I didn’t really know what a bagel was until moving to the East Coast. I mean, I had eaten plenty of bagels, but I had never really, truly, had a bagel. The difference is incredible. A true bagel has chew, but still remains light and fluffy, has a crust, but can easily be eaten. There were two places that made amazing bagels in Cambridge, MA Bagelsaurus and Forge Baking Co . What was even better about these bagels than other East Coast bagels, or even my own jalapeño bagels (which are still amazing), is that they are sourdough, and have been fermented for a few days. The slightly sour taste and incredible chewy but light texture take these bagels to the next level. Problem is when we moved to the West Coast I couldn’t find good bagels. So I learned to make them myself. These rock. Try the and fall in love with bagels all over again.
There is a ton that goes into sourdough and I am not an expert by any means. I just started my own sourdough starter a few months ago. I used this tutorial from The Kitchn.
A few other notes:
- I used volume measurements for some of the ingredients because my scale does not seem to be accurate for such small quantities.
- Non-diastatic malt powder is for flavor, you can omit it if you don’t have it, though I think it adds something special.
- I tried several times to make these without added yeast, but they did not reach the heights I was hoping for (literally they didn’t poof like I wanted them to). You can omit the yeast, but be warned, as written, this recipe will create a pretty dense bagel. It is still pretty good, but I like to poof.
- I start on Wednesday to have bagels for Saturday morning.
- This recipe was adapted from Honest Cooking.
Vegan Fermented Sourdough Bagels
For the Sponge
- 500 g (4 cups) bread flour
- 500 ml (2 cups) water
- 160 g 100% hydration wheat sourdough starter
For the Dough
- 1000 g (5 cups) of sourdough sponge (above)
- 480 g (4 cups) bread flour, divided
- 3 tsp non-diastatic barley malt powder
- 3 tsp fine sea salt
- 1 tsp dry yeast
- Make the sponge:
- Mix your starter with the water and whisk until foamy. Add 500 g flour. Mix thoroughly until all lumps are gone. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Cover loosely with plastic or lid and leave for at room temperature least 6-8 hours.
- Make the dough:
- Measure 1000g of the starter sponge. You can use the rest to refresh your starter, throw it in some pancakes, or compost it.
- To the starter add the salt, malt, yeast and 480 grams of flour in a bowl of a stand mixer and mix together with the dough hook until they form a ball. – if you are measuring by volume not weight start with 3 cups of flour and add more a 1/4 cup at a time mixing until it is incorporated before adding more.
- Continue kneading the dough with the dough hook until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. You can do this by hand, but you are way stronger than me if you do!
- Immediately divide the dough into 12 equal parts. I weigh mine and go about 4.5 oz per bagel for 12 bagels.
- Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper.
- Roll each portion of dough to form a log about 10″ long, then shape into a bagel by bringing the ends together and folding one over the other. Set formed bagels on baking sheet with a little room in-between.
- Once all bagels have been formed cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator at least overnight, and up to 3 days. I like them best after 2-3 days, but sometimes I don’t plan far enough ahead and I just let them go overnight.
- It is super important to let the bagels rest for a bit. It creates the taste and texture you are looking for in these delightfully perfect bagels.
- On the day you are planning to bake remove the bagels from the refrigerator 1-2 hours before you plan to boil them. It is possible to boil right from the refrigerator, but I think the texture improves if you let them warm up a bit.
- Preheat your oven to 500F.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. I use a 3qt wide saucepan. It is about 5″ deep and has a large flat bottom. Any wide saucepan will do.
- I also have my cooling rack out and ready to go.
- Once the water has reached a rolling boil carefully add as many bagels as will comfortably fit into your pot. 4 fit into mine. I have to nudge mine a bit to make sure they don’t stick to the bottom.
- Once you have placed your bagels in the pot set a timer for 30 seconds. When it goes off flip all the bagels and set the timer for 30 more seconds. After the second timer remove the bagels from the pot and place them on the cooling rack. If you are going to add toppings now is the time to do it while they are sticky with water.
- Bring the pot of water back to a rolling boil before boiling another batch of bagels.
- Continue with above steps until all bagels are boiled and resting on the cooling rack.
- Transfer bagels onto the parchment lined baking sheet.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until perfectly golden all over. Use the rack in your oven that is the hottest. For me it is the bottom rack.
- Once baked place bagels on the cooling rack and allow to cool until you can easily hold them.
- Store cooled, uneaten bagels in plastic on the counter for up to 3 days, or in the freezer if you can manage to keep them that long.