Amy Lippert, NTP
Easy Sourdough Bagels
Updated: Mar 6
Fresh out of the oven sourdough bagels are warm, chewy, slightly sour, and the perfect vehicle for a generous slather of mascarpone cheese and a dollop of homemade jam. My family just LOVES these bagels for breakfast with a crispy fried egg and cheese, for their sandwiches at lunch, or even as a quick and easy snack with a chunk of sharp cheddar. Your family may never look at store bought bagels the same after they've had these!
Why do you boil Bagels?
Boiling the bagel before baking is a crucial step in ensuring you get that delicious chewy texture and gorgeous shine to your bagel. By boiling the bagel first, the outer layer of the bagel begins to gelatinize (the flour absorbs water) and helps to provide the sturdy and chewy "crust" we all know and love. Once the bagel has been boiled, it will not rise much more, so be sure to let your bagels rise enough before boiling and baking. Although I do not add this to my water, you can add a tablespoon of baking soda to alkalize the water during the boiling process, which will yield a darker bagel once baked.
What is the difference between a New York City vs Montreal Bagel
Bagels from both NYC and Montreal are delicious and I would not turn either down, however, there are slight differences between the two. Montreal bagels are typically boiled in sweetened water, so if you like, add a bit of pure honey to your water and knock yourself out! Montreal bagels typically have a much larger hole in the middle and are usually baked in a wood fired oven . Honestly, you can't go wrong with either in my opinion!
Why Sourdough is So Good for You!
Have you ever wondered why sourdough is considered a healthier bread? There are several reasons why sourdough is a great choice when looking for a tasty and nutrient dense bread. Sourdough bread is rich in fiber, minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium, vitamins B1 (thiamine), B3 (niacin), B5 (riboflavin) and B9 (folate).
Sourdough bread can be easier to digest for those with gluten sensitivities. I do NOT recommend eating sourdough bread if you have celiacs disease or any type of severe sensitivity to gluten without checking with your physician first. One of the reasons sourdough can be more digestible for those with gluten sensitivities is due to the long fermentation process that sourdough bread undergoes. This allows for the wild yeast and bacteria present from your starter to break down proteins and carbohydrates (fructans) found in the flour .
Sourdough bread can be helpful for individuals working to maintain more stable blood sugar levels as it has a lower glycemic index, which supports healthier blood sugar regulation by reducing the potential for a severe blood glucose spike due to its slower absorption. This is thought to occur due to the fermentation process and how the carbohydrates are broken down and changed .
Why Organic Unbleached Flour vs. Conventional Flour
If you do a lot of home baking like do it's important to choose your ingredients wisely, let's unpack why I only buy and use organic unbleached flours when I bake.
Why Organic? Organic flour is milled from grains that have been grown without the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. By using organic flour in your baked goods, you are also increasing the nutrition found in the foods you create. Organic grains have higher levels of zinc, magnesium and protein than their conventional counterparts .
Why Unbleached? Bleached flour is refined, and that is enough reason to cut it out of your diet! During the processing of refined foods such as flours, sugars and oils, the key and essential nutrients get stripped away, yielding a product that is nutritionally void. Chemicals you say? Why yes! Bleached flours are full of chemicals, such as potassium bromide which has been shown to be a carcinogen linked to kidney and thyroid cancer .
So grab your starter and let's get baking!
Easy Sourdough Bagels
Makes 8-12 Bagels
Make the Leaven*:
35 g Sourdough Starter
95 g Cool Filtered Water
95 g Organic Unbleached Bread Flour
*This makes a little over 200 grams of leaven
Make the Bagels:
200 g Leaven
400 g Cool Filtered Water
50 g Pure Honey
10 g Fine Real Salt
100 g Organic Einkorn Wheat Flour
700 g Organic Unbleached Bread Flour
How to Make Easy Sourdough Bagels
1. In the morning, make the leaven, cover and set aside for 10-12 hours.
2. In the evening, combine leaven, water, honey and salt and mix well in a large bowl.
3. Add the einkorn wheat flour and mix well for about 30-seconds until incorporated.
4. Add the bread flour and stir with a wooden spoon or on low in a standing mixer with a dough hook attachment until a rough dough comes together.
5. Turn out onto a clean surface and knead 8-10 minutes until it has smoothed out and bounces back when gently pressed. Place back into a clean bowl, cover and let sit overnight in the refrigerator.
6. In the morning, turn dough out onto a clean surface and using a sharp knife or pastry knife, cut into 8-12 pieces.
7. Roll each piece out into a long cylinder, like you're going to make a pretzel, then bring the ends together overlapping a little to form a ring.
8. Set onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Once all the bagels have been shaped, cover and let sit for 60-minutes.
9. After 30-minutes, preheat the oven to 425 and bring a large sauce pan or pot filled with water to a boil.
10. Once it has been 60-minutes, boil the bagels, a few at a time to keep the temperature of the water hot, for 90-seconds to 2-minutes.
11. Using a slotted spoon or mesh strainer, shake off excess water and place the bagels back onto baking sheet.
12. If desired, immediately season the bagels while they are still a bit moist with coarse sea salt or other spices, this omits the need for an egg wash.
13. Bake for 22-25 minutes and cool on a cooling rack completely before slicing!
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Q: Can I roll sourdough bagels into a ball and poke a hole instead of rolling it out?
A: Yes, you can make bagel breadsticks or anything thing your heart desires in any shape you like! I just prefer to roll mine out.
Q: How long with fresh sourdough bagels keep?
A: Store at room temperature in an airtight container up to 24-36 hours if you are going to consume them quickly. If not, you can keep store them in a freezer bag up to 2-weeks!
Q: Can I make sourdough bagels without using a scale to measure the ingredients?
A: I highly recommend the $8-$12 investment into a digital scale to measure all your ingredients when working with sourdough, precision is key to consistency.
I hope you enjoy this as much as my family does. - Amy
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