The Oven has baked its last loaf. This blog is no longer being updated.

My cooking videos appear at

I write on food at

Sourdough Bagels

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Belches never sounded so good.
Well actually, the gas escaping from the dough as I kneaded it wasn't a noisy discharge of stomach gases, but more like mellow burps.
I've wanted to bake along with Sourdough Surprises since the group started with donuts back in March. It would have been a good opportunity to use sourdough starter in items other than breads.
Well, I couldn't let the latest "surprise" to make bagels go.
Now, I can't say that I buy bagels very often. They're not a bread you find much in Malaysia, and certainly not authentic either. And while I've made them before, I wouldn't go out boasting that they were anywhere near as good as the real stuff.
These sourdough bagels that I made using a recipe from Wild Yeast are still not fantastic, but I do like the taste and texture a lot. The wheat gluten helped strengthen the dough.
I tried the recipe twice, both times, halving the recipe because it's easier for me to work with smaller amounts. The specified timings, however, didn't work for me, probably because it's too warm and humid here in Malaysia.
At Wild Yeast, the dough is formed into bagels and left to proof at warm room temperature until they are puffy and then refrigerated for four to eight hours. Unfortunately, my bagels overproofed and when it came time to poach them, they deflated. So I had to reshape them, and left them to rise again at room temperature until puffy before poaching them. Fortunately, the over-handling did not affect the texture and chewiness much.
I took no chances the second time. After kneading, the dough immediately went into the fridge overnight and I only shaped the bagels the next day before proofing, poaching and baking. Worked so much better. They were certainly more pneumatic!

Puffy and round with a tight crumb
100% Sourdough Bagels
Based on the recipe from WildYeast
Makes 4 bagels

170g bread flour
5g vital wheat gluten
14g milk powder
8g non-diastatic malt powder
5g salt
60g tepid water
150g 100%-hydration sourdough starter

Poaching liquid
½ tbsp malt syrup
½ tbsp baking soda for boiling
½ tsp salt

Melted butter and cinnamon sugar

Stir the flour, vital wheat gluten, milk powder, malt powder and salt together.
Combine the water and starter; stir into the dry ingredients until all the ingredients come together into a rough dough. Turn the dough onto an unfloured work surface and knead into a smooth ball, about 10 minutes. The surface should feel satiny and tight.
Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, slip it into a plastic bag and refrigerate overnight. If baking on the same day, place dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover and leave at room temperature until puffy. In my kitchen, it takes 2 hours.
Divide the dough into 4 pieces of about 100g each. Form each piece into a light ball, cover, and let rest for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and dust it generously with semolina.
To shape each bagel, roll the dough into a cylinder about 20-25cm long without tapering the ends. Wrap the cylinder around your hand, with the ends overlapping by about 5cm in your palm. Roll your palm on the (still unfloured) counter to smash the ends together. (Note: if the dough is a little dry, give it a quick spritz of water with a fine spray bottle before shaping. This helps it roll more easily, and the ends stick to each other.)
Place the bagels on the prepared cookie sheets, and slip into a large food-grade plastic bag. Proof at warm room temperature, until the bagels look and feel a bit puffy.
According to Peter Reinhart, to test if bagels are ready to be poached, place one bagel in a large bowl of water. If it floats immediately, the bagels are ready. If the bagel sinks, remove from the water, dry it off and return to the tray. Allow to proof for longer.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 250°C and put a large pot of water on to boil. Add malt syrup and salt. Place a dish towel on a tray next to the stove, and place the seeds for the toppings in shallow plates nearby.
When the water has reached a rolling boil, add the baking soda. Drop the bagels, three or four at a time, into the vigorously boiling water for 30 seconds. Flip them over and leave them for another 30 seconds.
Remove the bagels from the water with a slotted spoon and place them on the dish towel. Dab the tops lightly. If topping them with seeds, upturn the bagels onto the seeds in the plate and press down lightly so the seeds stick. (If using cinnamon sugar, do this only after the bagels are cooked.)
Place the bagels back onto the semolina-dusted, parchment-lined cookie sheet, and place in the oven.Turn the oven down to 200°C once the bagels are in. Bake until golden brown, about 24-26 minutes. About halfway through baking, open the oven door briefly to vent any steam.
Cool on a wire rack.
If topping with cinnamon sugar, brush melted butter on the hot bagels and dip the tops into a mixture of brown sugar and cinnamon.


  1. make your own bagel! That's amazing. I love bagels for its chewiness and often buy it if I want. Not too sure if I am up for this challenge to make my own bagels. Your bagels look very beautiful and tempting. Thanks very much for sharing.

  2. Wow - what beautiful bagels you made. I can't imagine how frustrating it must have been to have to reshape them that first time, but the results look outstanding. I am so glad you joined us this month, and look forward to much more sourdough with you in the future! :)

  3. They look great! I love all the toppings you did - I only did poppy seed, and now I'm wishing I had somehow incorporated cinnamon sugar... next time!

  4. Lovely crumbs! I love bagels like that! So delicious!

  5. Awesome job on your bagels!!! They all look amazing, and I am loving all the different toppings you used! Your bagels look perfectly chewy, too, so I am glad the reshaping didn't do any damage (and how frustrating that must have been!) Great job and I am so glad you decided to participate with us this month!!

  6. Your bagels look so gorgeous. The crumb is absolutely fantastic. I just want to bite it!


Your views are welcome and appreciated. Have a nice day!