June 21, 2022 5 min read

Baking sourdough is one of life’s great joys. Second only to that would be devouring these delicious Sourdough Bagels?


If you’re looking to expand your sourdough repertoire, then these Sourdough Bagels are the perfect addition. Rather than throwing out your sourdough discard next time you feed your starter, put it to good use and bake these moreish bagels. 


Whether you’re a baking novice or a seasoned baker, this sourdough bagel recipe is perfect for bakers of all experience levels. They only take 25 minutes of prep and another 35 minutes of baking time, so you won’t have to spend hours slaving away in the kitchen. Instead, you’ll need a handful of staple ingredients from your pantry and some elbow grease to create the perfect bagels, every time.


Just like our sourdough soft pretzels, this simple step-by-step recipe for soft sourdough bagels comes together in minutes, rises overnight and bakes in 35 minutes. 


Sourdough bagel recipe

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What you’ll need

Ingredients

  • ½ cup (100 g) active sourdough starter
  • 1 cup + 1 tablespoon (255 g) water
  • 2 tablespoons (40 g) honey (or sugar)
  • 2 teaspoons (10 g) fine sea salt
  • 4 cups + 2 tablespoons (500 g) bread flour

Water bath

  • 6 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

Optional toppings

  • Sesame seeds
  • Salt (sprinkled on top)
  • Poppy seeds
  • Shredded cheese

Tools

  • Stand mixer with bowl
  • Baking sheet
  • Baking paper
  • Measuring cups 
  • Digital kitchen scale
  • Mixing bowl
  • Spatula

How to make Sourdough Bagels: Step-by-step instructions

Feeding your sourdough starter instructions

  1. 12 hours before you plan to mix the dough, add the ingredients to make ½ cup (100 g) of active sourdough starter to a clean jar. 
  2. Stir ingredients until combined
  3. Loosely cover the jar and allow the starter to rise at room temperature. 
  4. Once the sourdough starter has doubled in size and there are plenty of bubbles on the surface and sides of the jar it is ready to use.

Sourdough bagel dough instructions

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir the starter, water, honey and salt with a spatula.
  2. Add the bread flour and use your hands to bring the ingredients together as best as possible. The dough will be very stiff at this point. 
  3. Place the dough hook on the mixer and mix the dough on the lowest speed for 6-7 minutes, or 10 minutes by hand.
  4. Cover the bowl and let rest at room temperature for 8-12 hours. 
  5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  6. Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces.
  7. Shape each piece into a ball. To shape the bagel, place a dough ball on the surface in front of you and use your thumb to poke a hole straight down through the middle of the dough. Pick the bagel dough up, gently shape the ring and place on the parchment paper. Repeat with remaining dough balls.
  8. Cover the dough with a towel and let rise for 30-60 minutes or until puffy.
  9. Preheat the oven to 218°C – making sure that the oven rack is in the centre position. 
  10. Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a large stockpot and add 1 tablespoon of sugar.
  11. Once the bagels have finished rising, boil them for 2 minutes on each side (3-4 at a time).
  12. Use a mesh strainer to remove the bagels and let rest on the parchment paper until cool enough to handle. 
  13. Once cool enough, dip one side into your choice of toppings and place back onto the parchment paper.
  14. Bake the bagels at 218°C for 25-28 minutes or until golden brown.

How to shape bagels

If you’ve never made homemade bagels, worry not, because you can shape your dough into the signature bagel shape in four simple steps.

  1. Pre-shape the bagel by pulling the edges of each piece of dough towards the centre and then pinch them shut. They should look like little purses or dumplings.
  2. Brushing excess flour off your dough, hold your dough and use your thumb to make an impression in the centre of the dough. 
  3. Using both thumbs poke a small hole in the centre of the dough to create your signature bagel shape. 
  4. Use your thumb and fingers to twirl the dough and gently extend the hole in the centre and continue until you get an even round.

However, you can also watch this video to see for yourself how to master the perfect bagel shape at home.

Josh’s Baking Tips

  • Want to make your bagels even chewier? Make sure you use You Knead Sourdough’s Bread Flour when making this recipe.
  • Don’t have any sourdough starter? Use our Dried Starter Flakes and use our Sourdough Starter Recipe to learn how to activate your sourdough starter to get started. Once your starter is strong and healthy, you can use some of the sourdough discard to make these bagels after a regular feeding.
  • Make sure to feed your starter a day or two before you use the discard. Sluggish starter doesn't work well and will affect the puffiness of the bagels.

Sourdough bagels serving ideas

While one of the best ways to enjoy sourdough bagels is warm with some salt or slathered in butter or cream cheese, there are plenty of ways to make the most of your bagels so you can eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

One way to enjoy bagels is by cutting them in half, toasting them and layering delicious combinations of fillings, such as cranberry, brie and turkey or egg and bacon. There is no limit to what you can put on your bagel, so be creative with your combinations.

Meanwhile, you might want to try topping your homemade bagels with avocado, melted cheddar cheese, mozzarella or even Nutella for a sweet treat. Think of your bagel as a blank canvas – you can paint them with any flavour combinations you like. It’s all about being creative and seeing what works for you and your tastes.

Sourdough bagels frequently asked questions (FAQs)

How to store and freeze sourdough bagels

After baking, store bagels, covered, at room temperature for up to one week. Storing in the fridge is not recommended.

However, if you’re freezing baked bagels, let them cool completely. Then, wrap the bagels individually in plastic wrap and place in a freezer-safe container for up to three months.

How to reheat bagels

To reheat frozen bagels, let them thaw on the counter. Then, cut them in half and heat in the toaster. 

However, if your bagels are stale, then you can reheat them in the following ways: 

  • Dip hard bagels in water and heat in the oven (180ºc).
  • Place bagels in a damp paper bag and heat in the oven.
  • Wrap bagels in aluminium foil with a few drops of water and heat in the oven.
  • Bagels can be reheated in a microwave oven in their plastic bag for 30 seconds.
  • Reheat in the toaster 

What else can you make with sourdough discard?

While there are hundreds of recipes you can make using sourdough discard, we have compiled 7 of our favourite sourdough discard recipes on our blog. Perfect for every palate, these sweet and savoury recipes include fluffy sourdough pancakes, fried chicken, baker’s banana bread, and golden sourdough waffles. 

Most of these sourdough discard recipes take under 20 minutes of hands-on work, so they’re perfect if you’re looking for a quick recipe on a lazy Sunday or rainy day.

Did you make these Sourdough Bagels? Share your sourdough creations with us on Instagram by tagging @YouKneadSourdough with the hashtag #youkneadsourdough.

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