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Homemade Sourdough Bagels

Sourdough Bagels

Mornings Never Tasted so Good!

There’s nothing like a fresh, hot bagel slathered in cream cheese. Remember when we made homemade cream cheese? Or rather, let the cream cheese make itself? Yeah, that was easy, and so yummy! But I’ve never tasted a store bought bagel as good as these homemade sourdough bagels.

Are you hungry yet? I have such fond memories of my college days, frequenting the local bakery before classes and getting a fresh, hot bagel smothered with cream cheese.

Fond memories or not, I know if I ate those now, my tummy wouldn’t be happy about it. Wanting a better alternative to those dense and chewy circles of joy, I turned to my trusty sourdough starter, Seymore – ya’ll know my deep love for sourdough! I knew there had to be a way to join these two loves together in marital bliss. Because sourdough bagels and cream cheese will live happily ever after in holy matrimony!

If you’re new to sourdough, start here. If your kitchen pet is growing like crazy and you’re continually looking for delicious ways to bake up something special, then gather your supplies and ingredients and lets get started.

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Homemade Sourdough Bagels Recipe

Sourdough Bagels


  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30-40 minutes
  • Total Time: 6+ hours
  • Yield: 1 dozen bagels
  • Category: Sourdough Bread

Description

Chewy, soft circles of joy with endless flavoring options.


Ingredients

  • 2 cups sourdough starter
  • 1 1/4 cup filtered water
  • 1 Tbs. avocado oil
  • 5 1/2-6 cups flour
  • 1 Tbs sea salt
  • 1 Tbs baking soda (for boiling)
  • 1 egg + 1 Tbs water (for glazing)

Instructions

  1. Using a dough hook in your stand mixer, combine sourdough starter, water, oil, flour and salt and let mix for about 30 seconds. Let sit for 10 minutes to allow the flour to absorb the liquid.
  2. Turn mixer on low and let it do it’s thing for 4 more minutes. Your dough will be very dense and it may seem like your mixer is struggling.
  3. Allow dough to rest in a greased bowl, covered with plastic wrap or a damp towel for 4 hours. (I ran out of time the day I let my dough rise, so I stuck it in the fridge to halt the souring process, the next day I allowed the dough to return to room temperature before continuing to step 4.)
  4. Remove dough and turn out onto a lightly floured surface (Jami’s tip of using a lightly floured tea towel worked like a charm!). Divide the dough into 12 equal portions (a knife or pizza cutter work well for this step).
  5. Roll each portion into a ball, then pinch through the center with your thumb. Gently stretch the dough into a bagel shape. I found over stretching them was important as the dough tends to want to shrink back. I aimed to have a hole about the size of a 50 cent piece.
  6. Cover the bagels with a damp tea towel and let rest for one hour.
  7. Bring a large pot 2/3 full with water to a rolling boil and add 1 tablespoon baking soda. Preheat the oven to 450℉.
  8. Drop as many bagels as will fit into boiling water and cook for 30 seconds, flip each bagel and cook for 30 more seconds. Remove bagels to parchment lined baking sheet. Continue step 8 until all bagels have been boiled.
  9. Brush the bagels with egg wash and top with desired topping, or a combination of toppings (see our favorites below).
  10. Place bagels in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until bagels are cooked through and no longer doughy (you may need to rotate the pan halfway through baking).

Notes

Topping Options: Cinnamon & Sugar; Cinnamon & Raisin (mix the raisins into the batter); Dried Onion; Poppyseeds; Jalapenos & Cheese; Sesame Seeds; Blueberry (mix them into the batter)the sky’s the limit!

  • This recipe comes from Jami over at An Oregon Cottage, and although I’ve made a few adaptions, the basic recipe is hers. This recipe makes one dozen bagels.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 bagel
  • Calories: 237
  • Sugar: 0.2g
  • Sodium: 583mg
  • Fat: 1.7g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.3g
  • Carbohydrates: 47.7g
  • Fiber: 1,7g
  • Protein: 6.5g
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This recipe is featured in our Sourdough eBook! If you love easy and delicious sourdough recipes (including gluten-free options!)click here!

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Did you try this recipe?

Let us know in the comments if you tried this recipe and tell us what your favorite flavoring options are! And if you love sourdough as much as we do, then share this recipe with your friends on social media! It really helps us out!

Showing 56 comments
  • Johnna
    Reply

    These were beautiful when baked–I used a mixture of black and white sesame seeds, but I thought mine were a little blah tasting. I fed my dormant started for about a day and a half. One cup flour to 1/2 cup water each 12 hour feeding. Am I doing something wrong or am I just expecting it to be more sour than it should be? I am a newby.

    • Kelsey Steffen
      Kelsey Steffen
      Reply

      It doesn’t sound like you’re doing anything wrong Johnna. And welcome to the world of sourdough! 🙂 You’re not alone in your search for a more “sour” finished product. In order to get that sour flavor, you’ll need an extremely long soak (fermentation) time, which usually means doing a bulk fermentation in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours, then bringing back to room temperature to continue fermenting before baking. For me, this is more work/time than I’m willing to do, just for the sour flavor, and I haven’t found a bagel recipe that calls for this kind of fermenting time. We’re just into sourdough for the gut health, not necessarily the sour flavor, so we stick to the simple, everyday recipes that work for our family! I hope you find a recipe that’s more to your liking! And if you find a recipe for an extra sour sourdough bagel, come back and drop the link in the comments, I’m sure others will appreciate it! Happy baking!

  • Koty
    Reply

    These are amazing ! Followed the recipe and everything was perfect! I added fresh thyme and Parmesan cheese

    • Kelsey Steffen
      Kelsey Steffen
      Reply

      YUM! Sounds like an awesome flavor combination Koty! Glad you enjoyed them!

  • Bobbi Jo
    Reply

    I’m not sure what I am doing wrong. My bagels are hard to pick-up off my silpat which is what I let them rest on before boiling. Am I not putting enough flour in when I make the dough?

    • Kelsey Steffen
      Kelsey Steffen
      Reply

      Oh no! I’m sorry to hear your bagels are sticking Bobbi Jo. It could be that your dough is too sticky/wet, but it also may be that the dough doesn’t want to let go of the silpat (I haven’t tried using one to make bagels)? When working with the dough to form the bagels, it shouldn’t stick to your hands at all. If it’s even the littlest bit sticky, it’s too dry. And try laying your bagels on parchment paper, that’s what we use without problems. You could also try using a spatula to help lift them, but if they’re falling apart when you lift them up, they may not hold up well in the boiling water either. Hope this helps and that your next batch turns out fantastic!

      • Bobbi Jo
        Reply

        Thanks for getting back to me. I think the problem is my dough is too sticky/wet. I do have a problem with the dough sticking to my hands when making them. I did try the parchment paper and it was even worse. They do boil up ok, they just don’t have a hole in the middle. Looks more like a roll than a bagel. They do taste good though. Just want them to look like a bagel. Do I just add more flour than it calls for in the recipe or us less water. I do use the whole 6 cups of flour.

        • Kelsey Steffen
          Kelsey Steffen
          Reply

          Funny enough, I just made more bagels today! Your dough shouldn’t stick to your hands at all. My dough is dry enough that I have a hard time getting it to stick into a ball when rolling each bagel. You can either add more flour, or use less water, or a combination of both. Before you let the dough sit for 4 hours it should be VERY stiff and dry (not wanting to stick to your hands at all). If you’ve made our sourdough bread recipe, it’ll be even dryer than that. The measurements will vary based on the hydration level of your sourdough starter. I keep my starter at 100% hydration. It’s like biscuit dough when I’m feeding it and like waffle batter when it’s active and ready to use. Hope your next batch looks like bagels! Oh, and you can always try stretching the hole larger when forming your bagels if they’re wanting to close back up! I make mine like a silver dollar or 50 cent piece in size (sometimes larger!).

          • Bobbi Jo

            I finally got everything figured out and everyone loves my bagels. I’m wanting to make some cinnamon raisin ones and was wondering when do I put the cinnamon and raisins in and how much do I use of each one. Also, my bagels split on top when I bake them. Is it something I’m doing wrong. I brush them with milk then put ground Himalayan pink salt on top.

          • Kelsey Steffen
            Kelsey Steffen

            YAY! So glad your bagels turned out Bobbi Jo! They’re hard to resist, aren’t they? For cinnamon raisin bagels you’ll want to add those ingredients in at the end of the mixing, just before your dough rests for 4 hours. The amount is purely preferential. There’s no magic number for this…however I wouldn’t go too heavy on the raisins or it may affect the bagels ability to hold together when boiling. As for the splitting on top, only occasionally have we had this happen and I have a feeling it’s when I rush the rising time after having formed the bagels. However, we don’t brush ours with milk or salt them…we only use an egg wash (and sometimes top with other goodies). Try letting them rise just a bit longer and see if that helps at all? You could also try letting them boil just a little bit longer before baking. The more times you do it, you’ll start to figure out what your starter prefers and what works for your climate/oven! If you make the cinnamon raisin, be sure to post a pic to our facebook page! 🙂

  • Emily
    Reply

    These were great! The first time I made them the dough was too wet/soft and the bagels had a hard time holding their round shape-but still tasted great. The second time I added more flour for a very firm dough and then bagels turned out perfect! I added dried chopped onions for an onion bagel. Super great! Thanks!

    • Kelsey Steffen
      Kelsey Steffen
      Reply

      I’m so glad you gave them a second try Emily! The hard part about sourdough recipes is they’re so dependent on the hydration of each person’s sourdough starter! So the measurements that work for mine may differ…I think I’ll adjust this recipe to explain that! That’s why I try to do lots of pictures to show the consistency of the dough. Chopped onions sound SO YUMMY! I love onion bagels! Did you add the onions in the dough, or just as a topping? Both would be good, too! Can you have too many onions? 😉

  • Kathy Keeley
    Reply

    Is there a substitute for the avocado oil or is that a must? Just checking before I go get some! Thank you!

    • Kelsey Steffen
      Kelsey Steffen
      Reply

      Hi Kathy! Avocado oil isn’t a must, coconut oil, olive oil or other cooking oils will work just fine!

    • Kathy Keeley
      Reply

      Thank you Kelsey! I was reading your article on oil and decided to give the avocado oil a try! They were a little dense but not bad for a first try. I used 5 cups of whole wheat flour. Did you have a flour you recommend? If I stick with the whole wheat, next time I may use less and see if that helps.

      • Kelsey Steffen
        Kelsey Steffen
        Reply

        Hey Kathy, I use organic, unbleached white flour for our bagels. It’s what I’m currently feeding my sourdough starter with, too. It does make lighter bagels than whole wheat. You could always do a 50/50 mix of the flours to lighten it up a bit!

  • Dawn
    Reply

    Should I put an egg wash in bagels that are meant to be plain or that already have mix-ins rather than toppings?

    • Dawn
      Reply

      Of course, I’m asking as the dough is in its final hour of rest time. Nothing like thinking ahead 😜

      • Kelsey Steffen
        Kelsey Steffen
        Reply

        Haha! Hopefully I got back to you in time! 😉

    • Kelsey Steffen
      Kelsey Steffen
      Reply

      That’s up to you, Dawn! I would because the egg wash gives the bagels a nice sheen that just looks pretty! But, since you’re not adding anything on top that needs to stick, it’s not necessary. Enjoy! 🙂

  • Jennifer
    Reply

    My husband is allergic to most strands of yeast. It is a very uncommon allergy according to his doctors and there is no treatment but to not eat it or be near it because even airborne can cause him to have huge rashes. However, I did a lot of research and we decided to try a from scratch sourdough starter. He had no reaction to the starter so we decided to move forward with making something. So I found your recipe after one failed attempt with another recipe that just disintegrated in the boiling water. I want to thank you, because my husband has been unable to eat any type of bread with yeast in it…ie everything but tortillas…for over 10 years. He cried…and not just a little swelling of the eyes, but a full on ugly cry. Thank you for inspiring me to try again. It may just be bread, but my husband is so very greatful I found your site. We will definitely be using it for many times to come.

    • Kelsey Steffen
      Kelsey Steffen
      Reply

      Wow Jennifer! That’s so great he can tolerate sourdough. I’m glad the bagels were a success. We love sourdough everything, so be sure to check out our other recipes! 🙂

  • Morgan Hayward
    Reply

    Just made these. So very good! I left my dough out on the counter overnight, rather than 4 hours. They may have been a little flatter than if I’d done it properly, but they were still so yummy. Crisp crust and chewy interior. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Kelsey Steffen
      Kelsey Steffen
      Reply

      Awesome Morgan! You can also let your dough rest out on the counter for a bit, then stick it in the fridge overnight and bring it back to room temp before proceeding to the next step! I’ve successfully done that before, too! Glad you liked them! Curious how you flavored yours?

  • Rachelle Dueck
    Reply

    Made these yesterday and they tasted great, but when I put them into the boiling water they kind of flattened. Any suggestions about what might have gone wrong? Thanks!

    • Kelsey Steffen
      Kelsey Steffen
      Reply

      Oh no, what a bummer Rachelle! Glad they tasted great, but a flat bagel is a drag. When it comes to sourdough there can be so many factors. Did you remember to add the baking soda to the water? How long did you let the bagels rise? How recently had you fed your sourdough starter? How humid was the air? Were you super gentle while picking the bagels up to put in the water? Etc. Without watching your entire process it’s hard to troubleshoot. But if you loved the taste and are willing to give it another shot, I’d say go for it and hopefully the next batch will turn out better! I’ve had many “failed” loaves of sourdough bread and other sourdough recipes, and each “fail” was usually for different reasons. BUT, the best part about sourdough is that even the “failures” usually taste delicious! 😉 Best of luck on your next attempt!

  • Jen
    Reply

    Made these today. I added a tablespoon non-diastic malt and a tablespoon pure maple sugar to the dough. Similarly, boiled in water with 4 tablespoon malt, 2 maple sugar. They came out perfectly. Thanks for sharing your recipe!

    • Kelsey Steffen
      Kelsey Steffen
      Reply

      Awesome Jen! If you want to snap a picture and share it to our Facebook page that would be awesome! We LOVE IT when people take our recipes and make them their own! Great tips on the maple sugar and malt syrup! I’ll have to try it this way sometime! 🙂

  • Pam
    Reply

    What is the easiest and safest way to start a sour dough starter. I have been reluctant to start one as I cannot smell and I am afraid I might mess it up or worse sicken my family. I’ve looked at different ones and see too many variables. I need one from a bread maker preferably. I make bread all the time so that part I’ve got down real well. Just need a starter. Thank you to anyone who can help me get started.

    • Kelsey Steffen
      Kelsey Steffen
      Reply

      It’d be my recommendation to find a local baker who is willing to sell you a cup. Once you have an active starter, with regular feedings, it’s hard to mess up! We’ve also purchased this starter culture and had great success! Best of luck!

      • Darcy Soard
        Reply

        Hey Kelsey. Where are you located? There might be someone local who would share their starter with you… I’m in East Tennessee

        • Kelsey Steffen
          Kelsey Steffen
          Reply

          YES! Sourdough buddies are amazing Darcy! We have a great “sourdough community” as more and more people fall in love with sourdough! It’s always great to have friends who will gift you starter when needed! We also have a local bakery who will sell me a cup if ever needed! Thanks for sharing that tip!

  • Jeanie
    Reply

    New to sourdough, but not to bread making. Is it necessary to have the mixer or can this be done by hand?

    • Jason Steffen
      Jason Steffen
      Reply

      Hi Jeanie…not at all! You’re welcome to mix this by hand! Consider it “arm day”! You’ll just want to make sure you knead it enough that you get a smooth, elastic consistency! Please let us know how it turns out!

  • Laura
    Reply

    In the process right now of letting dough rest for 4 hours, can’t wait to try the bagels.

    • Kelsey Steffen
      Kelsey Steffen
      Reply

      Awesome! Let us know how they turn out!

  • Emily
    Reply

    Is the sourdough starter listed in this recipe “active” starter or “dormant” starter?

    • Kelsey Steffen
      Kelsey Steffen
      Reply

      Great question Emily! It should be ACTIVE sourdough starter (fed within 4-12 hours). Best of luck!

  • Theresa
    Reply

    I made these and sorry to say we ate a dozen bagels in 2 days! They are the best! Better than any local bakery around me. Even my friend’s very picky little boy devoured one and asked for more. I made a slight change. I used unfed sourdough starter so added 1.5 tsp yeast. They rose perfectly.

    • Kelsey Steffen
      Kelsey Steffen
      Reply

      That’s awesome Theresa! Thanks for the feedback on the yeast, great tip for those “neglected starter” days! 😉 They’re the best, hot out of the oven…now you have me wanting to make another batch!

  • Carol Little R.H.
    Reply

    These look delicious! Love that there are so many variations possible. All yummy, I bet.

    • Kelsey Steffen
      Kelsey Steffen
      Reply

      Thanks Carol! All SO yummy!

  • Megan Stevens
    Reply

    Wow,so impressive and yummy. Love all those photos!

    • Kelsey Steffen
      Kelsey Steffen
      Reply

      Thanks Megan! I’m a visual learner…hence the photos! 😉

  • Elaina
    Reply

    I wish you could come over and make a batch for me right now! I used to work at a bagel shop in my late teens/early 20s and ate sooooooo many bagels back then, yet I’ve never had a sourdough one, which I’m sure my belly would love.

    • Kelsey Steffen
      Kelsey Steffen
      Reply

      I think bagels are a typical college staple! But yes, these sourdough bagels are a lot better for our tummies! And amazingly, taste better than the bagel shops (well, in my opinion anyway!).

  • Reply

    Wow! These look amazing!!! I have never made bagels before, but I can imagine they are so good hot and fresh out of the oven. YUM!

    • Kelsey Steffen
      Kelsey Steffen
      Reply

      YES! That’s when they’re the absolute best…but they’re also so great toasted!

  • linda spiker
    Reply

    These looks fabulous. You make me want to get the butter!

    • Kelsey Steffen
      Kelsey Steffen
      Reply

      Right? There’s not much better than a hot bagel slathered with butter!

  • The Food Hunter
    Reply

    Bagels are fun to make and eat.

    • Kelsey Steffen
      Kelsey Steffen
      Reply

      They really are! 🙂

  • Anna@GreenTalk
    Reply

    That is so cool. I want to try this.

    • Kelsey Steffen
      Kelsey Steffen
      Reply

      Let us know how they turn out if you do Anna! 🙂

  • Raia Todd
    Reply

    Those look absolutely delicious. My family is going to love these!

    • Kelsey Steffen
      Kelsey Steffen
      Reply

      Thanks Raia! They’re a hit with family and company!

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