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Sunday, July 19, 2020

Sourdough Bagels

This is a simple recipe for delicious sourdough bagels you can make in just a few hours, and an overnight ferment is totally optional. Make the timing fit into your schedule. Even though a few hours sounds like a lot of work, in reality, it only involves about an hour of actual work. The rest of the time is just letting the dough rest until its ready for the next step. This is the perfect way to spend a morning or afternoon making bagels while still having time to tend to other activities.

Yield: 8 Bagels
Total Time: 6-8 hours + cold ferment (Depends on long the dough needs to proof and if you want an overnight cold ferment.)

  • 100 grams of sourdough starter at 100% hydration (The starter should be recently fed, within the past few days, and it can be used cold from the refrigerator)
  • 250 grams warm water (not hot, or it will kill the yeast) 
  • 25 grams of sugar or honey
  • 350 grams of bread flour
  • 100 grams of whole wheat flour
  • 10 grams of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of molasses or pure sugar cane syrup (for boiling)
Optional if adding toppings:
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon of water
See below for add-in ideas and steps.*

  • Mix the starter, water, and sugar, or honey in a large bowl. Cover and allow the mixture to bubble up then let it rest for 20 minutes.
  • Add the bread flour, whole wheat flour, and salt to the starter mixture and mix until everything is incorporated. Shape the dough into a rough ball. The dough will be very stiff. Cover the dough with a damp towel or plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes before the first stretch and fold.
  • Stretch and fold the dough every 30 minutes for a total of 2 hours. (See this video to learn how to stretch and fold the dough.)
  • Cover the dough with a damp towel or plastic wrap and let it rise until doubled in size. In my tropical climate, it only takes a couple of hours. It can take as much as 4 to 6 hours to double. 

  • Remove the dough from the bowl to a lightly floured work surface.
  • Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces (about 100 to 105 grams each). Shape the dough pieces into smooth balls. Let them rest for 20 minutes on the work surface, covered with a damp towel or plastic wrap.
  • Using your thumb or index finger, poke a hole through the center of each ball, then gently twirl the dough on your finger to stretch the hole about 1½ to 2 inches in diameter (each bagel will be about 3" in diameter). Place each of the bagels on a Silpat lined (or lightly oiled) baking sheet.
  • Cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. You can leave them up to 36 hours if you want. According to the baking master and educator, Peter Reinhart, and his recipe for New York Style Bagels with Sourdough. He says, "Once bagels are ready, place them, still covered with plastic or damp cloth, in the refrigerator and leave overnight or up to 36 hours. Do not skip the refrigeration step: it is necessary for flavor and texture development." I have successfully baked the bagels after a 15-hour cold ferment in the refrigerator and they were perfect.
  • Arrange a cooling rack over a baking sheet. Line a second baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Preheat oven to 425°F/220°C and bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil with the molasses or sugar cane syrup.
  • Boil the bagels, 3 or 4 at a time, for 1½ minutes on the first side. Then flip them over and boil for an additional minute.
    Transfer to the cooling rack set over a baking sheet and repeat with remaining bagels.
  • If you want to add toppings, do so while the tops of the bagels are still damp. Mix one egg white with a tablespoon of water and gently brush the tops of the boiled bagels with the egg-white wash. Then sprinkle on the toppings of your choice. Consider sesame seeds, poppy seeds, flaked salt, ET, etc.  Here is a link to my ET (Everything but the) Bagel topping
  • Transfer the bagels to the parchment-lined baking sheet and bake the bagels for 20-25 minutes until they turn a deep golden brown.  
  • Remove the bagels to a cooling rack and allow them to cool completely before slicing.
* Bagel Add-in Ideas and Steps
  • Jalapeño Cheddar Bagels
      • Important note: Wear gloves to chop Jalapeño peppers, for the stretch and folds, and for the dough shaping.  
    • 3 medium jalapeño peppers, de-seeded and diced.
    • 115 grams (4 ounces) sharp cheddar cheese, grated, divided in half.
    • Prepare the dough as indicated above.
    • Gently fold in the diced jalapeños and ½ of the cheddar cheese into the dough during the first stretch and fold.
    • Continue with the remaining instructions above.
    • Add the reserved cheddar cheese to the tops of bagels during the last 10 minutes of baking.
  • Cinnamon Raisin Bagels
    • Add 6 grams (2 teaspoons) of ground cinnamon to the dry ingredients. 
    • Prepare the dough as indicated above.
    • While the dough is resting, soak 80 grams (½ cup) of raisins in warm water. 
    • Drain the water from raisins and knead them gently into the dough during the first stretch and fold.
    • Continue with the remaining instructions above. 
  • Onion Bagels
    • Add 1/3 cup chopped dehydrated onion to the starter, water, and sugar (or honey) in the first step.
    • Continue with the remaining instructions above. 
  • Asiago Cheese Bagels
    • 170 grams (6 ounces) asiago cheese, grated and divided in half.
    • Gently fold in half of the grated asiago cheese during the first stretch and fold.
    • Continue with the remaining instructions above.
    • Add the reserved asiago cheese to the tops of bagels during the last 10 minutes of baking.

Note: Bagels will keep for about 5 days in a plastic bag, or freeze them for up to 3 months. If you pre-slice, before freezing, they don't have to be completely thawed before toasting.

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