These sourdough blueberry bagels don a blistered crust, sweet dried blueberries, and a perfectly chewy, New York bagel-style interior. Though the bagels spend a night in the fridge before boiling and baking, the hands on time goes quickly. There’s no need to toast them when they are fresh–they are just that good.
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I started down the road of sourdough baking a few years ago now, and I haven’t looked back.
When dough is allowed the time it needs to ferment, you get amazing results as far as the quality of the bake.
My husband and father-in-law said these homemade bagels are the best bagels they’ve ever had. I think part of that is being able to eat them fresh out of the oven while the crust is still crispy.
If you haven’t had a bagel as fresh as a homemade one, you’re in for a treat.
The recipe yields a batch of 6 bagels. The process spans two days because of an overnight proof in the refrigerator, so you’ll want to plan ahead.
You can expect the bagel dough to be quite stiff. The recipe calls for bread flour and a long knead which both contribute to a chewy texture.
Traditional bagels are slightly sweetened with barley malt syrup. You can purchase a jar, or simply use honey as an alternative if that’s what you have around.
You will also notice that the recipe calls for sweetened dried blueberries. I tested fresh blueberries in one batch, but they didn’t add enough sweetness. Sweetened dried fruit works best.
The bagels take a quick bath in a pot of boiling water before baking. The boil sets the crust and adds moisture for steam during baking.
The crust blisters during baking due to the overnight ferment in the refrigerator which adds a lovely touch.
Tips for Making Sourdough Blueberry Bagels
- It’s crucial to use an active sourdough starter. If you store your starter in the fridge, feed it a few hours before you intend to mix your dough. Give it time to rise and become very bubbly.
- Allow your bagel dough enough time to ferment and proof. You’ll know if your bagels are under-proofed if they sink to the bottom of your boiling pot instead of floating. If this is the case, they will bake up dense and rise up into a funny mounded shape. When they are proofed properly, they should keep their shape, bake up desirably chewy, and have a slightly open crumb.
- I incorporate the dried berries during shaping. This gives me the flexibility to make different flavors of bagels in the same batch. If you’re making all 6 bagels blueberry, you could opt to add the fruit in at the very end of the kneading process.
Equipment and Ingredients
- Kitchen scale
- Stand mixer fitted with a dough hook
- Lidded glass bowl
- Bench scraper
- Half sheet baking pan
- Plastic wrap
- Large pot (I use my enamel-coated Dutch oven)
- Spider strainer spoon
- Parchment paper
- Barley malt syrup (honey will work as a substitute)
How to Make Sourdough Blueberry Bagels
Step 1 – Make and Ferment the Sourdough Bagel Dough
Weighing your dough ingredients instead of measuring them will give you a more consistent result.
Add your sourdough starter, water, barley malt syrup (or honey), salt, and bread flour to the bowl of your mixer fitted with a dough hook.
Once the dough comes together, you’re going to give it a long knead. Since it’s a stiff dough, though, you might notice your mixer lagging as you continue kneading and the dough becomes stronger.
You can try increasing the speed of your mixer to compensate, but if that doesn’t help, transfer your dough to a clean countertop and finish by hand. It’s helpful to at least get it going in the mixer.
Knead until your dough is very smooth and stiff enough that it almost resists being kneaded–about 10-12 minutes.
Form the dough into a nice ball.
Place the dough in a lidded bowl with the lid propped on and let it bulk ferment at room temperature for 4 hours.
Step 2 – Shape the Bagels and Proof
Now it’s time to divide the dough into 6 portions. Weigh your mass of dough in grams and divide the total by 6 to find the weight that each bagel should be. Cut the dough with a bench scraper and weigh as you go.
Form the portions into balls. I do this by pulling the ends of each piece of dough to the middle and pinching the seam closed. Then I roll the ball seam-side-down against the countertop with the palm of my hand to tighten the skin.
Cover the dough balls with a flour sack towel and let them rest for 10 minutes.
To shape the first bagel, place a ball smooth-side-down on the countertop and press it flat into a circle.
Press dried blueberries or blueberry-flavored dried cranberries into the dough, doing your best to distribute them evenly.
Begin rolling the circle up from the bottom, pressing the seam down with each turn, until your dough is in the shape of a log.
Lengthen the log to about 9 inches by rolling it against the counter with both hands as you use even pressure.
Hold one end of the dough in your palm. Wrap the dough around the back of your hand until the ends overlap in your palm.
Continue to hold the bagel around your hand while you roll the seam back and forth on your counter. This will seal it closed.
Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and sprinkle with a layer of cornmeal to prevent the bagels from sticking. You can use a small sheet pan at this point, if you want to.
Arrange the bagels on the pan. Feel free to give them a little stretch if you didn’t make the hole big enough in the first place.
Cover the blueberry bagels with plastic wrap, but give them room to expand. Allow them to proof at room temperature for 1 hour. They should look “poofy” at this point.
Keep them covered, and refrigerate them for 12 hours (a few hours longer should be fine).
Step 3 – Boil and Bake the Bagels
The next day, you’ll notice the bagels will have risen even more until they are pressed against the plastic.
Preheat your oven to 500°F and start a pot of water boiling on the stove. I use my Dutch oven for boiling bagels since it’s the perfect size.
I have chosen not to add any other ingredients to the water in my boiling pot. I find they aren’t necessary to achieve the result I’m going for.
Once the water is boiling, remove your bagels from the fridge. Gently drop 3 of them at a time in the pot. Let them boil for a total of 30 seconds, flipping them halfway through.
Use a spider strainer spoon to gently lift each bagel out of the pot, allowing any excess water to drip off.
Place the bagels back onto the baking sheet (use a parchment-lined half-sheet pan now if you used a smaller pan for proofing).
Bake the bagels on the center rack of your preheated oven for 10 minutes. Then lower the temperature to 425°F and continue baking them until they are golden brown.
Place them on a cooling rack, and allow them to cool completely before you slice into them and slather with some butter or cream cheese.
How to Store Sourdough Blueberry Bagels
The bagels will store fine at room temperature for a couple of days if you toast them after they are a few hours old. If you’re not planning on consuming them all right away, I would suggest you slice them and freeze in a gallon zipper freezer bag for optimal freshness.
Pop in the toaster when you’re ready to enjoy one for a quick breakfast.
If you make this recipe and love it, I would greatly appreciate if you would come back to leave 5 stars and a review! Tag me on Instagram @aberlehome to show me what you made!