Sourdough Bagel Recipe
This sourdough bagels recipe makes the best sourdough bagels and proves you can make the most delicious, chewy, soft on the inside, easy sourdough bagels at home. In my easy 7 step process, you will transform a few simple ingredients into delicious, freshly made sourdough bagels to top with all your faves (scallion cream cheese anyone!?).
Ah, also a slow fermented dough = healthy too.
Okay, so for a very long time, I was intimated by the process of bagel making. I figured they would be too complicated to make from home; the tools required, the boiling, even just the fermentation alone seemed far-fetch. Truth-be-told, it wasn’t until I made them from scratch for the first time that I realized that they were actually pretty easy to make. So much so, I even tell people that making sourdough bagels is (in my controversial opinion) easier than making bread. GASPPPP.
If you too have any fears around sourdough, bread making, or more specifically, sourdough-bagel-making – I’m here to guide you along with my easy 7-Step Process.
Also, for any sourdough bagel newbies, you might be wondering… what makes a sourdough bagel better than a regular bagel (made with yeast). Well, Im so happy you asked. Sourdough bagels are ridiculously soft, their chewy, their kinda like bagels but way healthier, and SO much more flavor. Like its not just the insane texture thing that we love about bagels. But it’s a flavor thing too.
You will be savoring every bite. Mark my words.
Let’s talk nutrition.
Even better, you’ll be wondering: how could something so delicious be so good for me too?! I feel like sourdough does that. One bite, and it’s hard to believe that something this nutritious, this wholesome could also be so darn good.
By giving our bagel dough a long and slow fermentation with sourdough starter — we’re talking 24-72 hours – wild yeast and bacteria degrade gluten proteins, breaks down complex starches (goodbye FODMAPs) and transforms grains into an easy-to-digest, nutritious staple food that supports a healthy gut microbiome.
This is what gets me most excited about sourdough. Truly.
Who’s ready to make sourdough bagels?! Introducing: the easiest homemade sourdough bread recipe. Enjoy!
My 7 Steps Sourdough Bagel Method
- Mix Dough and First Rise
- Overnight Rise
- Divide and Shape
- Final (Very Short) Rise
- Boil Bagels
- Add Bagel Toppings
MY BAGEL MAKING SCHEDULE
This is what a typical bagel-making schedule looks like for me.
P.S. Temperature is one of the single most important factors that affect fermentation. The warmer your place, the faster your dough will ferment. So please use my schedule as simply a jumping off point for your own.
Prepare sourdough starter
Either feed your sourdough starter the night before to prepare or if your sourdough starter is in the fridge be sure to feed it every 12 hours, 3 days before you plan to bake.
- 10 AM – Mix bagel dough, cover and let sit at room temp until it doubles in size (6-8 hours)
- 6 PM – Place dough covered in the fridge for an overnight fermentation (10+ hours). This step is to develop flavor and nutrition… it’s optional, but highly recommended.
- 8 AM – Divide bagel dough, shape and cover in a closed tupperware. Let it rise for 2 hours.
- 10 AM – Prepare boiling water and preheat oven.
- 10:15 AM – Boil bagels, add toppings and bake.
Ingredients for Sourdough Bagels
Here’s what you’ll need to make sourdough bagels at home.
5 Core Ingredients
- Water: Preferably warm water is best! Warmer water helps kickstart fermentation.
- Sourdough Starter: Be sure you are using active sourdough starter (not discard).
- Bread Flour: A high protein flour is needed for bagel making. You can use a white or whole wheat bread flour. King Arthur has a great bread flour that is usually widely available. I use this one.
- Honey: Instead of a barley malt syrup or sugar, I like to use a touch of honey to sweeten the dough.
- Sea Salt: Enhances flavor (and nutrition) by slowing fermentation.
3 Additional/Optional Ingredients
- Eggs: You’ll brush your bagels with an egg wash prior to adding toppings and give them a beautiful golden brown them
- Optional Toppings: everything bagel seasoning, sesame seeds, poppy seeds
Equipment Needed for Sourdough Bagels
- Dough Mixer or Mixing Bowl (by hand): You can prepare the bagel dough with either a mixer or by hand. Kneading the dough by hand is essential to the bagel-making process (and my favorite part).
- Dough Scraper: Used for dividing our dough.
- Baking Pan
- Baking Scale: Ideal for accurately measuring ingredients and weighing bagel dough after dividing to ensure they are similar in size.
EASY HOMEMADE SOURDOUGH BAGEL INSTRUCTIONS
Make sure your starter has been fed and is active when you mix the dough. Starter is optimal when used at its peak in the jar!
1. MIX DOUGH AND FIRST RISE
In a bowl or stand mixer, add sourdough starter, water, honey and salt. Place the dough hook on the mixer and mix the dough on the lowest speed for 3 minutes. Or mix by hand for a couple minutes until a ball forms. Now, turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead the dough for 3-4 minutes or until the dough is smooth.
Place the dough inside a tupperware and close securely with a lid. Let the dough rise at room temperature for 6 – 8 hours or until it doubles in size. If you can, stretch and fold the dough 3-4 times within the first 3 hours of the first rise.
2. OVERNIGHT RISE
Place your dough covered in the fridge for the overnight fermentation. This is where your dough will develop flavor and L.A.B bacteria will get to work enhancing the nutrition of our dough.
3. DIVIDE AND SHAPE
Dump out and divide your dough into 6-8 pieces, you can eyeball it or weigh them out on a dough scale. Shape each into a ball by pulling the corners up and over. Now, use your finger to poke a hole through the center of each ball and rotate the dough with two fingers to form a ring. Refer to visual.
4. FINAL (SHORT) RISE
Place your bagels in a large tupperware and cover with a lid or on a lightly greased tray and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let the dough rest for 1-2 hours or until puffy to the touch.
5. BOIL BAGELS
Preheat oven to 400f. Fill a large, wide pot water and bring to a boil. Drop bagels in, 1-2 at a time, making sure they have enough room to float around. Cook the bagels for 1 minute on each side and remove with a slotted spoon; drain well. Place on a baking sheet or plate and brush with egg wash.
6. ADD BAGEL TOPPINGS
Dip bagels into your topping of choice and place bagels on a clean, parchment-lined baking sheet.
Bake bagels for 20 – 23 minutes or until golden brown on the outside.
HOW TO STORE AND FREEZE SOURDOUGH BAGELS
Once fully cooled, keep bagels covered in a plastic container on the counter for a few days. After 3 days, place them in the fridge or freezer.
To freeze: Keep them in a freezer-safe container or bag. When you’re ready to eat them, you can simply pop them right into the toaster oven. Or let them thaw on the counter, cut them in half, and toast.
Sourdough Bagel Varieties
- Plain Bagels: Follow the recipe below. Perfect with your favorite cream cheese, butter, or nut butter and jam.
- Everything Bagels: Simply add everything bagel seasoning.
- Sesame Seed Bagels: Use Sesame Seeds.
- Poppy Seed Bagels: Use Poppy Seeds
- Salt Bagels: Use Coarse Salt.
- Asiago or Cheddar Cheese Bagels: Sprinkle-shaped bagels with cheese right before baking.
- Cinnamon Crunch Bagels: Mix 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/4 Cup coconut sugar (or brown sugar). After brushing the bagels with the egg wash, dip or spoon on the mixture.