Tag: tomato basil sourdough bagels

How to Make Sourdough Bagels (with Three Flavour Variations!)

Over the last few years I’ve fallen in love with bagels for breakfast again.

I remember when the bagel craze hit Canada in the 1990s—there were bagel shops popping up all over the place. There was one near church and every Sunday after church my mom, my sister, and I would go there for lunch, and then on the way out we’d buy a dozen bagels and cream cheese so I could have breakfast for the coming week.

My favourite bagel at the time (and perhaps still is) was chocolate chip. That particular bagel store also made chocolate chip cream cheese. So every Sunday I’d head home with a dozen chocolate chip bagels and chocolate chip cream cheese.

I remember one particular Sunday where we decided not to have lunch, but rather my mom just sent me in to get my bagels for the week. The girl at the checkout counter packing my order seemed to hesitate when I said I wanted a dozen chocolate chip bagels. And when I also asked for two containers of chocolate chip cream cheese, she said, “Do your parents know you’re buying only chocolate chip?”

I think there was some implicit bias that chocolate shouldn’t be for breakfast. However, if a little dash of chocolate is going to make me eat a bagel and cream cheese and keep me full until lunch, what’s the harm in that?

So when I started creating a sourdough starter last year, one thing I was particularly interested in was making my own bagels—especially chocolate chip ones.

The Basic Sourdough Bagel Recipe

The first thing to master is the basic sourdough bagel recipe, which is not all too different from a basic sourdough bread recipe.

The full recipe is below, but in a nutshell, you mix up the ingredients the night before, let it rise overnight, form into bagels the next morning, and then boil and bake them to golden brown perfection.

Flavour Variations

Once you’ve mastered the basic recipe and done it once or twice, then the door opens to tweaking with flavour and toppings to get what you most desire. This can include mixing ingredients in with the dough the night before, or mixing ingredients in the next morning, or sprinkling something on top before baking them.

Here are the three that I’ve tackled:

  • Chocolate chip sourdough bagels
  • Cheddar and hot banana pepper sourdough bagels
  • Sun-dried tomato and basil sourdough bagels

All of them turned out super delicious. Chocolate chip is great with a thick smear of cream cheese, and the cheddar/pepper and tomato/basil ones make great breakfast sandwiches (with egg, bacon, mayonnaise, and a marmalade or hot pepper jelly).

How to Make Chocolate Chip Bagels

When tweaking the basic bagel recipe, the question I always have to ask myself is: When is it safe to add ingredients to the dough?

Since chocolate chips are stored at room temperature and shouldn’t spoil being in the dough overnight, I added them in during the initial mixing stage.

I prefer using mini chocolate chips, but if all you can find is regular size, roughly chopping them with a knife can make a wonderful difference. As for what kind of chocolate, I go with semi-sweet, but choose your favourite. Something tells me dark chocolate would go great with some butter and served with black coffee.

I went with 100g of chocolate chips, but if you like it a little sparser or a little denser, feel free to adjust to your taste.

How to Make Cheddar and Hot Banana Pepper Bagels

This is again a recipe variation that you can change to what you find locally and what your specific tastes are. If you prefer hotter peppers like jalapeño, or if you prefer fresh peppers (whereas I used pickled), go with the one you like best. I use cheddar because I always have it on hand and it’s the cheapest cheese at the store, but if you’ve got a nice sharp dry cheese in your fridge looking for a use, this might be the one.

I was again faced with the question of when to add my ingredients. Since my banana peppers are pickled, I chopped them up a little more and tossed them in with the dough the night before. If I was using fresh peppers, I likely would have mixed them in the next day.

For the cheese, I definitely did that the next day. Cheese at room temperature in a moist environment does not sound like good news.

How to Make Sun-Dried Tomato and Basil Bagels

That eternal question of when to add the extra ingredients arises here again.

My tomatoes technically aren’t sun-dried, they’re dehydrator-dried, but they would work pretty similarly. A dehydrated / dried food in a moist environment will absorb the moisture, and you don’t want anything taking moisture away from your dough or else it might not rise properly. Additionally, now-moist tomato pieces at room temperature overnight does not sound good. So, I added these the following morning.

Since I was using dried basil from our garden, it was a similar issue, so I added it the next morning.

Stocking Up On Bagels

Much like when I went to that bagel store after church and stocked up, back in March I had a couple weeks off work and decided to stock my freezer with bagels. The batch makes eight bagels and I managed to get six batches done—48 bagels—so I enjoyed them for quite a while, and I think I still have a few kicking around in the freezer.

If only I could get some of that chocolate chip cream cheese, then my morning routine would be perfect.

Sourdough Bagels (with flavour variations!)

With a little bit of planning and patience, you can bake up some soft and delicious sourdough bagels to bring some sunshine to your morning breakfast!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 15 hours
Cook Time 25 minutes
Course Bread, Breakfast
Servings 8


  • Kitchen Scale (measurements are provided if you don't have a scale)
  • Large Bowl
  • Plastic Wrap
  • Large Pot
  • Baking Sheet
  • Parchment Paper


  • 150 g Active Sourdough Starter (about 3/4 cup)
  • 250 g Warm Water (about 1 cup and 2 Tbsp)
  • 24 g White Sugar (about 2 Tbsp)
  • 500 g Bread Flour, or All-Purpose Flour if you're in Canada (about 4 cups and 2 Tbsp)
  • 9 g Salt (about 1 1/2 tsp)
  • Cooking Spray
  • 1 Tbsp Honey (optional)
  • Toppings like sesame seeds, poppy seeds, and bagel seasoning (optional)


Making the Dough

  • In a large bowl with plenty of room for the dough to rise later, whisk together the sourdough starter, water, and sugar. I find it best to whisk with a fork.
  • Add flour and salt. Whisk with fork until a rough dough is formed, then mix by hand until no lumps remain. The dough will be fairly dry at this point.
  • Cover the bowl / dough with a damp towel and let rest for an hour.
  • Work the dough into a smooth ball. I find it easiest to pick up the dough and smooth it with my hands, rolling it over frequently in my hands. Only do this for about twenty seconds so you don't overwork the dough.

Bulk Rise

  • Spray a piece of plastic wrap with cooking spray and use it to cover the bowl. The sprayed side is down so if the dough rises and touches the plastic wrap, it won't stick. Let rise 10-12 hours at room temperature, or 8-10 hours if you're in a warmer climate or keep your house warm.
    Sourdough is as much an art as it is a science. The more you make sourdough, the better you'll be at recognizing when it's ready. Because my climate is dry, I let it rise the full twelve hours.
    Since I do a full twelve hours, I do this as an overnight rise. If you're in a warm and humid environment and your dough takes about 8 hours to rise, you could do this as a same-day project.

Shape the Bagels and Second Rise

  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Give it a quick spritz of cooking spray.
  • Divide the dough into eight even balls. You can do this with the scale for a more exact measurement; I usually eyeball it. Roll each piece into a ball and let them all rest on the baking sheet for about fifteen minutes.
  • Shape the bagels. I poke a hole through the ball of dough and then insert a finger from the other side, twirling my fingers around each other to stretch out the bagel hole. I find the bagels "close up" the hole, so if you like a hole in your bagel, make it a little large knowing it'll get smaller in the next few steps.
  • Cover bagels with a damp towel and let rest at room temperature for twenty minutes.

Boiling Bagels

  • While the bagels are resting, fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil. Stir in the honey. This will give the bagels a bit of color. (If you're vegan or allergic to honey, you can omit this.)
    While doing this, preheat the oven to 425 F.
  • When bagels have rested and water is boiling, add the bagels (two or three at a time) to the pot. Boil for thirty seconds on each side. The bagels usually float, but if they're at the bottom of the pot, give them a nudge with a slotted spoon to ensure it's not sticking to the bottom of the pot.
    This step gives the bagels a thin crust, which prevents it from ballooning like a loaf of bread when baking.
  • When boiled, transfer back to the baking sheet and boil the next batch.
  • Optional: When the bagels are cool enough to touch, you could dip them in bagel toppings like sesame seeds, poppy seeds, or bagel seasoning.
    I usually do not do this as plain sourdough bagels are quite nice.

Baking the Bagels

  • Place the baking sheet in the middle of the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes.
    Optional: After removing them from the oven, you can flip the bagels over and bake for 2 minutes more. This will give colour to the bagel bottoms. I don't always do this because when I flip them sometimes they look toasty on the bottom already.
  • Transfer to a wire rack to cool.


Flavour Variations:
Chocolate Chip Bagels
Add 100g of mini chocolate chips to the initial stage when adding flour and salt, so they get worked in nicely. If you don’t have mini chocolate chips, you can roughly chop regular sized chocolate chips. I use semi-sweet, but use any sweetness you prefer. You can also add more or less chocolate chips, to your preference.
Cheddar and Banana Pepper Bagels
This is a surprisingly good combination! You can use any amount of peppers and cheese to your preference. You can swap out banana peppers for any hot pepper you prefer. If using pickled peppers, chop them finely and add them in the initial step with the flour and salt. If using fresh peppers, add them the next day when working the dough into eight balls. Work the dough a little more than usual to work the peppers in. If adding cheese, add a little bit when dividing the dough into eight balls, again, working the dough a little extra to work the cheese in. Reserve some cheese to sprinkle on top of the bagels right before baking.
Sun-dried Tomato and Basil Bagels
Add sun-dried tomatoes and basil the next day when working the dough into eight balls, working the dough a little extra so the ingredients mix in. You can use any amount of tomatoes and basil to your preference.
Keyword bagels, Sourdough, sourdough bagels, sourdough starter