Sourdough Cinnamon Raisin Bagels!
And I say finally because it’s a long time coming.
I’ve been trying to perfect my sourdough bagel recipe for a long time.
And this is the best recipe I could come up with so far.
There are also a few tricks.
Since I’ve tired so many bagel recipes, I know everything that’s out there. I will tell you what worked for me and what didn’t.
Then again, it might be that some of these tricks that didn’t work for me, could work for you, who knows?!
So, if you are in the “Perfect Bagel Saga”, here are my tips. Try them yourself, and let me know what worked for you.
Let’s begin with the sourdough part of the Sourdough Bagels.
My starter (Phoebe, and you can read more about her here) is at 100% hydration, which means I feed it with equal parts of starter, water, and flour.
I am adding quite a bit of active starter to this Sourdough Bagel. 300 grams, or 1 1/2 cups of starter.
I’ve tried adding less before and felt like I should up the quantity.
Make sure your starter is active before making these bagels.
If you keep your starter on your counter, you can feed it a few hours before making this bread, depends on how long your starter takes to activate. This will vary a lot from starter to starter. My Phoebe takes a few hours to active once fed. So if I am making sourdough bread in the morning, I feed her the night before. And if I am making my dough at night, I feed her in the morning.
Now, if you keep your starter in the fridge, you might have to take it out of the fridge a couple of days before making the bagels, and just feed it until it activates.
The bread will have a slightly tangy, more rustic feel to it because of the addition of the starter. Sourdough Bagels simply are my favorite!
Most, if not all recipes all there are going to call for bread flour.
Bagels are supposed to have a chewy texture, and a crusty outside. And bread flour has more gluten than all-purpose flour, and therefore, it’s supposed to provide those qualities to the bagels.
However, I find it that with my homemade bagels, the bread flour makes them a bit too chewy, and slightly tough.
I decided to experiment with a combination of half of whole wheat flour, and half of all-purpose flour. And the results were the best I’ve ever had. It’s my favorite combination. The whole wheat flour give the bread such delicious nutty tones, that go so well with the tanginess of the sourdough!!
See for yourself, I invite you to try baking your bagels with this blend of whole wheat and all-purpose flour, instead of bread flour, just for once. Make it your weekend baking challenge!
Barley Malt Syrup
Go ahead and use honey if you don’t have any barley malt syrup laying around. No biggie.
Bagel dough is the type that has to be kneaded for a really long time!
You want the best gluten development you can get! So you can achieve a crusty outside and a chewy texture!
I recommend using a stand mixer with the dough hook to knead bagel dough.
It can definitely be done by hand, but you’ll need some elbow grease, and some stamina.
Knead by machine for about 7 minutes. By hand, I’d try about double that time.
I’ve tried very different approaches to proofing bagel dough.
First, I’ve tried Peter Reinhart’s method in the book The Bread Baker Apprentice. Immediately after kneading the initial dough, you shape it into balls, let them rest for 20 minutes, shape the holes, and retard bagels in the fridge overnight, to be baked next morning. This is what used to do for years.
Second, I’ve tried leaving the dough resting on the counter overnight, shaped in the am, second proofing, then baking.
Third, I have tried resting the dough in the fridge overnight, letting it come to room temperature in the morning, and then shaped and baked.
Fourth, I’ve tried leaving the dough to rest for about 4 hours on the counter. Shaped, did a second proof for about 2 hours, and then baked.
I gotta say, I am loving number 4 method lately! It might be because the dough is so on point too, so I am still going to try retarding this dough in the fridge overnight to see how it bakes the next day. I’ll let y’all know!
I try my best not to boil the bagels for more than 20 seconds on each side.
Reinhart recommends boiling each bagel for 1 minute on each side. Or even 2 minutes if you like your bagels extra chewy.
In my experience, that really didn’t work.
Actually my last batch, I decided to boil half of them for 1 minute on each side, and the other half for only 20-30 seconds on each side.
Guess what, the bagels that were boiled for 1 minute on each side were unnecessarily tough! The ones boiled for only 20-30 seconds retained that perfect bite and chew, without being too tough!
So, that;s my opinion. It might be that it really works for you to boil your bagels for longer. Just experiment with it and see how it goes!
I like to bake my bagels at 425F.
Lots of recipes recommend 500F or 450F.
With the current oven I have, I find it better to set it to 425F so the outside and the inside bake evenly and the bagels have that beautiful deep golden color, and are still perfectly cooked on the inside!
Again, please experiment with your oven, and find what temperature works best for you.
If you are into baking bread, these two books have helped me a great deal. And I don’t just mean as far as recipes go. For example, The Artisan Sourdough Made Simple has a recipe for Sourdough Bagels. I have tried that recipe, however, it’s not the recipe I use, because I found something else that works better for me.
When I say these books are so influential to me, it’s because of the way they approach the art of making bread. Both authors are absolutely passionate about bread, and they let it show through every word. And that kind of book really inspires me, and makes me grow on my own Bread Baking Journey.
Have a fabulous day!
Check out my post with the toasts I made with these Sourdough Cinnamon Raisin Bagels!
Here are some other recipes you might like.
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Sourdough Cinnamon Raisin Bagels
- 300 grams active sourdough starter 1 1/2 cups, 10.6 oz.
- 295-350 grams warm water 90-100F (1 1/4 cup- 1 1/2 cup, 10-12 oz.)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon barley malt syrup or honey
- 2 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 382 grams all-purpose flour 3 cups, 13.5 oz.
- 382 grams whole wheat flour 3 cups, 13.5 oz.
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 cup raisins
To boil bagels
- 1 tablespoon baking soda for boiling bagels
- 1/4 cup milk
Start by mixing the active sourdough starter, 1 1/4 cup of water, vegetable oil, malt syrup, sea salt, flours, and cinnamon together in a bowl.
Mixture will seem extremely stiff. That’s ok. Just make sure all the flour is getting hydrated. If necessary, pour that remaining 1/4 cup of water in, if you see too much dry flour that won’t incorporate into the dough.
Cover bowl with a damp towel and let dough sit for 10 minutes.
Kneading: I would recommend a stand mixer to knead this dough. Or a lot of elbow grease.
Bagel dough should be kneaded at least 7 minutes by machine, probably double by hand. And it’s a very stiff dough, so it’s not the easiest to knead.
At the final 2 minutes of kneading, add raisins so they get incorporated into the dough.
It’s very important that you knead this dough properly, so the bagels will have their proper texture and gluten development.
At the end of kneading, dough should be smooth, but still pretty stiff and dense.
Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl.
Cover with a damp towel.
Let it rise in a warm place for about 4 hours.
If your place is cold, let it rise 5 hours.
Transfer dough to the counter.
I split mine into 100 g (3.5 oz.) pieces, and ended up with 14 pieces.
Turn pieces into balls by rolling them against the counter, with your hand in a cup shape.
Use the counter to push the dough against itself and turn into a perfect round.
There are plenty of videos on youtube that show this technique properly. Very easy, and you’ll always end up with perfectly shaped rolls, bagels.
Now that you’ve rolled all the pieces into balls, start by making a hole in the center of each ball with your finger. Expand the center out with your hands, by rotating the bagel as you shape the hole in the middle.
Then, place bagels in 2 baking mat or parchment paper lined baking sheets.
I put 7 bagels in each baking sheet.
Cover both trays with a damp towel. Let them sit at room temperature for 1-2 hours.
Once the dough is springing back as you touch it, means your bagels are ready to go.
Pre-heat oven to 425F.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Once water comes to a boil, add baking soda to the pot.
Boil bagels in batches, being careful not to overcrowd the pan.
You should boil bagels about 20 seconds on each side. I don’t like to boil them over 1 min total, or their crust might turn out too hard.
Remove bagels with a slotted spoon after they have boiled about 20 seconds on each side.
Place boiled bagels in a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper or a silicon mat.
Brush bagels with milk.
Bake for about 10 minutes. Rotate pans. Bake for another 5-15 minutes. It will really depend on your oven and what size bagels you decided to make.
Once bagels have a deep golden color, remove them from the oven. Let them cool and enjoy them fresh.
STORAGE: I like to enjoy the bagels when they are very fresh. That’s when they are the best. However, nothing wrong with leftover bagel toast in the morning. Keep bagels in an air-tight container for up to a couple of days, I wouldn’t go longer than that. You can also freeze them wrapped in foil and inside of a ziplock bag or freezer container for up to 2 months.