If sourdough bagels aren’t on your must-make list, add them immediately. They’re easier than you may think.
These pleasantly chewy, subtly sourdough-y bagels are a fixture on the menu at Flour Girl Bread Co., the Ontario-based home microbakery of one of our recipe testers, Daniela Trapani. Her recipe is adapted from one by Emilie Raffa that appears in Artisan Sourdough Made Simple.–Renee Schettler
In a large bowl, combine the water and the starter. Add the sugar and mix until everything has dissolved.
To make sure your starter is active and ready to go, test a teaspoonful of it in your water before adding the remaining starter and sugar. The starter should float. If not, try feeding your starter and waiting before proceeding with the recipe.
Add the flour and salt and mix together. Use a Danish dough whisk or wooden spoon to combine until you have a dough-like situation and then use your hands to mix until the flour is completely incorporated. The final dough temperature should be 74°F (23°C).
Cover the bowl with a lid or damp cloth and let it rest at room temperature until doubled in size, 8 to 10 hours or overnight.
If your room temperature is on the cooler side, try letting your dough rise inside a turned-off oven with the light bulb turned on.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly coat it with cooking spray.
Using a spatula or flexible bench scraper, gently coax the dough onto a floured surface. The dough will have a web-like appearance. Divide the dough into eight 4-ounce (115 g) portions.
Shape each piece of dough into a tight ball by gathering all the ends and rolling it into a ball shape, cupping the ball with your hand and moving it in a circular motion to tighten the ball. If the dough sticks to your hands, dust it with a little flour.
Place the dough balls on the prepared baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Let rest at room temperature for 20 to 30 mins.
Preheat the oven to 425°F (218°C).
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the honey and stir to dissolve. Prepare small bowls containing whichever seeds you want for topping.
Working with 1 ball of dough at a time, use your thumb to gently poke a hole through the center of the dough. Insert both index fingers in the hole and gently stretch and spin to create a hole the size of a walnut. Repeat with the remaining dough.
Carefully drop 2 to 3 bagels into the boiling water. Simmer for 30 seconds on each side. Using a slotted spoon, drain the bagels and transfer them back to the baking sheet. Let the bagels cool for 30 seconds so that you can handle them. While they’re still wet, dip the bagels into the seeds to coat and return them to the baking sheet. Finish boiling and coating the remaining bagels.
Bake the bagels until golden and shiny, 22 to 25 minutes, rotating the tray once halfway through baking.
Transfer the bagels to a baking rack to cool for 5 minutes. The sourdough bagels are best enjoyed warm on the day they’re made. Leftovers can be sliced, frozen, and reheated in the toaster.