Sourdough bagels are the latest obsession in our household. I tend to get crushes on certain types of bread-making, and then my housemates have to eat that thing for weeks. Recently, it was rye bread that had my heart (recipe coming soon – but the thought of eating rye bread now makes me feel quite ill).
Bagels lend themselves so well to sourdough baking. Whilst it can be hard to achieve light, soft, fluffy baked goods with sourdough, bagels are a very stiff dough that yield a dense and chewy product – made for sourdough, if you ask me!
There seem to be two approaches when it comes to bagel shaping. You can either roll the bits of dough out into thin logs, loop them, and roll the seam on the bench to seal, or you can create a disc of bagel dough, poke your finger through the middle, and stretch it out to create the quintessential bagel look.
I have only ever done the first option, and I have to say I’m quite enamoured with how rustic they look. I don’t mind the visible seams – it just serves as a reminder that the bagel was home-made and hand-rolled!
Sourdough bagels are so versatile, easy to make and satisfying to eat. The pre-baked toppings are abundant – poppy seeds, sesame seeds, cheese + jalapeno, herbs, dukkah. Once baked, I like to slice them in half, toast them and have one sweet and one savoury bagel half.
Favourite toppings in our house include Nutella, strawberry, cream cheese, smoked salmon, zucchini pickles, olives and capers!
Have you ever wanted to create your own bagels? What would your ultimate bagel consist of?
- 700g strong white flour
- 260g water
- 60g low-fat milk powder
- 30g malt powder
- 20g salt
- 300g sourdough leaven @ 100% hydration
- 1 tablespoon bi-carb soda (for boiling in water)
- poppy seeds, sesame seeds, grated cheese, fresh chilli, herbs, or other toppings of choice
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook attached, or a large mixing bowl, add all of the ingredients, except the bi-carb soda.
- Knead until combined and smooth, around 5 minutes.
- Allow to bulk ferment in the bowl at room temperature for 4 hours. This time could vary depending on your climate. You may need to add a few hours to the fermentation time if you live in a cold place. You're looking for the dough to have gained about ⅓ of its initial size by the end of bulk fermentation.
- Line two baking trays with baking paper.
- Lightly flour the bench, and tip the dough out onto the bench and shape into a large disc.
- Using a dough scraper, divide the dough into 12 pieces.
- Shape each piece into a disc, and then use your palm to push it down flat. Roll into a cylindrical shape using your palms. Loop the bagel around three fingers to form the bagel shape, and then roll the seam on the bench to seal, using your three fingers (like this - but bear in mind our dough isn't going to be as stretchy as his!)
- Place on the prepared baking trays.
- Prove for one hour at room temperature.
- Preheat the oven to 200C/390F.
- Place a large saucepan or pot on the stove and fill ¾ of the way up with water. Bring to the boil, then add 1 tbsp bi-carb soda.
- Lower the bagels into the water using a slotted spoon. I can fit four bagels at a time in the pot that I use.
- They should rise to the surface quite quickly. Allow to boil for 30 seconds on each side.
- Remove from the pot and sprinkle with seeds of choice. With seeds, it's easiest to place some on a plate and dip the bagel into them.
- Place back onto the prepared baking trays, and bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown and risen.
- Best served warm or toasted. Serve with cream cheese or any fillings of your choice.
Malt powder gives the bagels their "bagel-y" flavour. I've seen other recipes substitute this with brown sugar, but I've never tried it myself.
Favourite filling options include:
- cream cheese, smoked salmon and dill or tarragon
- nutella and strawberry
- cream cheese and zucchini pickle
- plain cream cheese
- butter and honey