Recipe: Sourdough Bagels

Nothing beats a bagel sandwich in the morning and ever since my last trip to New York,

I have been craving this classic breakfast staple: a bacon, egg, and cheese bagel sandwich. It's the perfect breakfast on the go with all the elements layered in a swirl of melted cheese perfectly held together by a delightfully chewy, crusty bagel.

Many people believe it is difficult to find a decent bagel outside of NYC. Some believe the key to New York's excellent bagels is the city's "soft" water meaning it contains low concentrations of calcium and magnesium, which make it softer. The American Chemical Society says that the soft water is just one element that makes New York bagels so special.

Well, I'm here to tell you that not only can you make an amazing bagel at home, but you can also find amazing bagels outside of NYC. My favorite spots are The Kettle Black in Philadelphia, El Bagel in Miami, and St. Viateur in Montreal.

Remember, you can use this same dough build for the English Muffin recipe as well. Since bagels need to have a nice chew to them, this dough is a bit drier than most other types of dough. If you want a lighter, flakier bagel, you can add more water as desired.

What you'll need

500 grams King Arthur Organic Bread Flour

100 grams King Arthur Organic Whole Wheat Flour

400 grams King Arthur Organic All-Purpose Flour

20 grams Kosher Salt

200 grams levain (see build below)

580 grams warm water

500 grams of water for boiling

100 grams barley malt syrup

Sesame seeds, salt, or poppy seeds for topping

If you don't have a mature sourdough starter, check out my week-long process on creating one from scratch. Also, I like to include some wholewheat flour to help with the flavor profile. You can also substitute with one of the other two flours instead.

First thing you'll need to do is build your levain by mixing together the following

(this is in addition to the above amounts)

100 grams mature sourdough starter

50 grams King Arthur Organic Whole Wheat Flour

150 grams King Arthur Organic Bread Flour

170 grams warm water

I like to build the same levain for pretty much everything when baking at home, so you'll see this build quite often. I usually will mix with a fork or with my hand.

Since I incorporate a lot of mature starter into the mix, it is ready to use in about 3-4 hours, when it is in its "young" stage. You'll know it's ready to use, not just because of the volume increase, but because when you pull at it you can see a web-like structure has developed. This is my cue to start mixing. Thus, you have to keep an eye on the structure and not just rely strictly on the clock. My ambient temperature is usually between 72-75 degrees Fahrenheit.

  1. Dissolve the levain into all of the water.

  2. Add the flour and salt, with a splash more water. No need to autolyze this dough since it is so dry and we will be kneading.

  3. Knead with your palm for about 10 minutes to strengthen the dough. After the kneading process, the dough should be smooth and bouncy.

  4. Allow the dough to ferment at room temperature for 4 hours.

  5. Transfer dough to the fridge overnight to continue fermenting overnight (8-12 hours)

  6. After the cold fermentation, flour your work surface and divide the dough into 115g pieces and prepare a sheet pan with parchment paper.

  7. Roll each piece into a log, applying moderate tension and let rest for 10 minutes

  8. Wrap each log around your hand with the connecting part at your palm. Use your palm to roll the dough forward on your work surface.

  9. Transfer each bagel to the parchment-lined sheet pan and let proof for 1-2 hours at room temperature.

  10. While these are proofing, preheat your oven to 450f and bring a pot of water to boil (about 5-6 cups) and add the barley malt syrup.

  11. Once your water is at a rolling boil, turn the heat down to medium and add your bagels. You want to boil them for about 30 seconds per side.

  12. If you want to top them with seeds or salt, you'll want to do that right after it comes out of the water. You can sprinkle onto the bagel, or put the bagel face down into a bowl full of your desired topping.

  13. Now it's time to bake them. I bake mine straight on the stone with a little steam but feel free to bake them in the sheet pan. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until you achieve the desired color.

  14. You can let these cool for a bit, but as usual, I tear right in. Enjoy.

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