Sourdough Bagels

Once I made the mistake of leaving the city for more than a month (kidding, sort of) by studying abroad in Australia and I found myself with no good bagels anywhere. The store-bought ones were atrocious (not even boiled). I did finally find some good ones made by someone from Brooklyn, but that was months later and in a different city a whole flight away.

Anyway, now I have developed an amazing bagel recipe and I no longer have to worry about that. I also happen to like these bagels better than any bagels I can find here because the sourdough adds a depth to the flavor.

Sourdough Tips and Notes:

  • As with all my sourdough recipes the amount of sourdough you add is really flexible.
  • Generally the night before I make anything with sourdough I mix one cup flour and one cup cold water with the sourdough starter. I then pour the amount of sourdough starter that was in the jar before back into the jar. I cover it lightly with the lid and place a light covering over the bowl that has the sourdough discard I will use in recipes the next morning.


You won't find bagels this good anywhere. The sourdough deepens the flavor. The bagels are the right amount fluffy and chewy. While the process can take several hours up to a day if you choose to leave the bagels in the fridge overnight, the actual active work is surprisingly easy.


  • 1 cup sourdough discard
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 ¼ cup cold water
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 4½-5½ cups bread flour
  • Optional: Everything but the Bagel spice, raisins, or other toppings of your choice

For Boiling

  • 2 tablespoons baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar


  • Prior to making the bagels feed your starter with equal parts cold water and flour. It should be bubbly when you begin making the bagels.
  • Using a fork whisk the sourdough, yeast, salt, water, and maple syrup in the bowl of your stand mixer.
  • Once combined transition to the dough hook. Add the flour one cup at a time while mixing on medium speed. Continue adding flour until the dough holds together and is no longer sticky. If you do not know how to recognize this shoot for about 5 cups of flour.
  • Either using the dough hook or by hand continue kneading until the dough is pliable, around 5 minutes. The dough should be shaped like a ball.
  • Cover the bowl and allow the dough to rise for around 30 minutes.
  • Split the dough into the number of pieces of bagels you want. This can make anywhere from 8 larger bagels to 12 smaller bagels well. Personally I make 12 smaller bagels. Allow the balls to rest another 20 minutes.
  • Prepare a baking sheet or two with parchemnt paper and flour.
  • Stick your thumb through the middle of each ball of dough rolling the dough up your thumb to form a hole in the middle. If you want a larger hole use your fingers to stretch the hole.
  • Place each bagel on the baking sheet(s) as you go. Once all the bagels are on the sheets, cover. Allow your bagels to rise for 3-5 hours at room temperature. They should be very puffy. Test a bagel to see if it is properly "proofed" by placing in cold water. If it floats, it is done proofing. If not, allow it to continue rising.
  • At this point you have two options: you can immediately move to the next step if you want your bagels sooner. Alternatively, for a deeper flavor, cover the dough and leave it in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours. When you are ready to proceed, remove it from the refrigerator and allow the bagels to rise for an additional 20-30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 400°.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add the baking soda and brown sugar and allow the water to return to a boil.
  • Gently bagels in the water. Boil on each side for 2-3 minutes. Flip. Once cooked on both sides, remove with a slotted spoon or spatula, shake off any extra water, and place on the baking sheet. At this point add any desired toppings such as Everything but the Bagel. Continue with the remainng bagels.
  • Bake the bagels for 15-20 minutes. Switch your oven to broil for the final minute.
  • Allow the bagels to cool before serving.


If you want to make cinnamon raisin bagels add 3/4 cups raisins, 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon, and 3 tablespoons brown sugar after adding the flour, during kneading. If you want to make some cinnamon raisin add smaller amounts later in the stage where you form small balls. 
If you want the bagels more golden on the outside you can brush on an egg wash prior to topping. The bagels pictured did not have an egg wash, but you can do so if you desire. 

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