Sunday Morning Sourdough Bagels


Sourdough Bagels are the best.  And homemade makes them even more special.

I LOVE bagels. But not just any bagels- they need to be crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. You can use any kind of dough, but sourdough bagels fits the bill for me. But not just any old baked recipe- they need to be water-boiled bagels.

Making water-boiled sourdough bagels at home is easier than you think.  Following this simple recipe you can use your sourdough starter to make morning magic.  


Boiling bagels in sweetened water (you can use malt, honey, or syrup) for 30 seconds per side before baking gives the bagels a browned, crispy outside, and chewy interior.  I tried honey this time and they didn't brown up as much as I would have liked, so I need to either increase the honey to water ratio or try syrup next time.  You can order malt from King Arthur as well and that should work well.


Making bagels at home is easier than you may think!


I love Emilie Raffa's Sunday Morning Bagel recipe from "Artisan Sourdough Made Simple". It is quick to put together, allow to bulk rise overnight, then shape and bake in the morning.

I like to weigh my dough as I create each ball, to make sure the bagels are the same size for the most part.  

To shape the bagels after the rest, punch a hole in the center of the ball with your finger.  Then roll the dough arIt will puff up and shrink a bit, but that's ok.  That will make a good place to catch extra cream cheese :)



Here is the recipe for Easy Homemade sourdough Bagels from the Clever Carrot and link for easy printing!



150 g (3⁄4 cup) bubbly, active sourdough starter

250 g (1 cup plus 2 tsp) warm water (See Notes below for temperature range)

24 g (2 tbsp) granulated sugar
500 g (4 cups plus 2 tbsp) King Arthur bread flour

9 g (1 1⁄2 tsp) fine sea salt 

20 g (1 tbsp) honey
Cooking spray or oil, for coating 

Mixed seeds, such as poppy, sesame, fennel, flax and sun flower seeds or Everything Bagel Spice. 



  1. Make the Dough: In a large bowl, whisk the starter, water, and sugar together with a fork. Add the flour and salt. Combine to form a rough dough, then finish mixing by hand until no lumps of our remain. The dough will be very stiff and dry. Note: it’s important to use a large mixing bowl- this dough is strong and rises quite high. As a mixing alternative, use a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook; run on low speed for 5 to 6 minutes to combine and knead.
  2. Cover the dough with a very damp towel and let rest for 45 minutes to 1 hour. After the dough has rested, work the mass into a semi-smooth ball, about 15 to 20 seconds. 
  3. Bulk Rise: Cover the bowl with a lightly coated plastic wrap and let rise until double in size, about 10-12 hrs when the temperature is 68 F (20 C); 8 to 10 hours @ 70°F (21°C). Note: in the summer, rise the dough during the day. Once the dough is almost double in size, cover and chill the whole bowl overnight (it will continue to rise slightly in the fridge). Proceed using the cold dough the following day.
  4. Shape: Line a sheet pan with a nonstick silicone mat or parchment paper. If using parchment, lightly coat with cooking spray or oil to prevent sticking. 
  5. Remove the dough onto a non- floured work surface. Flatten the dough into a rectangle and divide into 8 equal pieces, about 115 g (4 oz) each. Gather the ends, flip the dough over, and roll each piece into a ball. Let the dough rest on your sheet pan for 10 to 15 minutes to relax the gluten. 
  6. Working with one ball of dough at a time, poke a hole straight through the center. Move your finger around in a circular motion to gently stretch the dough until the hole is about the size of a walnut. You can also lift up the dough, insert both index fingers through the center hole, and barrel roll to gently stretch the opening. When finished, place the dough back onto your sheet pan. It’s okay if the hole shrinks slightly. Repeat shaping the remaining dough. 
  7. Second Rise: Cover the dough with a damp towel and let rest for 15 to 20 minutes. The dough will puff up only slightly at this stage. 
  8. Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add the honey and whisk well to dissolve. Preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C). Add the seeds to a rimmed tray or shallow bowl. 
  9. Boil the bagels: Add 2 to 3 bagels into the pot and simmer for 30 seconds on each side for a thin crust. Note: if using cold dough from the fridge, the bagels might not float to the surface right away. Give them a nudge after 30 seconds or so and be patient. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bagels back the sheet pan you used earlier, placing them rounded side up.
  10. Once slightly cool but still wet, dip the rounded side of the bagels into the seeds to coat. Place back onto the sheet pan and finish boiling the rest of the bagels. 
  11. Bake: Bake the bagels for about 20 to 25 minutes. Flip them over to briefly cook the bottom side, about 1 to 2 minutes or less. When ready, your bagels will be puffed up, light golden brown, and feel light to the touch. Transfer to a wire rack to cool, but indulge yourself and eat one (or two) warm. 

The chewy texture of bagels is best enjoyed when made fresh. Store in a plastic bag at room temperature for up to 2 days. Bagels also freeze well; freeze them whole or sliced, covered in plastic wrap and a layer of foil, for up to 3 months. 


Don't forget- if your bagels are past prime for toasting and eating with cream cheese,  cut them into cubes and toast for croutons!


Let me know if you try these at home!

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