New York Style Sourdough Bagels: A Recipe from the Farm

Last Updated on February 18, 2024 by TheFarmChicken

Sourdough Bagels one with cream cheese on board

Let me start out by saying I haven’t been to New York, so I don’t have the personal experience of eating a NY bagel. Maybe someday. With that being said, the New York style bagel is defined by the ingredients and the technique used to make it. We look at that further on. After researching the New York Style bagel, I put that research into making a bagel, that with the help of Agnes my sourdough starter, is full of flavor, soft, and chewy. The perfect vehicle for cream cheese and other delicious toppings. With only 5 ingredients, I hope you love it! A New York Style Bagel made right on the farm. Let’s dive right into New York Style Sourdough Bagels: A Recipe from the Farm.

Have you ever had homemade bagels? They are so good, and you won’t want to go back to store bought bagels once you have tried homemade bagels. The flavor and texture are so different and in a good way!

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Do you have a sourdough starter?

If you don’t have your own sourdough starter you can learn all about making one with Agnes. A sourdough starter is a collection of wild yeasts that are used to add flavor and leaven bread and other baked goods!

bagels with cream cheese on board displayed

A Look Behind the New York Style Bagel:

From the research I did the main things that make a NY style bagel a NY style bagel is the texture, the way it is shaped and what it is boiled in. NY style bagels have a crispy exterior and soft and chewy interior texture. Some of which is achieved by the traditional way they boil their bagels before baking them. Boiling bagels is a large contributor to the chewy texture you know and love in fresh bagels.

Montreal vs New York Bagels:

Think of it this way, Montreal bagels have a bigger hole and don’t work as well for bagel sandwiches whereas a NY Bagel has a smaller hole and are better for bagel sandwiches. Montreal bagels are also known for being slightly sweeter than the New York Style bagel. Montreal bagels are usually boiled in honey water before baking them and the New York style bagel is commonly boiled in barley malt syrup.

The Bagel Ingredients:

Active Sourdough Starter

You want your sourdough starter to be doubled and active when you go to start this recipe. Usually this is around 6-8 hours after feeding your starter. This depends on temperature, starter maturity and other factors. This is something you get more and more used to as you work with your sourdough starter.

The Water

When working with sourdough you always want to use unchlorinated water. I usually use distilled water but you can choose what works best for you as long as it is not chlorinated.

This seems to be a good place to talk about the New York water. People say that the softness of the New York water contributes to the famous flavor and texture of the New York bagel. Obviously, I have ND water ha so there is a difference there but I wanted to mention the thought process behind NY bagels being a NY bagel because of the water they boil thier bagels in NY.

Flour

I use Dakota Maid Bread Flour for most all my baked goods. Really any high quality, high protein bread or all-purpose flour should give you a great result.

Brown Sugar

The brown sugar in this recipe brings flavor and a touch of sweetness to these bagels, a defining characteristic of NY style bagels. The sugar also feeds the wild yeast and just makes your starter even happier.

Kosher Salt

This recipe doesn’t need that much salt but a little goes a long way for adding flavor to these bagels. I like using kosher salt.

Barley malt syrup
Barley Malt Syrup

Barley Malt Syrup

A little bit of an investment and not a common ingredient Barley Malt Syrup is put in the boiling water to give just the right crispy, chewy, golden-brown exterior to these bagels. This is another defining ingredient for a NY style bagel. You can use other things for this like maple syrup, it will still be good, just not as good.

You will need 2 tablespoons barley malt syrup for 16 cups of water.

Linked below in “Shop this Post”.

Maple Syrup

If I don’t have Barley Malt Syrup this is what I like to use in the water. I have found that Maple Syrup is the closest thing to Barley Malt Syrup. All you do is add a couple tablespoons into 16 cups of water.

sourdough bagels with one sliced

The Bagel Making Timeline

  • 1:00 PM Feed your sourdough starter
  • 8:00-9:00 PM Mix up the ingredients for the bagels using your active starter.
  • 9:30 PM ish Do a set of stretch and folds.
  • 9:35 PM ish Put bagel dough in fridge overnight or for about 8-10 hours.

The Next Day / Bake Day

  • 7:30 AM Take the bagel dough out of the fridge and shape.
  • 8:30 AM Boil and bake the Sourdough Bagels

Shaping the Bagels

Shaped Bagels on baking sheet
Shaped Bagels

There are two different ways to shape a bagel. I use the Rope and Tie method but if you prefer the Poke method that works too. Just know that the Rope and Tie is the more traditional looking bagel shaping method. You can check out my YouTube channel for a video on how to shape a bagel.

Poke a Hole Method:

  • When you have reached the point in the recipe where you need to shape your bagels, start by dividing the dough into 10 equal pieces.
  • Roll each piece into a ball with a circular motion and set aside.
  • Once you have rolled each piece of bagel dough, take and “poke” your finger into the center of the bagel.
  • Work the hole a little bigger and set on a lightly greased parchment paper lined baking sheet.

Rope and Tie Method:

  • This method is my personal favorite, is fun to do, and gives you the most traditional bagel shape. You can check out my YouTube video for help on how to shape bagels using this method! (Coming Soon!)
  • At the stage of the recipe where you need to shape your bagels, divide into 10 equal pieces.
  • For the first shape, take and create tension and make it into a log about 2 inches long.
  • After each piece has been shaped into a log roll the dough log into a rope about 10 inches long.
  • Next take and wrap the dough around with your index fingers, into a circle and “knot” the ends of the bagel. (Like the first part of tying a shoe.)
  • After you have done this take and roll the knot on the counter to incorporate the dough together.
  • Place on a lightly greased parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  • Your bagels are shaped and ready to proof!

Making Different Kinds of Bagels:

You can make different kinds of bagels too. I personally prefer to add the different flavors into the toppings I choose than to actually put them in the bagel dough. I feel like it brings more flavor that way. If you would rather just make the bagels themselves different flavors, you can do that too.

Bagel sandwich with summer sausage

For example, if you want to make an everything bagel you would roll the bagel in everything bagel seasoning after you boil it but before you put it in the oven to bake. You could do this with poppy seeds or sesame seeds too. If you still wanted to have an everything bagel you could also just sprinkle the seasoning on top of the cream cheese on the bagel. (My preferred method.)

Another way would be to include raisins and cinnamon to make cinnamon raisin bagels or blueberries into the dough to make blueberry bagels when you are mixing it. There are a lot of possibilities so you will just want to try a few out and see what you like the best!

Favorite Bagel Toppings:

Cream Cheese of Course and then on top of that:

  • Chokecherry, blueberry, blackberry, raspberry jam, etc.
  • Everything Bagel Seasoning with a thin slice of Summer Sausage
  • I want to try smoked salmon and cream cheese sometime!

Pin for Later:

A pin for NY Style Bagels

New York Style Sourdough Bagels: A Recipe from the Farm

  • 250 grams active sourdough starter
  • 300 grams water, distilled or filtered (UNCHLORINATED)
  • 620 grams bread flour or high quality all-purpose flour
  • 30 grams brown sugar
  • 12 grams kosher salt

For Boiling the Bagels:

  • 2 T. Barley Malt Syrup or Maple Syrup
  • 16 cups water

Instructions

  • In a large mixing bowl, or bowl of a stand mixer, combine the sourdough starter, water and brown sugar until it is a slurry.
  • Then into the large bowl measure in the flour and knead by hand or with the dough hook attachment for about a minute, until the dough is shaggy in texture. Cover with a tea towel and let sit and rest or autolyze for 30 minutes.
  • After autolyze, add in the kosher salt and knead on low speed for 6 minutes.
  • When the kneading is done transfer the bagel dough to a greased bowl and let the dough rest for 30 minutes.
  • Complete one set of stretch and folds.

How to do a Stretch and Fold:

Take hold of one side of the dough and pull up stretching the dough but not ripping it. Fold it over into the center and then repeat on all 4 sides. Flip the dough over. You have completed a set of stretch and folds.

  • After the stretch and fold, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight or for around 8-10 hours.

The Next Day/Bake Day

  • The next morning take the bagel dough out and on a clean work surface, divide into 10 equal pieces. You can weigh them out on a gram scale if you want them to be exact.
  • Then shape the sourdough bagels.
  • How to shape bagels: (See Above Text)
  • As you shape them place on a lightly greased parchment paper lined sheet pan.
  • Once shaped let rest covered with a tea towel on the counter for 1 hour.
  • At about a half hour of resting start your water and barley malt or maple syrup boiling and preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  • Boil a large pot of water, about 16 cups, with 2 T barley malt syrup or maple syrup.   
  • Once the water is boiling strong place 2-3 of the shaped bagels in the water at a time. Boil for 30 seconds on each side. Take them out of the water with a slotted spoon and place back on the baking sheet.
  • Once they are all boiled place the baking sheet into a 400-degree oven for 25-30 minutes or until lightly golden brown on tops and golden brown on the bottom.
  • Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack! Enjoy!

This recipe makes 10 bagels.

New York Style Sourdough Bagels: A Recipe from the Farm

These New York Style Sourdough Bagels are soft and chewy on the inside and crispy and golden brown on the outside. Have you had a homemade bagel before?
Print Recipe
sourdough bagels on a displayed on board

Ingredients

  • 250 grams active sourdough starter
  • 300 grams water distilled or filtered (UNCHLORINATED)
  • 620 grams bread flour or high quality all-purpose flour
  • 30 grams brown sugar
  • 12 grams kosher salt
  • 2 T. Barley Malt Syrup or Maple Syrup

Instructions

  • In a large mixing bowl, or bowl of a stand mixer, combine the sourdough starter, water and brown sugar until it is a slurry.
  • Then into the large bowl measure in the flour and knead by hand or with the dough hook attachment for about a minute, until the dough is shaggy in texture. Cover with a tea towel and let sit and rest or autolyze for 30 minutes.
  • After autolyze, add in the kosher salt and knead on low speed for 6 minutes.
  • When the kneading is done transfer the bagel dough to a greased bowl and let the dough rest for 30 minutes.
  • Complete one set of stretch and folds.

How to do a Stretch and Fold:

  • Take hold of one side of the dough and pull up stretching the dough but not ripping it. Fold it over into the center and then repeat on all 4 sides. Flip the dough over. You have completed a set of stretch and folds.
  • After the stretch and fold, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight or for around 8-10 hours.

The Next Day/ Bake Day

  • The next morning take the bagel dough out and on a clean work surface, divide into 10 equal pieces. You can weigh them out on a gram scale if you want them to be exact.
  • Then shape the sourdough bagels.
  • How to shape bagels: (See Above Text)
  • Two methods: Poke hole and Rope and Tie
  • As you shape them place on a lightly greased parchment paper lined sheet pan.
  • Once shaped let rest covered with a tea towel on the counter for 1 hour.
  • At about a half hour of resting start your water and barley malt or maple syrup boiling and preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  • Boil a large pot of water, about 16 cups, with 2 T barley malt syrup or maple syrup.
  • Once the water is boiling strong place 2-3 of the shaped bagels in the water at a time. Boil for 30 seconds on each side. Take them out of the water with a slotted spoon and place back on the baking sheet.
  • Once they are all boiled place the baking sheet into a 400-degree oven for 25-30 minutes or until lightly golden brown on tops and golden brown on the bottom.
  • Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack! Enjoy!

Notes

Bagels are best eaten fresh and there is no need to toast these bagels fresh. The are so soft and delicious. The next day pop them in the toaster and they are still good!
You can also freeze these bagels in a freezer zip top bag.
Servings: 10 Bagels

Bagels are best eaten fresh and there is no need to toast these bagels fresh. The are so soft and delicious. The next day pop them in the toaster and they are still good!

Comment below if you have any questions or comments. I’d love to hear your thoughts and if you have ever been to a New York Bagel Shop. I hope you love this recipe from our farm to your home. Happy Baking!

Mariah N | TheFarmChicken

FAQ’s

What makes New York style bagels different from regular bagels?

  • Always boiled in water that usually has barely malt added to the water. NY bagels are slightly sweet with a crispy exterior and chewy interior.

What do New Yorker call cream cheese on a bagel?

  • Schmear – this is commonly the cream cheese that they schmear on the bagel.

Do real New Yorkers toast their bagels?

  • No, they don’t. If the bagel is well made and fresh, you shouldn’t toast the bagel.

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O LORD, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.
Psalms 8:1

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