Baked Using Active Sourdough Starter
Although an official date for National Bagel Day is January 15, I don't mind having a bagel day every day. Because what can be better than the freshly baked super soft and chewy deliciousness for breakfast?!!! Especially if the bagels are naturally leavened with Sourdough Starter, which adds more flavor and makes them a lot healthier than the ones made with yeast. Read this post to learn more about the Health Benefits of Sourdough.
To make these bagels, I experimented with different kinds and amounts of flour and starter. In the first batch I baked I used bread flour. The bagels were fluffy but tasted too much like bread, so I changed the flour to Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, which eliminated that problem. My starter is made with whole wheat flour, which already adds a little bit of whole wheat taste, but for the bagels and bread in general, I feed it with half bread and half whole wheat flour. I tried to feed it with just bread flour, but it wouldn't rise as well as the whole wheat, so I went back to half and half mixture. In regards to the amount of flour, I also had to make changes to make the bagels softer. While more flour certainly reduced dough stickiness, it also made the bagels tougher to eat the next day. I opted for less flour and just added a little bit to the surface while shaping.
For the toppings, I used shredded Asiago cheese and sesame seeds - no matter which bagels I try, I always go back to these two all-time favorites and the good old plain bagel. With the sesame seed bagels, I love to use this homemade Salmon Cream Cheese spread with dill, which is super easy to make just by mixing a few pieces of the smoked salmon with a little bit of fresh dill and cream cheese. With Asiago cheese bagels, I usually use the original whipped cream cheese. And a combination of raspberry preserve and cream cheese is amazing on plain bagels. I wouldn't be me if I didn't make something sweet! Try it - it's simple but so good!
To make the bagels the same size, use a digital scale to weigh them.
If the bagel holes shrank after proofing, you can easily re-shape it before boiling.
When boiling, make sure the bagels don't fall top side down; otherwise, they can get deformed but will still be delicious.
Egg wash is necessary for the seeds and other toppings to stick. It also adds a nice golden color to the bagels.
No cornmeal or rice flour is needed if using parchment paper on your baking sheet.
Bagels can be kept in the fridge and warmed up and/or toasted when ready to be used. They also can be easily frozen - just wrap them individually in a plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag.
If you have an extra sourdough starter left, use it in these amazing Sourdough Starter Discard Recipes.
As usual, I simplify my recipes so they are easy to follow for beginners. I avoid using complex numbers and ingredients, so the recipe is more clear and less intimidating for new bakers.
Ingredients for 8 bagels:
Starter feeding 1:3:3 Ratio
50g Sourdough Starter (we use Whole Wheat starter)
75g Bread flour
75g Whole Wheat Flour
150g Water (bottled or filtered)
600g Unbleached All-Purpose flour
350g Water (bottled or filtered)
200g Starter @ 100% Hydration
2 tbsp Honey
2 tbsp Sugar
1 tbsp Baking Soda
1 Egg for egg wash
Salmon Cream Cheese Dip
Prepare the Starter (morning 10 am)
Feed starter with flour and 150g water at 85-90°F, cover, and leave it on the counter to ferment for 6 hours. It should double in size by then (at 76°F room temperature).
Make the Dough (afternoon 4 pm)
Combine 200g of starter with 350g of water (room temperature) and 2 tbsp of honey in a large mixing bowl and mix until the starter is dissolved.
Then add 600g of flour and 10g of salt to the mixture and mix the dough with fingers until all of the ingredients are well incorporated with no dry bits left.
Knead the dough for a few minutes.
Cover and leave it on the counter to rest for 1 hour.
Stretch and Fold
For the next 1.5 hours, perform stretching and folding technique every 30 min: take one side of the dough, stretch it as far as you can, and fold it on top of the dough. Turn the bowl counter-clockwise and do it one more time, stretching and folding each side.
Cover and leave the dough on the counter for 3-4 hours to rise at about 76°F room temperature.
Shape and Proof (evening 8 pm)
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Take the dough out of the bowl, place it onto an unfloured surface, and divide the dough into 8 equal parts. Use the scale for more precision if necessary.
Shape each piece of the dough into a round shape using the same stretch and fold technique as above, stretching and folding 4 sides until you see a smooth side of the dough (about 8 times).
Gently turn the dough with your hands round and round to create the surface tension and make it into a tight ball.
Make a hole in the center of the ball using your thumb and stretch it gently.
Place the shaped bagels onto the baking sheet.
Place the baking sheet in 2 plastic grocery bags and let the dough rest overnight in the fridge.
Bake (next day)
Preheat the oven to 450°F.
Boil the water in a large pot and add baking soda and sugar.
Beat 1 egg in a bowl to make an egg wash.
Take the bagels out of the fridge and boil them until they float up to the surface.
Remove the bagels from the pot using a strainer or a slotted spoon, and place them on the baking sheet.
Brush on egg wash on top of the bagels and cover them with toppings or leave them plain.
Reduce the temperature to 425°F and bake for 25-30 min until golden brown.
Remove the bagels from the oven and let them cool completely before eating.
Tools for Sourdough Bread Baking: