Homemade Sourdough Bagels

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These Sourdough Bagels are chewy and delicious! They encompass everything you love about bagels but are leavened with active sourdough starter for a natural rise and signature sourdough flavor. With this recipe, you can make classic plain bagels or add your favorite seasonings and toppings.

close up of sourdough bagels with jalapeno and cheddar and everything seasoning

I know it may seem intimidating to make bagels, but I promise they are pretty easy to make and use basic household ingredients you probably have on hand! They pair well with butter or cream cheese, or you can use them to make breakfast sandwiches with your favorite fillings like an over-easy egg and bacon. If you can make sourdough bread, you can easily make these bagels! 

Why do you boil bagels before baking?

Boiling bagels might seem like just an extra step, but it’s what gives bagels that chewy texture and shiny crust we all love. When you boil them briefly before baking, it sets the outside layer, so they stay moist inside and get that perfect chewiness. Plus, it pre-cooks the outside, so they get a nice crispy crust in the oven.

Tools to make Sourdough Bagels

Stand MixerUsing a stand mixer makes kneading the dough easy. If you don’t have a stand mixer you can also knead the dough by hand. 

Bench Scraper Using a bench scraper helps you divide the dough into 12 equal sections. 

Silicone Baking Mats These mats are great because the dough does not stick to them, making it easier to work with the bagels. 

Ingredients for Sourdough Bagels 

Bread flour- I like to use bread flour for this recipe to get the best chewy texture. In a pinch you can use all purpose flour.

Active Starter – An active starter means that it has been recently fed, bubbly, and doubled in size. Learn more about your starter here! 

Water

Sugar- This helps balance the tang of the starter and adds just a hint of sweetness.

Salt – any type of salt works here. 

Optional flavors and toppings

close up of sliced bagel on a wire rack

Sourdough bagel flavor ideas 

While I love a classic plain bagel it is fun to add different flavors and toppings to the bagels. The toppings are added to the bagels after they are boiled, before baking them in the oven. You can make all the bagels the same, or have fun with different flavors! It can be fun to do some savory and some sweet! Here are a few flavor ideas for you to try: 

  • Shredded Cheese -You can use any type of cheese you like, but I love cheddar, pepper jack, or colby cheese. Sprinkle the shredded cheese on top of the bagel.
  • Everything But the Bagel Seasoning– To easily get the seasoning all over the bagel I like to pour some seasoning on a plate and dip the boiled bagel into the seasoning. This gives the bagel an even coat.
  • Jalapeno & cheddar cheese – Sprinkle the cheese and set the jalapeno slices on top of the bagel. I prefer to use pickled jalapenos but fresh works too.
  • Cinnamon and sugar – Using the same technique as the seasoning above, add the cinnamon and sugar to a plate and then dip the top of the boiled bagel into the cinnamon and sugar mixture. 

Step-by-step instructions to make Sourdough Bagels

First, add all the ingredients, except the toppings to your stand mixer bowl. Using your dough hook, knead the dough for about 20 minutes or until the dough can pass the windowpane test. The windowpane test is used to see how well the gluten has developed. When the dough is able to stretch thin enough that you can see light through, without it tearing, it has passed. You can also mix this dough in a bowl and then knead by hand.

sourdough bagel dough

Transfer the dough to a large bowl and let it rise on the counter overnight covered until doubled in size. This will take about 8-10 hours depending on the temperature of your house. At 75F my dough doubled in 8 hours. 

sourdough bagel dough in a bowl rising

Once doubled in size, punch down the dough and divide it into 12 equal sections. I like to use a bench scraper for this.

Taking one section at a time, form the dough into a ball by pulling the sides to the middle of the dough and then flipping it over. With your hand in a cupping shape rotate the dough ball a few times in a circle. Repeat with the remaining 11. 

Sourdough bagel dough in 12 small balls

Poke a hole in the middle of the dough and then using both pointer fingers, inserted on each side, rotate your fingers around each other making a hole in the middle of the dough. 

Place the bagels on a silicone baking mat. Trust me, the bagels are easier to pick up this way when boiling them because the dough doesn’t stick to the mats! You can also use lightly greased parchment paper, but you may have some trouble with the dough sticking. 

Cover with a slightly damp tea towel and let the bagels rise for another 30 minutes to an hour to get puffy. 

After the bagels have had a chance to rise, preheat your oven to 425F. Then, bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon of baking soda. Add a few bagels at a time boiling them for about 1 minute on each side. 

bagels in boiling water

Place the bagels back on the silicone baking mats on top of a sheet pan. Add seasonings or cheeses of choice to the tops (see notes on flavor options above for tips on adding to bagels).

raw sourdough bagels with toppings before baking step

Bake for 18-20 mins or until lightly browned. 

Let the bagels cool and then enjoy with butter or cream cheese! 

hand holding sourdough bagel with cream cheese cut in half

Tips for Success

  • Use a silicone baking mat to proof the bagels on. The dough does not stick to the mat, unlike what sometimes happens with parchment paper. In a pinch, you can use parchment paper but it is not my favorite option. 
  • Find a warm spot to proof the dough overnight. You want to make sure the dough is airy and doubled in size before moving forward.
  • Knead the dough until it passes the windowpane test. This ensures proper gluten development in the dough.
  • Use your sourdough starter at peak. Using a bubbly and active starter will set you up for success and help your dough to rise. 
sourdough bagels on a wire rack

How to store Sourdough Bagels

You can store these bagels on the counter in a plastic or paper bag for about two to three days. To store the bagels longer, you can freeze them for three to four months. You can either freeze them whole or sliced, and then add them to a freezer gallon bag. To defrost the bagels pop them in your toaster or oven on a low setting. 

More sourdough breakfast ideas:

Lemon Blueberry Sourdough Protein PancakesPacked with 10 grams of protein per pancake, they are sweet, citrusy, and a great high-protein option the whole family will love! 

Fluffy Sourdough Pancakes– A classic sourdough pancake that is delicious and fluffy.

Sourdough Breakfast Casserole – This casserole is packed full of vegetables, healthy fats, and protein. It is a great meal prep option or to feed a crowd!

Crunchy Sourdough Granola – This granola is so good on top of yogurt with fruit! It is crunchy and full of oats, nuts, and seeds, and naturally sweetened with maple syrup. 

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sourdough bagels on a wire rack

Sourdough Bagels

Yield: 12 Bagels
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Rise Time: 9 hours
Total Time: 9 hours 38 minutes

These Sourdough Bagels are chewy and so delicious! They are everything you love about bagels, but they are leavened with active sourdough starter for a natural rise, easier digestion and signature sourdough flavor.

Ingredients

  • 750g bread flour
  • 150g starter
  • 400g water
  • 15g sugar
  • 15g salt
  • Optional toppings
  • 1 Tbsp baking soda added to boiling water

Instructions

  1. Knead all ingredients together (except the baking soda) for about 20 mins in a stand mixer or by hand. Dough should be able to pass the windowpane test meaning when the dough is stretched out thin you can see light through without it tearing. The dough should feel soft and pliable.
  2. Transfer to a large bowl and let rise on the counter covered overnight until doubled in size. This will take about 8-10 hours depending on the temperature of your house.
  3. Once doubled punched down the dough and divide into 12 equal sections. I like to use a bench scraper for this.
  4. Taking one section at a time form each into a ball by pulling the sides to the middle of the dough and then flipping it over and with a hand in cupping shape rotate the dough ball a few times in a circle. Repeat with the remaining 11. 
  5. Poke a hole in the middle of the dough and then using both pointer fingers rotate your fingers around each other making a hole in the middle of the dough. 
  6. Place the bagels on a silicone baking mat (preferred method) or a lightly greased parchment paper.
  7. Cover with a slightly damp tea towel and let rise for another 30 mins to an hour to get puffy. 
  8. Boil water and then add 1T baking soda. Add a few bagels at a time boiling them for about 1 min each side. 
  9. Place back on the silicone baking mats and add seasonings and cheeses of choice to the tops.
  10. Bake at 425F for 18-20 mins until lightly browned 

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 230Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 487mgCarbohydrates: 47gFiber: 2gSugar: 1gProtein: 7g

The nutritional information provided is an estimate from third-party calculations.

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