Monday, 11 May 2015

Sourdough Bagels




When the weather is revolting, think driving rain and mad winds, I want to stay in my jammies and bake bagels. Then I want to toast those babies and slather them with butter and sit at the window thumbing my nose at the sky and stuffing hot buttered bagels into my bagel hole. I really don't care if I'm meant to be at the gym, attending meetings, mopping floors or grocery shopping... I really don't.

NOTE: I used Celia's recipe from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial without altering it very much at all. She is my sourdough guru.

Sourdough Bagels
slightly adapted from here
Makes 16 - 18

For the Dough:
450g active starter *See below
500g cold filtered water, a little more if needed
1100g baker's flour
20g fine sea salt
50g malt extract

For the Water Bath:
3 - 4 litres water
1 tablespoon malt extract
1 tablespoon fine sea salt

For Egg Wash:
1 egg whisked with 1 tablespoon water

For the Toppings:
Poppy seeds
Black sesame seeds
White sesame seeds
Everything topping: (1 teaspoon white sesame seeds, 1/2 teaspoon black sesame seeds, 1 teaspoon poppy seeds, 1/2 teaspoon dried onion flakes,  1/2 tablespoon sea salt flakes)

Prepare your Starter:
At 10am the day before you want to bake your bagels, put 1/2 cup of dormant starter into a bowl. Feed it with 1/2 cup baker's flour and 1/2 cup cold filtered water. Cover with plastic wrap and leave it at room temperature. At 1pm, feed it with 1/2 cup baker's flour and 1/2 cup cold filtered water. Cover with plastic wrap and leave it at room temperature. At 4pm, feed it with 1 cup baker's flour and 1 cup cold filtered water. Cover with plastic wrap and leave it at room temperature. By 8pm it should be bubbling like crazy and fluffy. Do a drop test by taking a small spoonful of starter and drop it into a cup of room temperature water. If it floats on the surface it's ready to use, if it sinks to the bottom of the cup it needs another feed. If it needs another feed, give it 1/4 cup baker's flour and 1/4 cup filtered water. Cover with plastic wrap and leave it at room temperature for another couple of hours. Perform another drop test. Don't attempt to make bagels with a sluggish starter, they will turn out like hockey pucks.

Make the Dough:
Measure out 450g of active starter and put it into a large mixing bowl. Add 500g water and the malt extract. Stir to combine. Add the flour and salt and get your hands into the bowl and mix until it forms a dough. You may need to add a little more water, but be aware that this dough should be a little stiffer than regular bread dough. Cover with plastic wrap and leave it at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Give the dough a quick knead in the bowl, a minute or so will do. Cover with plastic wrap and leave it at room temperature overnight.

The next morning, turn the risen dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide into 120g portions (I got 18 out of this batch). Roll each portion into a ball. Poke a hole into the centre of the balls with your finger then twirl the dough around both index fingers to create a doughnut shape.

Line three large baking trays with baking paper and sprinkle the paper with flour. Place the bagels on them, leaving enough room for them to spread during rising and baking. Cover with clean cloths and set them aside to rise and get puffy for about 1hr - 1 1/2 hrs.

Preheat the oven to 200C (fan-forced).

Boil the Bagels:
Put the the 3 - 4 litre of water into a large, wide pan (I use a wok). Bring to boil and then add the malt extract and salt. Once the extract and salt have dissolved, add the bagels in batches and boil them for 1 1/2 minutes, flip them using a slotted spoon, and boil on the other side for another 1 1/2 minutes.

Pat them dry with a clean tea towel and lay them back on the trays.

Top the Bagels:
Brush the tops with egg wash and sprinkle with desired toppings (or you can leave them plain).

Bake the Bagels:
Bake in batches for about 15 minutes, then turn the pans around and continue baking for a further 10 - 15 minutes, until bronze and beautiful. Leave to cool on wire racks while you bake the rest.


  1. Divine! Nice work. People line up for miles at our local farmer's market for these!

  2. Gorgeous baking...equally gorgeous photos. Love it!

  3. Oh bagels, it's a love story over here. I made some before but now, we have a new bagel shop in my neighbourhood and they are so amazing that I don't make it anymore. I should, because really, it's two different worlds the homemade and the bagel shop ones but they are still both good!!

    1. Nothing is quite the same as homemade, right?

  4. celia is my sourdough guru too - love seeing all your sourdough baking - I would really like to make sourdough bagels - these look beautiful

    1. Thanks Johanna. These are so worth the effort.

  5. I'm impressed. I've never made bagels. This is something I must try. And yes, when the weather is foul it's a very good time to be in the kitchen xx

    1. I use the awful weather as an excuse to turn the oven on.

  6. They look fantastic. I am saving this recipe as I have a sourdough starter which I will revive very soon so these are so on the list.

    1. I'm sure you'll love them. They are very addictive.

  7. This lovely post is reminding me that I haven't made bagels in years; nor eaten one in many months. I do the malt syrup bath too and it makes such a difference, doesn't it? I must get my sourdough started as asap.

    1. I think the malt syrup bath makes these truly authentic. Thanks for your lovely comment.

  8. Beautiful enough for any bakery shelf! These are stunning. Goodness me I appreciate a good bagel. Luckily there is a gluten free bagel company here in Brisbane :) Can't wait to try making these for Mum!