Better Bagels (it’s the sourdough)

The addition of sourdough gives these bagels texture and flavor.

I’m been really happy with my sourdough starter. I’ve used it for pancakes, waffles, and English muffins. Every week, I use this delicious starter to turn out two beautiful loaves of sourdough bread to accompany many of our meals. Recently, I finished a batch of homemade lox. I wondered what would happen if I included some of my trusty starter in my bagel recipe.

Wow. What an improvement. The resulting bagels have a subtle sourdough flavor. But the flavor wasn’t the main improvement – it was the texture. These bagels have a perfectly soft interior and a perfectly chewy exterior. We couldn’t believe the difference from an already tried and true recipe. I’ve made the recipe twice now with the same happy results. It’s a keeper!

Sourdough Chewy Bagels


  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (105° F/40° C)
  • ½ cup sourdough starter
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 qts water
  • 3 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • toppings such as poppy seeds, toasted onions, sesame seeds, etc. (optional)


  1. In a large bowl, stir together yeast, 1 1/2 tbsp sugar and water. Let sit for about 5 minutes to make sure the yeast is good. (It will foam.)
  2. Stir in sourdough starter
  3. Stir in salt and the flour, 1/2 cup at a time. The last 1/2 cup, you will need to knead in by hand.
  4. Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic.
  5. Coat the inside of a large bowl with oil and place the dough inside.
  6. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise until doubled, about an hour.
  7. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  8. Cut dough into 8 equal pieces.
  9. Roll pieces into balls.
  10. Flatten balls slightly.
  11. Poke your finger through center of each ball and twirl dough around your finger to enlarge the hole.
  12. Place bagels on parchment-lined baking sheet to rest.
  13. Bring 3 qts water to boil in large pot. Stir in 3 tbsp sugar.
  14. Place 4 bagels in boiling water. Boil for 1 minute. Flip bagels and let boil for another minute.
  15. Place boiled bagels on clean, dry towel.
  16. Place remaining 4 bagels in boiling water. Repeat boiling process with these bagels.
  17. Take bagels from towel and place them on parchment-lined baking sheet.
  18. Preheat oven to 375° F (190° C).
  19. Brush bagels with beaten egg.
  20. Sprinkle desired toppings on bagels (poppy seeds, sesame seeds, charnushka, minced dried onion and minced dried garlic are some of our favorites).
  21. Bake in preheated oven for 20 – 25 minutes, until browned.

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