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sourdough bagels before being baked

Sourdough Bagels | Naturally Fermented Bagels.


This recipe for sourdough bagels is great to have in any baker’s toolbox. They have a depth of flavour from the rye levain and a great chew from the boil.  



Day 1 

  • 129 grams rye flour 
  • 129 grams water at 22.2°C/72°F
  • 6 grams levain

Day 2

  • 1202 grams bread flour
  • 661 grams water 26°C/80°F
  • 26 grams salt
  • 36 grams barley malt syrup 
  • 6 grams diastatic malt powder
  • 264 grams levain 



We will use a rye levain to make our sourdough bagels. Using rye levain will give these bagels a great depth of flavour and deep sour notes.

Mix all ingredients together until well combined. Cover with a lid and place in a proofer or warm spot. This levain is meant to rise for 12-14 hours at 20°C/70°F. It will develop a strong acidity and rich smell.

Mix the dough

  1. Add the water, malt syrup, diastatic malt and levain to the mixing bowl.
  2. Add the flour to the bowl and mix on first speed until there are no dry bits. This should take about 3-5 minutes.
  3. Mix the dough on secdond speed for another 2-3 minutes until well developed.
  4. Cover and leave in a warm place.
  5. Final dough temperature – 28°C/82°F.

Bulk Fermentation

Bulk ferment the dough for 3 hours. I have not been giving my dough any folds during this time but if you are using soft flour or feel that the dough is lacking in strength feel free to give it a fold halfway through the bulk. I am currently working on a sourdough bagel recipe using only whole grains and have found that it can benefit from a fold.  

Divide and Preshape

Flip the dough out of the container onto an un-floured work surface. You want to use the table to stretch the dough and extra flour will prevent your dough from sticking to the table.

Divide the dough into 110-120 gram pieces. Flatten the pieces and roll them into a cylinder pressing the dough into itself with each roll developing some surface tension by the time you are done rolling up the log. Cover the dough and let it rest for 20 minutes.

Final Shape 

Using the palms of your hands, roll the cylinder into a log about 15cm/6″ long. Wrap the dough around your and connect the two ends in the middle of your palm. using some force on the table roll the two ends back and forth until they stick together making an O shape.

It is important to make sure the dough is connected at this point, because if not when you blanch your bagels it will come apart and unravel.


While traditional bagels are baked in a wood-fired oven, often on a soaked board for this recipe we will be baking them in a home oven but using a high temperature. Preheat your oven to 260°C/500°F.

Keywords: bagel