This easy sourdough bagels recipe makes the most delicious, chewy bagels you'll ever have!
Only a few ingredients and minimal steps are needed for this simple overnight recipe.
I'm so excited to share this bagel recipe with you guys! When I say it's the easiest sourdough bagel you'll ever make, I'm not exaggerating!
The topping choices are endless and you'll love the chewy texture and amazing sourdough flavor in every bite.
Making bagels has never been so easy, so let's get started!
Sample baking schedule
Before we dive into the details, let's look at a typical schedule for making these sourdough bagels.
For reference, the ambient temperature of my kitchen is 68°F (20°C). If your kitchen is colder, fermentation could take longer during each phase. If it's warmer, the phases will be shorter.
- 8 AM - Feed starter. (At 68°F my starter can be used in 8-12 hours)
- 8 PM - Mix bagel dough in stand mixer, cover and let sit at room temperature overnight.
- 7 AM - Divide bagel dough, shape and cover with tea towel.
- 7:30 AM - Prepare boiling water and preheat oven.
- 8 AM - Boil bagels, add toppings and bake.
If your kitchen is warmer than 70°F, the fermentation will be shorter than the example above. You will need to keep an eye on your starter and your dough to make sure it does not over-prove.
In warmer kitchens, the sourdough starter could be ready to bake with in as little as 4 hours.
Adjust the baking schedule to accommodate the ambient temperature of your kitchen. This can take some trial and error!
Step by step 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 the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together the starter, water, honey and salt with a spatula.
- Add the bread flour and use your hands to bring the ingredients together as best as possible. The dough will be very stiff.
- Place the dough hook on the mixer and mix the dough on the lowest speed for 6-7 minutes.
- Cover the bowl and let rest at room temperature for 8-12 hours or until doubled in size.
2. DIVIDE AND SHAPE
- Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and use a bench scraper to divide into 8 equal pieces.
- Roll each piece into a ball and use your thumb to poke a hole into the middle of each piece.
3. SECOND RISE
Arrange the bagels evenly on a parchment lined baking sheet, cover with a tea towel and let rest for 30-60 minutes or until puffy.
- While the bagel dough is rising, preheat your oven to 425°F (218°) and prepare a pot of boiling water, at least 3" deep, with 1 tablespoon of sugar added.
4. BOIL BAGELS
- Boil the bagels, a few at a time, for 2 minutes on each side and place them back onto the parchment paper.
5. ADD BAGEL TOPPINGS
- Let the bagels cool off enough to handle them and dip one side of each bagel in your choice of topping, or leave plain. Place back onto baking sheet.
Bake the bagels for 25 minutes or until golden brown on the outside.
Homemade bagel varieties
Try any of the following or a combination of them.
- sesame seeds
- Everything Bagel Seasoning
- poppy seeds
- salt - sprinkle on top, do not dip!
- shredded cheese
Best bagel toppings
My favorite way to enjoy these sesame seed sourdough bagels is toasted and then topped with cream cheese and a ripe tomato slice. Here are a few other options!
- avocado and eggs over easy
- bacon, egg and cheese
- sausage, egg and cheese
- peanut butter and jelly
- ham and cheddar
- pizza bagels
- peanut butter and banana
- bagel burgers
- ham or turkey sandwich
Tips for success
Why are bagels boiled before baking? Boiling the bagels quickly cooks the outside of the bagel which ensures that they hold their shape during baking.
Boiling also causes the starches to release and become gelatinous on the outside of the bagel. This sticky coating helps the toppings to stick before baking and gives the bagels that shiny, crispy exterior we all love.
Why do you add sugar to the water when boiling bagels? The sugar adds caramelization and crisp to the outside crust.
If you don't have a stand mixer, knead the dough by hand for about 10 minutes. The dough is very thick and requires a lot of elbow grease.
Don't have a kitchen scale to measure flour?
Use the scoop and level technique to measure your flour if you do not have a kitchen scale. To do this, use a spoon to fluff up the flour in the bag. Use a spoon to scoop the flour into a measuring cup until it is heaped on top. Take a butterknife and level off the top. This should give you the most accurate measurement for flour.
Because flour is measured by weight in these recipes, if the flour is scooped straight out of the bag with the measuring cup, there will be more flour than called for in the recipe.
Tips for baking in warm and/ or high humidity areas - When baking in high humidity and/or warmer areas, it's often a good practice to use less water and bake a little longer than the recipe calls for. Reduce the water by 50 grams in the initial mix and then slowly add the remaining water until you achieve the correct hydration level. You may need to bake the bagels a few minutes longer. This will take some trial and error!
How to store and freeze bagels
Store cooked bagels, covered, at room temperature for up to 1 week. Storing in the fridge is not recommended.
To freeze baked bagels, let cool completely. Wrap bagels individually in plastic wrap and place in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months.
To reheat bagels, let thaw on counter, if frozen. Cut in half and heat in toaster or toaster oven.
Other recipes you may like:
- einkorn sourdough bread
- slow cooker sourdough bread
- sourdough banana nut muffins
- sourdough banana bread
We really hope you enjoy this recipe. Let us know what you think in the comment section below!
Sourdough Bagels Recipe
Ingredients to make ½ cup (100 g) of Active Sourdough Starter
- 1 tablespoon (15 g) sourdough starter
- ⅓ cup + 1 tablespoon (50 g) all-purpose flour
- 3 ½ tablespoons (50 g) water
- 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
- 6 cups water
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- sesame seeds
- Everything Bagel Seasoning
- salt ( sprinkle on top, don't dip)
- poppy seeds
- shredded cheese
Feed Your Sourdough Starter
- 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. Stir until combined, loosely cover the jar and let the starter rise at room temperature. (The ingredients will create a total of 115 g active starter but, because some of it will stick to the sides of the jar during the transfer, we are making a little more than needed.) The sourdough starter is ready to use when it has doubled in size and there are plenty of bubbles on the surface and sides of the jar.
Make the Dough
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together the starter, water, honey and salt with a spatula. Add the bread flour and use your hands to bring the ingredients together as best as possible. The dough will be very stiff. Place the dough hook on the mixer and mix the dough on the lowest speed for 6-7 minutes. (Or 10 minutes by hand.) Cover the bowl and let rest at room temperature for 8-12 hours. (See notes for cinnamon raisin bagels.)
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. 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. Cover the dough with a towel and let rise for 30-60 minutes or until puffy.
- Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C) making sure that the oven rack in the center position. Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a large stockpot and add 1 tablespoon of sugar. Once the bagels have finished rising, boil them for 2 minutes on each side. (Only boil 3-4 at a time, making sure not to crowd the pot.)
- Use a mesh stainer to remove the bagels and let rest on the parchment paper until cool enough to handle. Once cool enough, dip one side into your choice of toppings and place back onto the parchment paper.
- Bake the bagels at 425°F (218°C) for 25-28 minutes or until golden brown.
- Cinnamon Raisin Bagels: Add 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon to the dry ingredients. After kneading the dough, add ¾ cups of raisins and knead them into the dough to distribute evenly.
- How to measure flour without a scale: Use a spoon to scoop the flour into a measuring cup until it is heaped on top. Take a butterknife and level off the top. This should give you the most accurate measurement for flour.
- Tips for baking in warm and/or high humidity areas: Reduce the water by 50 grams in the initial mix and then slowly add the remaining water until you achieve the correct hydration level. You may need to bake the bagels a few minutes longer. This will take some trial and error!
- To Store: Keep baked bagels covered, at room temperature for up to 1 week. Storing in the fridge is not recommended.
- To Freeze baked bagels: Let the bagels cool completely. Wrap bagels individually in plastic wrap and place in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months.
- To Reheat: Allow the bagels to thaw on counter, if frozen. Cut in half and heat in toaster or toaster oven.