Sourdough Bagels

Growing up in Alaska, our small town was known more for the many coffee shops than it was for fresh bagels.

Really, I had only ever had store-bought bagels for the most part (which are made for mass production and long shelf life) up until I decided to make my own.

This long-shelf-life-concept sacrifices so much flavour and texture to make a buck.

As always, homemade is sooo much better if one is willing to take the time to bake!


First, start with 2 cups of freshly fed, mature sourdough starter.

Add the water, oil, salt, and flour and mix until all the ingredients are combined.

NOTE: if you are making blueberry or cinnamon raisin bagels, this is the stage you will add the sweet ingredients!

Knead the dough until it develops an elastic consistency; if you are using a mixer this will be about 3-4 minutes on medium speed with a dough hook.

It should not stick to the bowl while being kneaded at this point.


Place dough in an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap; let it sit in a warm place for 4 hours.

Sourdough recipes need longer rise time than yeast recipes; this is not only for the leavening effect, but also to develop that tangy sourdough flavour.

Once the 4 hours are up, divide the dough into 12 equal sized pieces.

The easiest way to get them all the same size is to cut the dough in half, then cut those balls into 6 pieces.

In the past, I had pinched off chunks of dough, trying to get similar sizing but inevitably getting varying results.

This method of cutting the dough is much faster, easier, and consistent.

If you want to get REALLY particular, you can go so far as weighing each ball of dough and adjusting the amount they have until each of the 12 balls weigh exactly the same.


On an unfloured surface, roll each of the balls into perfect rounds.

Next, pinch a hole through the centre and use two fingers to “twirl” that gap into a nice round hole.

You want the hole to be about the size of a golf ball (the hole will shrink as the bagel rises) and the dough to be as even as possible all the way around, but some imperfections will be eliminated during the next rise.


Place the rounds on a baking sheet with either parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

Make sure you leave plenty of room between them so they do not stick together as they rise.

Cover with a tea towel and allow to rise for 1 hour.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the baking soda.

Next, add the bagels to the boiling water and cook for 2 minutes on either side.

This part of the process is what gives the bagels their signature chewiness.

If you prefer your bagels less chewy, simply reduce the amount of time you boil on each side.


Of course this means that if you prefer your bagels chewier, you can boil them longer to achieve the desired texture.

NOTE: you want a single layer of bagels; do not stack them in the water. You will need to cook them in batches.

Drain well when you remove them from the water and place them onto the lined baking sheet you used earlier.

A “SPIDER” cooking utensil (basically a large wire spoon) works well for scooping and draining the bagels at the same time.


The next step is to brush the bagels with egg wash to give them the beautiful golden color once they are baked.

This also helps the toppings stick to the bagels!

Once you have added the egg wash, you get to choose from many varieties of toppings; you can go with the jalapeño cheddar bagels, simple sesame, the famous “Everything Bagel” or of course you can just leave them plain.

As I noted earlier in this post, the sweet bagel varieties will already have those ingredients added during the kneading stage.


I am a huge fan of all things jalapeño, so the jalapeño cheddar bagels are a solid favourite.

Once you have finished adding the egg wash and toppings, place the baking sheets into the oven, pre-heated to 450º F.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

I have a convection oven, so I did not rotate the baking sheets, however if you have a conventional oven you likely will want to switch them halfway through to ensure even baking.


Once they have turned that beautiful golden brown color, remove the bagels from the oven and place on a cooling rack and cover with a tea towel.

Now let’s be honest; I would say to allow them to cool fully, but what is better than a homemade bagel fresh out of the oven?!

Treat yourself and “sample” one while it is hot – you know, to make sure they turned out okay! *wink*


This recipe makes a dozen LARGE bagels.

One Bagel BLT makes an entire meal for me because they are so big!

The texture and flavour is absolutely unparalleled by those dry, store-bought imitations.

If you have never had a homemade bagel, you truly do not know what you are missing out on!

Pro Tip: if you plan to freeze your bagels, cut them first so you can pop them directly into the toaster from frozen!



2 cups sourdough starter

1 1/4 cups water

1 tablespoon olive oil

5 1/2 cups white flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon baking soda (in the boiling water)

1 egg, beaten (egg wash)



Combine sourdough starter, water, oil, flour, and salt.

(If you are making a sweet bagel, add those ingredients now as well)

Knead dough until it develops an elastic texture (3-4 minutes with a dough hook if you are using a mixer).

Place in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rest in a warm area for 4 hours.

Divide dough into 12 equal sized pieces and roll into balls on an unfloured surface.

Pinch a hole through each ball and widen the hole using two fingers until it is the size of a golf ball and the dough is fairly even throughout the ring.

Place on a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat (leave enough room between them so they do not stick to each other while rising).

Cover with a tea towel and allow to rise in a warm area for 1 hour.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the baking soda.

Gently place the bagels into the water in batches and cook for 2 minutes on either side (do not stack the bagels; you want a single layer)

Drain well and place back onto the lined baking sheet.

Brush with the egg wash and add toppings of choice (see below for topping options).

Place into oven, pre-heated to 450º F and bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. (You may need to rotate baking sheets half way through if you do not have a convection oven to ensure even baking)

Place on cooling rack and cover with a tea towel.



Bagel Toppings

For the savoury bagels, the toppings are added to plain bagels just after they have been boiled and brushed with egg wash.

The sweet bagels have the ingredients added while kneading the dough at the beginning on the process.

Jalapeño Cheddar

Place jalapeños as desired, then sprinkle generously with cheddar cheese.

(The cheese helps the jalapeños stick to the bagel)



Sprinkle generously with sesame seeds.


1 cup blueberries

2 tablespoons white sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

NOTE: these ingredients are added while kneading the dough.


Cinnamon Raisin

1 cup raisins

2 tablespoons white sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

NOTE: these ingredients are added while kneading the dough.

More topping options to come!


So what do you think? Do you feel inspired to make this tasty treat?

Drop a comment below!

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Author: Ellie

Born and raised in Alaska, I have lived in the land of the living sky since 2009. My husband and I live in a historic house over a century old on an acreage in the country.

5 thoughts on “Sourdough Bagels”

  1. Love freshly-made bagels! Can hardly wait to try them. I am new to baking with sourdough, but I’m willing to give this a shot!


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