ways to care for your starter. I like to keep mine in a glass jar during the week. I will feed 113g of discard with 113g all-purpose flour and 113g of water. Mix this well and keep it at room temperature for up to 3 days before it needs another feeding. If you are baking more regularly with it, you will need to feed it more. If you will be away from baking with it for longer than a week, store your starter in the fridge! 

The Sourdough Bagels Recipe

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Sourdough Bagels

  • Author: Cece Kirkwood
  • Prep Time: 38 hours
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 2 Days
  • Yield: 12 Bagels 1x

Ingredients

Scale

For Bagels:

  • 300g of active 100% hydrated sourdough
    • I fed 150g of sourdough with 150g of all-purpose flour and 150g of water
  • 472g room temp water
  • 45g maple syrup
  • 82g sugar
  • 23g canola oil
  • 1,125g all-purpose flour
  • 10g Morton’s Kosher salt
  • Bagel toppings (sesame seeds, everything seasoning, za’atar, etc…) & an egg for an egg wash

 For Boiling:

  • ⅓ cup of honey

  • 2 tbsp baking soda

Instructions

DAY 0:

  • Feed your sourdough and allow it to reach peak active state

 

DAY 1:

  • In a large bowl, whisk together water, bubbly active starter, maple syrup, sugar and canola oil. Whisk until completely combined and you begin to see some bubbles forming. Allow to sit for a few minutes.

  • Add in flour, then the salt on top and begin combining. This is a stiff dough so you may need to move it to an electric mixer fit with a dough hook to get things going. Once mostly combined, turn your dough onto a floured work surface and knead until smooth (about 6-7minutes of kneading) 

  • Shape you dough into a ball, creating tension across the top of the dough and place back into your bowl and cover with a towel to rest for 30 minutes

  • Divide dough into 12 equal parts and shape each smaller dough mound into a tight ball, once again creating tension across the top of the ball. 

  • Cover dough balls with a towel to rest for 20 minutes and prepare a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, sprinkling a generous amount of flour on top.

  • Begin shaping your bagels. I like to poke my thumb through the center of the dough ball, then using my pointer and middle finger, I place the dough on a floured work surface and spin the dough around my two fingers. This helps elongate the center hole. Then, using your palms, spin the bagel in-between both hands to firm up the shape. 

  • Place bagels on a baking sheet, cover with a towel and place in a warm spot in your kitchen to proof for 2.5-4 hours (mine typically take around 3.5 depending on the temperature that day or if I am actively using the oven in my kitchen for something else)

  • Test your bagels – they should be marshmallowy in texture – when you press into a bagel, it shouldn’t spring back up immediately. Instead, it should leave a bit of an indent before taking back its shape. 

  • Once proofed, cover your pan in plastic wrap and place into the fridge for 12-24 hours. 

 

Day 2:

  • Preheat your oven with a pizza stone to 450 degrees

  • Bring a large pot of water, mixed with the honey and baking soda, to boil. 

  • Once your water is boiled, remove your bagels from the fridge and place in the water, a couple at a time, to boil for 45 sec on each side.

  • Remove bagels from the water and allow them to drip on a paper towel. 

    • If you prefer not to use an egg wash for your bagel toppings, remove your bagel from the water and immediately dip your bagel dough into your preferred topping choice. 

  • Prepare your egg wash. Brush wash all over the bagel and immediately dip into your chosen toppings. 

  • Bake each bagel for 18-20 minutes, flipping the bagels halfway through.

  • Cool on a rack and enjoy!

 

Notes

A few other flavor ideas:

    • Cheese Bagels (Asiago, Cheddar, etc): Add 1/2 cup of shredded cheese to the dough when you add the flour. After brushing with egg wash in step 9, sprinkle with extra cheese.

    • Cinnamon Raisin Bagels: Add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon to the dough recipe when you add the salt. And 110g of raisins just before you knead the dough the first time. 

    • Blueberry Bagels: Knead in 110g of blueberries 

    • Chocolate: Replace 50-100g of All-Purpose Flour with Cocoa Powder

Keywords: Sourdough Bagels

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One Comment

  1. These bagels are AMAZING and I’m from New York so I am VERY picky about my bagels!!!!

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