Sourdough Bagels

assorted sourdough bagels

The Spruce / Pete Scherer 

  • Total: 82 mins
  • Prep: 60 mins
  • Cook: 22 mins
  • Ferment: 12 hrs
  • Yield: 6 bagels (6 servings)

If you love bagels, these naturally leavened sourdough bagels will really hit the spot. They have the mild tang and chewy texture that can only come from old-world bread-making methods.

The sourdough starter you need for this recipe is composed of equal parts flour and water by weight. Therefore, the 110 grams of sourdough starter should be made from 55 grams of flour and 55 grams of water. This is important because bagel dough needs to be very firm. If there’s too much water, it will be difficult to shape the bagels properly and they won’t have the right texture. Different flours can absorb different amounts of water, so if this is your first time making bagels, or the first time with a new brand of flour, hold back a little water until you get a feel for the dough’s texture. Then add the rest if necessary, erring on the side of less.

If you want bagels that have more tangy flavor, try leaving the dough in the refrigerator for an extra day or two before you poach and bake them. Generally, the longer and cooler the fermentation, the more the dough will develop that characteristic acidity.

Ingredients

  • 110 grams sourdough starter
  • 165 grams water
  • 330 grams bread flour
  • 25 grams honey
  • 8 grams sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • Optional: Sesame seeds, poppy seeds, onion, etc.

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Add the sourdough starter, water, flour, honey, and salt to a large bowl. Stir with a spoon to combine.

  3. Then knead the dough with your hands until well mixed, about 5 minutes. Cover the bowl with a damp towel or plastic bag and rest for 30 minutes.

  4. Stretch and fold the dough. Rest for another 30 minutes.

  5. Divide the dough into 6 pieces weighing approximately 100 grams each. 

  6. To shape the bagels, roll each lump into a rope approximately 12 inches long. Lightly moisten both ends of the rope, and then firmly press them together such that the rope forms a closed loop. Don’t just bring the tips together. Let the ends overlap by about 3 inches so you get a nice strong seam.

  7. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Lightly grease the parchment with spray oil. Place the bagels on the parchment and cover them with plastic wrap.

  8. Allow to rise for about 90 minutes, then put them in the refrigerator and leave overnight.

  9. Preheat the oven to 500 F.

  10. Remove the bagels from the refrigerator.

  11. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the baking soda.

  12. Poach the bagels for 2 minutes, flipping halfway through.

  13. Remove with a wire spider or slotted spoon and return to the greased, parchment-lined sheet pan. Sprinkle with toppings if desired.

  14. Bake until golden, about 15 to 18 minutes.

  15. Cool on a wire rack and enjoy!

Tips

  • For poaching, it’s best to use a vessel that can poach all the bagels at once, like a large braising pan or hotel pan.
  • Be sure to grease the parchment. Wet dough baked on dry parchment has a tendency to stick.
  • The bagels will keep in a sealed container for up to a week or frozen for at least three months.