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bagl 004

Updated 3rd March 2015

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Sourdough bagels are wickedly good, with a complex, slightly tangy flavour that distinguishes them from the yeasted version.  This recipe makes eighteen generous, chewy bagels. I topped some with poppy seeds, and the rest with just a small scattering of Malden salt, ready for school lunches.

Some notes:

1. We make two sort of bagels – yeasted (for which the detailed tutorial is here) and sourdough. Please refer to our yeasted bagel tutorial for photos, as the methodology is very similar.

2. 166% hydration means that the starter is regularly fed at a ratio of one cup of flour to one cup of water.

3. Malt extract can be found on many supermarket shelves and brewing stores. I decant it into glass jars, as it tends to go mouldy quite quickly if left in its original (non-airtight) container.

Sourdough Bagels

  • 450g active starter (166% hydration)
  • 500 – 550g  water
  • 1100g bakers (bread) flour
  • 18g fine sea salt
  • 6 teaspoons (50g) malt extract (or brown sugar)
  • toppings (I used poppy seeds and sesame seeds)

1. Mix starter, 500g water and malt syrup in large mixing bowl.  Whisk flour and salt together in separate bowl.  Mix flour into liquid ingredients, squelch together with a clean hand until combined. If you’re using brown sugar, or if the dough feels too dry, add a little more water. Once all flour has been fully incorporated, rest the dough for 30 minutes, covered.

2. After resting, uncover the dough and knead briefly until smooth.  Note that this is quite a stiff dough. Return to mixing bowl, cover and set in warm place to rise until doubled in size (this usually takes about five hours, but could take twice as many in cold conditions). The dough could also be left on the bench overnight to rise if desired.

3. Turn the risen dough out onto the bench and knead briefly.  Divide into 120g portions.  Knead and pinch each portion into a round smooth ball. Form each ball into a doughnut shape by punching a hole through the middle and twirling the dough around both index fingers, stretching as you go.  The hole should be quite big.  Shape the dough to look like a tyre with a large hole.

4. Place the tyres on a baking tray lined with Bake and sprinkled with flour, leaving room to rise.  Cover with a tea towel and allow to prove another 1 – 1½ hours in a warm place. Preheat oven to 200 C with fan.

5. Bring to boil a large pot of water with at least 6 – 10cm of water. Add 1 Tbsp malt extract (or brown sugar) and 1 Tbsp salt, and bring to a rolling boil.  Boil (“kettle”) bagels, three or four at a time, for 1½ minutes on each side.  Remove with a slotted spoon, and dry gently with a clean non-linting tea towel.  Place on baking tray lined with bake.

6. Brush tops of bagels with egg wash (1 egg + 1 Tbsp water), then sprinkle with toppings if desired.

7. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes, then rotate the trays and continue baking for a total baking time of about 20 – 25 minutes. Cool on wire racks.

bagl 002

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