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Sourdough Bagels

“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Bagels can be an enormous power for good or for evil. It is up to us to decide how we will use them.” -Daniel Pinkwater

New York State is known for many things. The statue of liberty. Orchards in the north. Finger Lakes in the western part of the state. But as far as bakes go the New York style bagel is a staple of the state. These bakes can be temperamental to get right. But once you do get them right, they are oh, so good. Crunchy on the outside and plenty chewy on the inside.

The temperamental part is letting the dough rise for enough time and boiling the bagels before they go into the oven. Boiling bread is weird and something I will never get used to. But boiling bagels gives it the crust that it needs on the outside while the baking gives it’s fluffy, chewy inside. It is also important to get the timing of the boil just right so that the bagels don’t get wrinkly in the water.

This is a sourdough version of bagels. This gives the bagels a little tang and pairs great with chive and onion cream cheese. Making a sourdough bagel doesn’t complicate the bagel process too much. Instead of getting rid of your discarded starter after feeding it, simply measure out a cup or 200 grams of starter and add it to the dough.

For the topping of these lovelies, I’ve chosen to include everything because I can’t choose what topping I like the best. As an alternative, you could also top these bagels with cinnamon and sugar to make them sweet. But for a savory bake that is good for breakfast or as bread for a sandwich for lunch. Enjoy these bagels bakers, as the New Yorkers do, and as always keep baking.


1 cup of sourdough starter (200 g)

1 ¼ cup of water (315 g)

2 Tablespoons of maple syrup (30 g)

5 cups of flour (750 g)

2 teaspoons of salt (10 g)

1 Tablespoon of baking soda

1 Tablespoon of brown sugar


Poppy seeds

Sesame seeds

Onion flakes

Garlic flakes




  1. In a bread machine- place the following ingredients in this order: water, maple syrup, sourdough starter, flour, and salt into the machine. Set for a kneading cycle.

  2. By hand- using a whisk or fork mix the sourdough starter with water and maple syrup. Then add the flour and salt, and knead by hand on a clean countertop for about 6-7 minutes.

  3. After the kneading process, by hand or machine, shape the dough into a ball. Place in a bowl and cover with a towel for 20 minutes.

  4. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces and shape into a ball shape (Note: if you have a scale, measure the dough as a whole and then divide the amount by eight. This ensures each piece of dough will be the same).

  5. Cover the dough balls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, sprinkled with flour, or on another flat surface such as a cutting board. Let rest for 15 minutes.

  6. Shape the bagels by cutting two slits in the center, creating an X shape, and put a thumb or finger in the center to create a hole.

  7. Cover the shaped bagels with a towel and let them proof at room temperature for 3 ½ hours, or until they are puffy. Then place in the fridge for at least 12 hours and no more than 24 hours.

  8. After the long proofing process, preheat the oven to 450 and place toppings onto plates or any flat surfaces.

  9. In a large pot boil some water until it is a rolling boil, then add the baking soda and brown sugar.

  10. Remove the bagels from the fridge and, two at a time, place them into the water. Boil the bagel on EACH SIDE for 15-20 seconds. Remove the bagels after both sides are done with a slotted spatula or spoon.

  11. Shake off excess water and put the bagel in the toppings (Note: only put toppings on the top of the bagel, if toppings are put on both sides they will burn on the bottom when in the oven). Set on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

  12. With the bagels in the oven on the center rack, turn the oven temperature down to 400 and bake for 18-22 minutes, or until golden brown on top.

  13. Cool and enjoy.

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