Three-Day Sourdough Bagels

Three-Day Sourdough Bagels


for the sour ‘old dough’

40g sourdough starter, mixed 1:1 and active
125g water, at about 20C
4g fine sea salt
280g Marriage's Very Strong 100% Canadian White Bread flour

for the simple bagel dough

450g sour ‘old dough’ (from above)
190g water, at about 20C
50g light brown sugar
6g fine sea salt
430g Marriage's Very Strong 100% Canadian White Bread flour

for pumpernickel bagels

the simple bagel dough above, plus
40g Roasted Barley Malt (RBM) Flour
4g Diastatic Malt Flour
5g carraway seeds
black poppy or other seeds, optional

for the bagel boil

2 litres/kg water
20g light brown sugar
20g Organic Barley Malt Extract / Syrup

The recipe is an old 1950s commercial baker’s recipe for sourdough bagels that uses a sour “old dough”, essentially a piece of dough held over from the previous mixing. As soon as I made it I thought this is exactly the method I’ve been looking for. There’s lots of room for personalising it, using a sour “old dough” mixed very firmly brings out a natural sweetness and complex flavour through the natural fermentation. But it’s possible only with a sturdy machine mixer and here the IGF Fornitalia 3100/Minima 5/MI 7L (5kg) Spiral Mixer making it effortless and incredibly easy to make.

It’s a three-day method: you make the sour ‘old dough’ on day one (or use a piece of old dough from that day’s bagel making), then on day two you make the dough, shape them, give them an overnight rest in the refrigerator, then on day three you bake the bagels in a moderate oven via a quick boil in a sweet malted water which makes them glow and shine.


For the sour ‘old dough’, dissolve the sourdough starter in the water then add the salt and flour. Mix everything to a firm dough (this can be done by hand) then place in a bowl, cover and leave for about 12 hours – say overnight - at 20C to rise.

For the simple bagel and pumpernickel bagel dough, place the sour ‘old dough’ in the IGF Fornitalia 3100/Minima 5/MI 7L (5kg) Spiral Mixer with add the other ingredients. Mix on speed 1 for about 3 minutes until the dough starts to come together then turn the dial up to speed 4-5 and mix for a further  6-8 minutes until smooth and elastic. Remove the dough from the bowl, leave covered at 24C for about an hour then shape into bagels. Place on a tray, cover with plastic and leave overnight in the refrigerator.

To bake: make the bagel boil, place the water and ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil then leave simmering.

Heat the oven to 170C fan. Have a baking tray ready, ideally lined with a silicone pastry mat, and any seeds you want on top nearby (optional). Place 2-3 bagels in the hot water (at about 90c) and poach for 60 seconds before carefully flipping them in the water and poach again on the other side for another minute. Scoop them out of the water, either into the seeds or simply onto the silicone mat then poach another 2-3 bagels. Place these on the tray with the first batch and immediately bake this tray for about 30-40 minutes until golden brown. Repeat with the remaining bagels: the trick is to make sure, for each tray, no more than 5 minutes elapses between the first bagel going into the hot water and the last bagel coming out of the water.