Homemade bagels are absolutely incredible and as we head into the warmer months, I wanted to share a blueberry bagel version! These Sourdough Discard Blueberry Bagels are light and fluffy, packed with fresh blueberries, and have a slight sourdough tang.
If you're looking for other bagel recipes, check out these Sourdough Discard Bagels (they're amazing with everything bagel seasoning) and these Cinnamon Raisin Sourdough Discard Bagels. And if you're looking for other sourdough discard recipes, try these Sourdough Discard Pretzel Bites and these Sourdough Discard Rolls.
This recipe uses fresh blueberries, and as long as you have sourdough discard, you are well on your way to making these blueberry bagels!
- Bread flour: Using bread flour gives these bagels a crustier exterior. In a pinch, you can use all-purpose flour, but know that your bagels will be softer and less crusty.
- Granulated sugar: You will use 1 Tablespoon of sugar in the dough and then 2 Tablespoons of sugar in the water bath when you boil the bagels. This helps give a crusty, sweet exterior.
- Instant yeast: Even though we're using sourdough discard, we do still need to use a bit of yeast. This recipe uses 1 teaspoon instant yeast.
- Sourdough discard: The sourdough discard should be unfed and at room temperature. This recipe is designed for a sourdough starter with a 1:1:1 ratio (when you feed your starter, it's with 1 part starter, 1 part flour, 1 part water). If your starter uses a different ratio, you will need to make adjustments to the recipe.
- Blueberries: I highly recommend using fresh blueberries to make these bagels. You can use frozen berries or dried berries as well; see the substitutions section below for more detail.
See full recipe below for detailed directions.
Kneading the dough (and getting the right consistency) is the hardest part, but you'll have this recipe ready to go in no time!
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine flour, 1 Tablespoon sugar, yeast and salt. Stir to combine.
Add sourdough discard then fresh blueberries.
With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour in ½ cup + 1 Tablespoon warm water. The dough will seem insanely dry and as if it is not going to come together. This is ok. Be patient!
Transfer the dough to a work surface and knead for 4-5 minutes. As you knead, more liquid will be released from the berries and the dough will come together. Add more water or flour (1 Tablespoon at a time) if needed to reach your desired consistency. The dough should be smooth and not sticky.
Transfer the dough to a large, oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for 90 minutes until doubled in size.
Turn the dough onto a work surface and divide into 8 equal (ish) pieces. This doesn't have to be exact (but if you want them to be exact, you can measure each piece on a kitchen scale).
Using your palm to create friction, roll each piece into a ball.
Use your thumb to press through the center of the dough ball and stretch to form a hole. Make the hole bigger than you think it should be - this will shrink. Let the bagels rest for 20 minutes.
Boil each bagel for 15-30 seconds per side. Use a slotted spoon or spatula to transfer the bagels to the prepared baking sheets.
Bake until golden brown, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool fully.
Hint: The bagels will rise and expand a lot. Keep this in mind as you're shaping them. You'll want to make the center hole larger than you think it should be!
There are a few easy substitutions that you can make with this recipe.
- Use frozen blueberries - If you're using frozen blueberries, make sure to let them thaw first and pour off any liquid that separates from the berries before adding them to the dough. You may find that you need to add a little extra water as you're mixing the dough, as the berries will have lost some of their water content while thawing.
- Use dried blueberries - If you'd like to use dried blueberries, this will also work! You can follow this recipe for Cinnamon Raisin Sourdough Discard Bagels and use dried blueberries instead of raisins. Omit the ground cinnamon.
- Boil with honey - This recipe boils the bagels in water with 2 Tablespoons of granulated sugar, but you can also substitute that sugar with honey or agave nectar.
What is sourdough discard?
Sourdough discard is what is left over after you feed your sourdough starter. A sourdough starter is a natural fermentation of flour and water that is creating its own yeast. You can use the discard in recipes like these Sourdough Discard Blueberry Bagels for great flavor and additional lift.
Every sourdough starter (and therefore, every sourdough discard) is different. This recipe is designed for discard from a sourdough starter with a 1:1:1 ratio (when you feed your starter, it's with 1 part starter, 1 part flour, 1 part water). If your starter uses a different ratio, you will need to make adjustments to the recipe.
When you're kneading the dough, if it seems too wet or too dry, add more flour or water (1 Tablespoon at a time) until you reach the desired dough consistency.
Troubleshooting with Bagels
There are a few common issues that come up when baking bagels.
- Dough is too wet / too dry: After you knead the dough, it should be fairly sturdy and not sticky. If the dough is too wet, add 1 Tablespoon flour at a time until the dough smooths out. If the dough is too dry, add 1 Tablespoon water at a time until you can make a smooth dough.
- Bagels are sticking to the parchment paper: Your bagels should not be sticking to the paper. First, make sure you're using parchment paper and not wax paper. Second, make sure you're letting the water drip off of the bagels after boiling so they're not soaking as they're sitting on the baking sheet. Finally, it may also be the case that your dough is too wet (too much water in the dough).
- Bagels look shaggy after baking: If your bagels are looking shaggy and not smooth after baking, the dough was not kneaded for long enough. Make sure to knead until you have a smooth dough!
- Center hole has completely filled: I have this issue often when I bake bagels (and honestly, it will be ok - they'll still be delicious). Remember the dough will rise and expand a lot! Make the center holes much larger than you think they need to be.
I like to make the dough in a KitchenAid 5-Quart Stand Mixer, but this can also be made in a large mixing bowl with a wooden spoon. Use a kitchen scale to measure and weigh the sourdough discard. You'll need a large bowl to let the dough rise, then two baking sheets, a large pot for boiling water, and a cooling rack.
I recommend using a slotted spoon or spatula to remove the bagels from the boiling water.
Sourdough Discard Blueberry Bagels are best fresh, of course! If you plan to eat them within 1-2 days, store at room temperature in a sealed plastic bag. You can heat them in the microwave for about 30 seconds to make them soft again.
If you'd like to keep them longer, store them in a freezer-safe bag in the freezer for up to 3 months. Reheat them in the microwave for about 60 seconds to make them warm and soft again.
Getting the right amount of water in the dough is the key to this recipe. Blueberries are packed with water and will release those juices as you are kneading, so don't get caught off guard! As you're mixing the dough, you might feel like it's incredibly dry, but as soon as you start smashing berries (while kneading), you will have a lot more water to incorporate.
That said, add the water slowly! You can always add more; you can't take water out.
Yes. See the "substitutions" section above for directions on how to adapt this recipe for frozen blueberries.
Yes. You can follow this recipe for Cinnamon Raisin Sourdough Discard Bagels and use dried blueberries instead of raisins. Omit the ground cinnamon.
Sourdough discard is not as active as the active sourdough starter. Therefore, you need to use a leavening agent (in this case, yeast) to make sure the dough rises consistently and predictably.
Be patient! When you start kneading the dough, the blueberries are going to release a lot of juices. This will help bring your dough together. Do not make the mistake of adding too much water, then starting to knead, and ending up with a very, very sticky dough.
Sourdough Discard Blueberry Bagels
- 3 ¾ cups bread flour
- 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar divided
- 1 teaspoon instant yeast
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 200 grams (about ¾ cup) sourdough discard unfed, at room temperature
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- ½-¾ cup warm water
- Combine flour, 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar, instant yeast and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer* fitted with a dough hook. Stir to combine. Add sourdough discard and blueberries. With the mixer on low speed, add ½ cup warm water. If needed, add 1 Tablespoon additional water. This will look incredibly dry at this point, but be patient and trust the process!
- Turn the dough onto a work surface to knead by hand. As you're kneading, the blueberries will release juices (more than you would think!), which will give you more liquid to form the dough. Knead for 4-5 minutes until a smooth dough forms. If needed, add more flour or more water (1 Tablespoon at a time) to reach your desired consistency. This should be a fairly sturdy dough and not sticky.
- Transfer the dough to a large, greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise for 90 minutes or until doubled in size.
- Turn the dough out onto a smooth surface and divide into 8 equal-size pieces. Using the palm of your hand, roll each piece into a smooth ball. Use your thumb to press through the center of each ball, stretching the hole to form your bagel. Make this hole larger than you think it should be - the dough will expand. Lightly cover the bagels with a clean dish towel to rest for 20 minutes while you prepare the next step.
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Prepare 2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper and set aside. Bring a pot with 2 quarts of water and 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar to boil.
- Place each bagel in the boiling water for 15-30 seconds on each side**. You can likely fit 2-3 bagels in the pot at a time, just make sure there is enough room for them to float openly. Remove the bagels from the boiling water using a slotted spoon or spatula, letting the water drip off, and transfer to the prepared baking sheets. If needed, you can reshape the bagels a little after they've cooled.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool fully before slicing and serving.