To get started on your sourdough bagels you will first need to make your “starter” a few days ahead of time if you don't already have one...don’t worry, you only need to do this once as your new friend should live on as long as you take good care of them. Please note that while there are many different ways to make sourdough bagels, this recipe works best with 12.5% bread flour...I use King Arthur and it has always turned out great. Please note that it is also ideal to have a kitchen scale and mason style glass jar with a lid for starter storing. If you are wondering, you can use your previous starter from your sourdough bread for any of my sourdough recipes.
Quick note before we get started...this recipe will feel very long, detailed and to be honest like way too much work for a batch of bagels. But I promise you, it is very simple once you go through the process once or twice and the taste alone will have you wanting to bake another loaf.
Ingredients for the starter:
- Bread flour - Water (distilled or spring is best)
To make your starter: Fill a small bowl about halfway with warm water, add a big handful of flour and mix together until the batter becomes thick with no clumps. Cover the bowl with saran wrap and let sit on the counter out of direct sunlight for about 2-3 days. After a few days you should expect your starter to be bubbly and possibly have a crust on top. Gently pull the crust back and add 10 grams of the mixture to a glass jar and discard the rest. Next add 50 grams of room temperature water (I keep a bottle of spring water in the pantry) and 50 grams of bread flour to the mixture and mix well scraping down the sides of the jar and protect with the lid on. This is your new friend, your starter, so make sure to give them a name! Each day you will “feed” your starter by removing and adding. You will notice every day that your starter has grown and can get quite bubbly...this is good and means they are hungry. It is best to feed it around the same time each day but that is not always necessary.
Each day you will remove about 90% of your starter leaving 10 grams and then add 50 grams of room temperature water and 50 grams of bread flour and mix together well.
Please note- I like to add the water before the flour as I feel it is easier to mix and the flour doesn’t stick to the bottom as much. I would recommend feeding your starter for a good week before you decide to bake a loaf of bread so it has time to get adjusted. It is also very important to stick with the same brand/type of flour or your starter may get very, very sick.
Ingredients for the bagels:
- 150 grams bubbly active starter
- 250 grams warm water
- 24 grams sugar
- 500 grams bread flour
- 9 grams fine sea salt
- 20 grams honey
- Any toppings such as seeds or mix-ins such as raisins/sun dried tomatoes as preferred
There will be a little bit of prep the day before you bake so make sure to plan accordingly. Right before bed (the day prior to baking) take about 2 spoonful's of your starter (right before feeding it for the day or 10-12 hours after feeding) and add to a medium size (preferably glass) bowl and add the water and sugar whisking together with a fork. Then add the flour and salt. Combine to form a rough dough making sure to fully incorporate the flour. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let rest 45-60 minutes. Once the dough has rested, rework the dough ball into a semi-smooth ball for about 15-20 seconds. Recover the bowl with a damp towel and let sit at room temperature (roughly 70 degrees give or take) for about 8-10 hours until it has doubled in size.
When you wake your dough should be twice its size and ready for shaping. Start by lining a sheet pan with parchment paper. Remove your dough onto a non-floured work surface. Flatten the dough into a rectangle shape and divide into 8 equal pieces (roughly 100-115 grams per chunk). Gather the ends of each piece, flip the dough over, roll each piece into a ball and add back to the baking sheet. Once all ball are back on the sheet let rest for 10-15 minutes uncovered to let the gluten relax.
Now is time for hole poking and more shaping! With your finger, push down in the center of each ball, allowing your finger to pierce through. Lift up dough, insert both fingers through the center and gently shape slightly stretching the opening to about the size of a quarter and place back on the baking sheet. It is ok if the holes shrink back a tad. Once all dough has been shaped, cover once again with a damp towel and let rest for another 15-20 minutes. The dough will slightly puff up during this stage but not much.
While your dough is making it's final rest, preheat oven to 425 degrees and bring a medium pot of water to a boil adding the honey to dissolve. If coating with seeds, get those ready in a small shallow bowl.
Once your pot of water has started to boil, add 2-3 bagels at one time. Some may float right away, others may take up to 10 seconds to start floating. Once bagels are floating, let boil for 30 seconds, then flip and boil for another 30 seconds on the other side. Remove from the boiled water with a slotted spoon and add back to the baking sheet rounded side up. If coating with seeds, make sure to do so while the bagel is still damp/wet but not too hot.
Once all bagels have been boiled and added back to the parchment lined baking sheet, they are now ready to bake. Bake the bagels for about 22 minutes until the tops start to become lightly golden brown. Then flip the bagels over briefly to bake for another 2-3 minutes. Once finished baking, transfer to a wire cooking rack and make sure to enjoy one fresh while its still warm!
These bagels will store in an air tight container for about 2 days. It is recommended to freeze any uneaten bagels (best to slice first) wrapped in plastic wrap and then foil wrapped which will store for up to 3 months.
Note: Feel free to experiment with adding seasoning, raisins or even sun dried tomatoes to your dough for more bagel varieties. The best time to add any fillings to the bagel will be during the beginning mix the night before baking.
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