Project Sourdough: Sourdough Bagels

I have the starter, so I figured, why not try bagels? How hard can it be?

I mixed the dough the day before, then stuck it in the fridge while I went to work. I took it out of the fridge the next morning to let the rising process commence. I let it rise twice, punching it down when it reached around double its original size. Punching dough is highly theraputic.

Sourdough Bagels - Punch

After the second punch, I kneaded the dough on a floured surface until it was smooth again. Then I divided it up into pieces and made bagel shapes. There are two ways to make them — roll out a long snake and connect the ends, or create a flat disc and poke a hole in the middle, then manhandling it until it’s the right shape and size. I tried both methods, and there was really no difference in the end product.

Sourdough Bagels - Knead

The key to bagels (and soft pretzels as well) is to boil the dough. This recipe calls for a 3-minute boil for each bagel.

Sourdough Bagels - Boiling

After they’re done boiling, they’re kind of pale and sticky and slimy. Not the most appealing thing in the world.

Sourdough Bagels - Boiled!

But after they’re baked, that slimy exterior turns into a great crust. And the inside was dense and chewy and delicious, with just enough sourdough flavor.

Sourdough Bagels - Finished Product


1 cup sourdough starter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup warm water
1 tsp. salt
2-1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour.

Mix ingredients, knead, roll into a ball and put in an oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap.

Allow dough to rise twice, punching down after each rise.

Remove from bowl, knead lightly, divide into 4-8 pieces (depending on whether you want regular sized bagels or mini-bagels). Form dough into rings by either rolling out a snake of dough and connecting the ends (pressing and rolling the ends together to seal well) or pulling dough into a disc and poking a hole in the center.

Boil bagels in a large pan of boiling water for 3 minutes each.

Bake at 450° for 15-20 minutes, until bagels are golden brown.

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