The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sourdough Bagels and starter question

sjm1027's picture

Sourdough Bagels and starter question

I just made a close to a dozen bagels. This time they look a lot better than my first time. I have a few questions for you experts out there. 

1, what is the purpose of placing the bagels in the fridge overnight? They looked like I could have just went to boil or maybe in the fridge for 2 hours to firm them up. Is over night necessary?

2, when most of you make sourdough bread or bagels do you add yeast to the recipe? I thought the whole idea of using sourdough starter was to bypass the use of stor bought yeast?

thanks in advance,



PalwithnoovenP's picture

1. In addition to splitting the work for easier days, retarding them in the fridge overnight develops flavor. It is not absolutely necessary; some bagels are made in less than 30 minutes.

2. I do not add commercial yeast to my sourdough bagels. My starter is lightning fast and adding yeast might mess my timing. You could definitely add yeast because it will provide another set of flavours. Try both to know your personal preference.

Happy bagel making! Cheers!

MontBaybaker's picture

Could you share?  I wasn't happy with the 2 different SD recipes I tried from some other website: weird texture, water-to-flour ratio way off.  I always do well with Hamelman's yeasted bagels.  Thanks!   

sjm1027's picture

I have been playing with this recipe for a month now. I have it about 90% to my liking.

Sourdough Bagels

Makes a dozen bagels.


The dough


  • Sour Dough Starter: 400 grams
  • yeast: 1 tsp 
  • Water: 150 grams
  • Flour: bread flour High Gluten: 400 grams
  • Flour: wheat: 150 grams
  • Canola Oil: 38 grams
  • Brown sugar or Barley Malt Syrup: 25 grams
  • Salt: 15 grams


  • Mix, and do a couple of short kneads at 10 minute intervals.
  • Leave to rise for 3-4 hours.


  • Divide into 100g portions, pre-shape into balls.
  • Either poke a hole in the middle with your finger, and stretch the hole or roll into long 'ropes', wind over your hand and seal the join by rubbing the ends of the rope together.
  • Let formed bagels sit for an hour before putting them in the fridge. Cover with oiled plastic wrap
  • Place in the fridge overnight (spray with oil, cover with plastic, put in a plastic bag)



  • The next day - bring a large pot to boil. Add malt syrup or handful of brown sugar
  • Add as many bagels as will fit in a single layer (I can fit three) they should float after 10 seconds
  • Turn after 30 secs (cook for 1 min in total) - drain and put back on the tray
  • Top with your choice of topping
  • Bake in the oven at ~400F for ~20 mins
MontBaybaker's picture

your process is identical to mine.  If I empty half a fridge shelf and use a cooling rack in between, I can make 20-24 on two sheet pans on Silpat.  They don't rise in the fridge, so in the morning I separate them onto an extra pan for final proof while the water bath heats. 

sjm1027's picture

The bagels came out great except they were a little dry inside and could have use some more chew. Any ideas on how to tweak to make this happen?


PalwithnoovenP's picture

and methods; omit the oil and increase the boil from 30 seconds to 1 minute on each side. That could increase the chew.

dabrownman's picture

malt powder or BMS,  use high gluten flour.  Is that 150 g whole wheat or what?  If it is then autolyse it for 2 hours and the rest for 30 minutes.

That should do it.

I personally wouldn't use that much starter / Levain but higher % pre-fermented flour for bagels isn't that out o bounds either.

You will nail it next time

sjm1027's picture

Yes it was wheat flour and I will take your advice for sure.