toasted sourdough bagels with cream cheese
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Sourdough Bagels

Sourdough tang & bagel chewiness, together at last...yum!
Adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction
Prep Time2 hrs 10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time2 hrs 40 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Jewish
Keyword: Bagels, Bread, Sourdough, Yeast Bread
Servings: 8 bagels
Calories: 122kcal
Author: Tammy Spencer, Scotch & Scones

Special Equipment


For the Dough

  • 3/4 cup water (6 oz, 170g), warmed between 100-110°F (38-43°C)
  • 2 3/4 tsp instant or active dry yeast (8g)
  • 3 cups bread flour (13 oz, 370g), plus more for work surface and hands
  • 1 cup sourdough starter discard (8 oz, 227g), unfed, at room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar (19g), packed (either light or dark works)
  • 2 tsp salt (13g)
  • nonstick spray or 1 Tablespoon olive oil, for coating the bowl
  • 1 large egg white beaten with 1 Tablespoon water, for egg wash

For the Water Bath

  • 2 qts water
  • 1/4 cup honey (3 oz, 85g)


  • Prepare the Dough: Whisk the warm water and yeast together in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. Cover and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
  • Add the flour, sourdough starter discard, brown sugar, and salt. Beat on low speed for 2 minutes, then knead for 4-5 minutes.
  • Lightly grease a large bowl with oil or nonstick spray. Place the dough in the bowl, turning it to coat all sides in the oil. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel.  Allow the dough to rise at room temperature for 60-90 minutes or until double in size (inside the cool oven with the light on works well).
  • Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  • Shape the Bagels: Punch down the dough to release any air bubbles. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces, then shape each piece into a ball. Press your index finger through the center of each ball to make a hole about 1-1/2 to 2 inches in diameter. Loosely cover the shaped bagels with a kitchen towel and rest for a few minutes as you prepare the water bath.
  • Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C).
  • Prepare the Water Bath: Fill a 4 to 8 qt stock pot with 2 quarts of water and whisk in the honey. Bring water to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-high. Drop the bagels in, 2-4 at a time, making sure they have enough room to float around. Cook the bagels for 1 minute on each side (2 mins per side if you want a chewier bagel). Remove from pot and drain slightly. When cool enough to handle, gently reshape into bagel shape if needed.
  • Using a pastry brush, brush the egg wash on top and around the sides of each bagel. Dip in toppings, if desired. Place 4 bagels onto each lined baking sheet.
  • Bake the Bagels: Bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. You want the bagels to be a dark golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow bagels to cool on the baking sheets for 20 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Cover leftover bagels tightly and store at room temperature for a few days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Recipe Notes

Overnight Preparation: Prepare the dough through step 4, allowing the dough to rise overnight in the refrigerator. The slow rise gives the bagels wonderful flavor! In the morning, continue with step 5. I don't recommend shaping the bagels the night before as they may puff up too much overnight.
Freezing: Freeze baked bagels for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator or at room temperature, then warm to your liking. You can also freeze the bagel dough. After punching down the dough in step 6, wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap, then a layer of aluminum foil. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then punch the dough down again to release any air bubbles. Continue with the rest of step 6.
Bread Flour: Bagels require a high protein flour, so use bread flour if you can. You can make whole wheat bagels by replacing half of the bread flour with whole wheat flour
Bagel Varieties: The toppings are added after the egg wash in step 9
The ingredient amounts are for using 1 week's worth (1 cup or 8 oz) of Sourdough Starter Discard. If you're going to use more or less starter, adjust the flour and water measurements accordingly (generally, starter is equal parts flour and water by weight). Either way, you might need to add more flour to get right dough consistency (flour is well hydrated).
Don't skip the water bath and egg wash -- both provide an extra chewy and golden brown crust.
Nutrition Facts
Sourdough Bagels
Amount Per Serving
Calories 122
* Percent daily values are based on a 2,000 cal per day diet.
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