These Sourdough Cinnamon Raisin Bagels blend the familiar flavors of cinnamon and raisins with the tangy kick of sourdough. It's a flavorful combo you won't want to miss.
This bagel recipe is stripped of any extra steps that don't bring noticeable results, as are most of my recipes. We all have things to do and I strive to make my sourdough with as little hands-on work as possible, without compromising flavor and appearance.
You have to give this recipe a try! Unless you prefer a savory bagel. Then go make Sundried Tomato Sourdough Bagels with Olive Oil first. And Chocolate Chip Sourdough Bagels right after. (Is it too late to mention I have a sourdough blueberry bagel recipe too?)
The key to these bagels' great taste is the perfect blend of flavors. Cinnamon's sweetness and juicy raisins pair wonderfully with the sourdough's tang. It's a delicious combination, especially for breakfast.
- How To Make Cinnamon Raisin Sourdough Bagels
- Substitution Notes
- Variations & Add-ins
- Tools You'll Need
- 💭Crucial Success Tips
- More Sourdough Recipes
- 📖Printable Recipe
- Cinnamon Raisin Sourdough Bagels
- Baking Schedule
- How to Store Cinnamon Raisin Sourdough Bagels
- Pin It For Later
- Why Bake With Sourdough?
- End Notes
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This recipe yields 4 bagels, which is perfect if you're just dabbling into sourdough bagels with additions and are not yet sure which ones you'll like. Feel free to double (or triple!) the recipe - I know I often do.
- active sourdough starter
When it comes to sourdough, having an active starter is key, but you don't need to stress over perfect timing. I often miss my starter's peak because I'm busy with other things, and that's alright. Mature starters are resilient. Sometimes, I take my starter right from the fridge, and with a bit more time, it works wonders in raising the dough.
Here's a handy tip: after you feed your starter, mark its height. This helps you gauge its activity quickly. For this recipe, you'll want it to be quite active, ideally when it's doubled in height or even higher, even if it's on the way down or still rising at that point!
- bread flour (or Manitoba flour)
Opting for bread flour is a smart move for crafting these homemade bagels. Its elevated gluten content adds a valuable strength to the flour, crucial for achieving a chewy texture. Personally, I've experienced a noticeable contrast when using bread flour versus the standard all purpose flour. Given that bread flour can be pricier, I tend to reserve it for recipes that demand that soft and spongy touch, like these sourdough cinnamon raisin bagels!
The water's temperature plays a crucial role in sourdough baking! If you're using cold water, that might slightly prolong the dough's rise. Using lukewarm water will shorten the first rise a bit. For this recipe, I've used cold water because it's the easiest, so I advise you to do the same. That way, you can rely on the recommended rising times.
Tap water is perfectly acceptable, as long as it's potable and doesn't carry excessive chloride. High chloride levels can be detrimental to wild yeast and bacteria. If your tap water emits a strong chlorine scent, consider opting for bottled water or filtered water as a better alternative.
Adding salt is super important in sourdough recipes! It's not just for flavor – it helps the dough become strong and rise nicely. Without salt, the dough can get sticky and weird. Salt also keeps the bread safe from bad stuff that can mess up the taste. I didn't know all this when I started with sourdough, but now I always use the right amount of salt in my bread.
I usually just use regular table salt. But if you can, find some good-quality salt without any extra stuff in it.
(There are some people in the sourdough culture that not add salt when you add the starter. It's true that salt can slow the starter down a tad, but it's not a big deal. I usually add salt with everything else because it's easier, and the small slowdown isn't a big deal. It's like your starter working at 96% instead of 100%.)
Go for sugar if you can. This recipe is designed with white or brown sugar in mind. If you go with liquid sweeteners (like honey or maple syrup), just remember to tweak the flour amount to keep things balanced because of the extra liquid.
But avoid artificial sweeteners! They won't give the yeast what it needs, and your dough won't rise properly. We're tossing in sugar to help the starter do its thing, especially since this bagel dough is on the dense side.
- baking soda (for boiling the bagels)
When you dissolve baking soda in water, it makes the water more alkaline. This alkaline boost is what makes the Maillard reaction happen. It's a fancy term for a chemical reaction between amino acids and sugars when things heat up. This reaction is what gives bagels their yummy brown crust and great texture. So, no skipping on this step now that you know why it matters!
- ground cinnamon
Cinnamon is the star of the show when it comes to homemade cinnamon raisin bagels. You can tweak the amount to match your taste, but remember, it's the biggest factor that sets these bagels apart from plain bagels. I personally like to be generous with it because it really enhances the flavor.
Now, some sourdough experts might warn you that cinnamon can hinder your starter and your bagels won't rise. From my experience, that hasn't been an issue. Maybe if you've got the absolute best, freshest cinnamon ever, it could make a difference. But for regular cinnamon, don't hesitate to use it in your sourdough bread!
Here's a handy trick with the raisins: we're adding them right away with everything else. This saves time and ensures the dough naturally makes the raisins juicy, so no need to soak them first.
As far as the sort of raisins goes, use whichever you have in your own kitchen. I like darker ones better than lighter ones just for aesthetic purposes. And if you can, use smaller ones. Bigger ones might make the dough a bit difficult to handle because they can poke out of it in strange ways.
See recipe card for quantities.
How To Make Cinnamon Raisin Sourdough Bagels
Before we dig in, there's one thing to keep in mind: this bagel dough isn't the typical very low-hydration kind. Some bagel recipes use very little water to make the dough super stiff for that extra chewiness. However, through experimentation, I've found that you can go too low on hydration. So, the dough we're working with here isn't stiff, but it's also not too wet. It strikes a nice balance, resulting in appropriately chewy bagels without being overly dense or hard.
If you're using a stand mixer, start by measuring out all the ingredients and putting them all into a bowl of a stand mixer. Prepare your dough hook attachment to mix all the ingredients.
It's best to begin by mixing the water and sourdough starter so the starter can disperse evenly in the water. The order of the other ingredients doesn't matter much. Mix the dough on low speed for a minimum of 5 minutes or until it becomes smooth and elastic.
In case you don't have a stand mixer, no worries. Mix the dough in a large mixing bowl and bring it together using your hands. Knead it for at least 5 minutes to help the dough develop gluten bonds.
You want the dough to be firm and elastic, forming a nice ball that holds its shape well. Cover the dough with something airtight, like a lid, plastic wrap, or a plastic bag.
Allow the dough to go through its bulk fermentation, which should take about 6-8 hours at room temperature. If it's more convenient, you can also let it rise overnight.
The next day (or whenever that will be for you), once the dough has risen to about 75% of its size, it's time to give it shape. You should be able to do this on your countertop without needing any extra flour.
Start by getting the dough out of the bowl onto a floured work surface. Using a silicone spatula is very handy to scrape all the dough out, including little bits from the sides of the bowl.
Then divide the dough into 4 equal pieces and form them into balls. In the center of each ball, use your thumb to create a hole and gently stretch it. Spin it around in a circular motion with your index finger. Remember that the dough will have a second rise, so make the holes relatively large; they'll naturally shrink a bit during the second rise.
Put the shaped bagels onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet (sheet pan). Cover them with a clean tea towel and allow them to swell and rise once more. They won't quite double in size, but they should grow a bit larger and puffier. This usually takes around 2 hours at room temperature (you can speed things up a little if you find. a warm place).
Boil the bagels in a pot of water. You'll want about 2 quarts (or 2 liters) of water, and add 1 tablespoon of baking soda and 1 tablespoon of sugar to it. Be sure not to overcrowd the pot, allowing the bagels some space since they'll expand a bit when exposed to the hot water.
Different recommendations exist for how long to boil them, but I've found that 1 minute per side works nicely (plus, it's easy to remember). You can conveniently remove them from the water using a slotted spoon.
If you want, you can use the opposite end of a wooden spoon to slightly enlarge the holes in the bagels
Place them back on the same parchment paper-lined tray and transfer the sheet of bagels directly into a preheated oven.
Bake the bagels for approximately 20 minutes at around 425°F (about 220°C). If your oven is quite powerful, you might want to lower the temperature slightly to avoid over-baking. The aim is to achieve a lovely golden brown, not a deep brown.
Once done, let them cool completely on a wire rack.
Hint: if the bagel dough somehow ends up being a bit too wet (you never know when you're experimenting with sourdough bread!), try to wet your hands when you're handling them. This will prevent the dough from sticking to your hands and leave your bagels with a nice smooth surface.
I'd suggest not making too many ingredient swaps because it'll give you a different bagel, and I'm confident this recipe is excellent. Still, there are a few places where using something else won't drastically change the result:
- Butter: If you don't want to use butter, you can use a mild-tasting vegetable oil like sunflower oil or avocado oil.
- Sugar: You can use brown sugar or white sugar. Avoid coconut sugar as it might affect the taste. The recipe originally uses granulated sugar, but you can also use liquid sweeteners like honey or maple syrup if you adjust the amount of water used (it will probably be a little less).
- Flour: While bread flour is ideal for soft and airy bagels due to its high gluten content, you can use all-purpose flour as a substitute. Just remember to use slightly less water since all-purpose flour isn't as absorbent. If you want, you can also incorporate a small amount of whole wheat flour but don't overdo it, as it can make the bagels denser and harder, which isn't ideal for bagels.
Variations & Add-ins
The options are endless when it comes to adding even more flavor to these bagels! Since they are sweet bagels, mostly sweet toppings will work best. Here are some examples:
- Cream Cheese: A classic choice, cream cheese provides a creamy and slightly tangy contrast to the sweet bagel.
- Butter or Margarine: Keep it simple with a layer of butter or margarine to enhance the bagel's sweetness.
- Peanut Butter: Creamy or crunchy peanut butter pairs wonderfully with the sweetness of the bagel. Add sliced bananas for extra flavor.
- Jam or Jelly: Spread your favorite fruit jam or jelly for a fruity burst of flavor. Apricot, raspberry, and fig jams work well.
- Honey: Drizzle honey over your bagel for a natural and sweet topping.
- Greek Yogurt: Swap out cream cheese for Greek yogurt for a tangy and protein-rich option. Sweeten it with honey or maple syrup if desired.
- Cottage Cheese: Creamy cottage cheese is a protein-packed topping. Add a sprinkle of cinnamon for extra flavor.
- Bacon and Maple Syrup: For a savory-sweet twist, crisp up some bacon and drizzle with maple syrup.
Optional: if you really want to go all the way with these, you can create a cinnamon crunch topping:
- In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons (about 25 grams) of sugar, and ½ teaspoon of cinnamon (about 2 grams). Stir them together until well-mixed.
- Cut 1 tablespoon (about 14 grams) of cold, unsalted butter into small pieces. Add these butter pieces to the dry ingredients mixture. Use a fork or your fingers to work the cold butter into the dry ingredients. Keep crumbling and mixing until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
My advice is that you put the topping on the bagels after you boil them and before you bake them. That way, the cinnamon crunch topping bakes along with the bagels, creating a deliciously crunchy and flavorful layer on top of the bagels as they bake.
The ingredient quantities provided are enough if you're making 4 bagels, so be sure to adjust them accordingly based on how many you plan to make!
Tools You'll Need
When it comes to measuring out the ingredients, using a kitchen scale is my top recommendation for precision. Of course, measuring cups work too, but there's just something about the scale that adds that extra level of accuracy.
And speaking of must-haves, don't forget to grab some parchment paper to line your baking tray; it's the key to preventing those bagels from getting stuck.
If you've got a stand mixer, it's a time-saver when it comes to mixing and kneading the dough. And a slotted spoon is a game-changer for swiftly getting those bagels in and out of the pot.
💭Crucial Success Tips
- Dough Consistency: Keep an eye on your dough's hydration. Bagel dough should be a bit firmer than regular bread dough. Feel free to adjust the water and flour to get the right texture during mixing.
- Flour Choice: While all-purpose flour works, using bread flour usually gives better results due to its higher protein content. It helps develop the bagels' chewy texture.
- Kneading Matters: Give your dough a good knead. Proper kneading builds gluten, crucial for the bagels' texture. Strive for a smooth, elastic dough, whether kneading by hand or with a stand mixer. I often prefer the stand mixer for about 10-15 minutes for the best outcome (5 minutes usually cuts it if you're in a pinch).
- Let It Rise: Allow the dough to bulk ferment until it visibly expands (around 75% increase). This step enhances flavor and texture, so be patient. Here's some additional guidance on how long to proof your sourdough at room temperature.
- Shaping and Boiling: When shaping the bagels, aim for consistency in size to ensure even boiling and baking. This helps them turn out perfectly. You can make bigger or smaller bagels if you wish, but adjust the baking time in that case (a little more for bigger bagels, a little less for smaller ones).
Sourdough bagels can be a healthier choice compared to regular ones made with commercial yeast, and here's why in simple terms:
Natural Fermentation: Sourdough bagels rise naturally using a sourdough starter. This process involves friendly bacteria and yeast that can break down some gluten and phytic acid, potentially making them easier to digest.
Less Gluten: Sourdough's long fermentation can lower the overall gluten content. While it's not gluten-free, some people with gluten sensitivities find it gentler. If you're looking for even less gluten, consider something like buckwheat sourdough bread.
Nutrient Boost: Sourdough fermentation can make certain nutrients like calcium, magnesium, and iron more accessible to your body.
Blood Sugar: Sourdough bagels typically have a lower glycemic index (GI), meaning they have a milder impact on blood sugar levels.
Clean Ingredients: This sourdough bagel recipe keeps it simple with fewer ingredients and no additives or preservatives. Chances are you already have these items in your pantry when you decide to make them.
Cinnamon raisin bagels are versatile and go well with lots of toppings, but I'd stick with the sweet ones.
Since they already contain a lot of flavor thanks to cinnamon, plain cream cheese pairs with them really nicely. If you have a sweet tooth, you can drizzle a little bit of honey or maple syrup over the top too!
All kinds of sliced fruit combinations work well: sliced bananas, apple slices, etc. If you don't have any fresh fruit on hand, go for fruit preserves or jam.
Greek yogurt with a little bit of honey drizzled on top will help you feel fuller longer because of all the added protein.
I saved the best one for the end: Nut butter! I don't know what it is, but they pair extraordinarily well with cinnamon raisin flavors! My favorite is almond butter, but peanut butter or any other nut butter will work as well.
If your sourdough bagels turn out hard or dense, don't worry, it happens to the best of us! Here are some common issues and straightforward fixes that might help:
Insufficient Proofing: Proper fermentation and proofing are crucial. If your dough doesn't rise enough, it can result in hard bagels. Solution: Give your dough ample time to rise during both fermentation and proofing. Temperature and starter health can affect this, so be patient.
Incorrect Hydration: The water-to-flour ratio matters. Too dry a dough can lead to hard bagels. Solution: Adjust the hydration as needed. Add more water if it's dry, or more flour if it's sticky. When unsure, opt for stickier dough and add flour later if needed.
Boiling Duration: Over-boiling can make your bagels hard. Solution: Stick to the recommended 1 minute per side when boiling. Longer boiling can lead to unexpected results.
Baking Temperature and Time: Baking too hot or too long can be a culprit. Solution: Confirm your oven temp with a thermometer, bake as directed in your recipe, and keep an eye on them while baking. Cut the time short if they're browning too quickly.
Cooling Improperly: Cool bagels on a wire rack to prevent soggy bottoms. Solution: Use a wire rack for cooling. If you don't have one, place bagels on the edges of a tray for better airflow underneath.
Very Mature Starter: An overripe starter can cause aggressive fermentation, affecting texture. Solution: Refresh your starter with fresh flour and water or adjust the amount used in the recipe.
Remember, perfecting sourdough bagels takes practice. Pay attention to texture and rise times, and don't hesitate to make gradual adjustments. There's always a learning curve with new recipes, so keep experimenting!
I've been there when your fresh bagels lose their softness. My favorite way to fix that is by toasting them! But there are other ways. To be honest, I haven't tried these methods myself, but they might work:
Steam Reheat: Hold the bagel over steam briefly to add moisture, but don't overdo it.
Microwave: Wrap the bagel in a damp paper towel and microwave it in short bursts until it's soft enough. Check frequently to avoid overcooking.
Oven Reheat: Wrap the bagel in foil and heat it in a preheated oven at 350°F (175°C) for about 10 minutes. You can add a small ice cube for extra moisture if you want.
(But I still think toasting is the best way to go!)
The main reason your fresh bagels get stale is that they don't have as much moisture as things like cakes or pastries. This lack of moisture makes them more likely to dry out and turn hard.
There's also this thing called staling, where the starches in the bread start to change and make the bread feel dry and hard. This happens faster in bagels.
When your fresh bagels are exposed to the air, the moisture on the outside starts to disappear. This loss of moisture on the surface is a big reason why your bagels become hard and not as tasty.
And because we're making these bagels without the preservatives you find in store-bought ones, they can go stale pretty quickly.
More Sourdough Recipes
Looking for other sourdough recipes? Try these:
- ⅓ cup (about 70 g) active sourdough starter
- ½ cup (about 100 g) water
- 1 ½ cups (about 200 g) bread flour
- 1 ½ tbsp (about 15 g) unsalted butter
- ¾ tsp (about 4 grams) salt
- 2 ½ tsp (about 10 g) sugar
- 2 tbsp raisins (about 30 g) raisins
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tbsp baking soda
- 1 tbsp sugar
- If you're using a stand mixer, start by measuring out all the ingredients and putting them all into a bowl of a stand mixer. Prepare your dough hook attachment to mix all the ingredients.
- It's best to begin by mixing the water and sourdough starter so the starter can disperse evenly in the water. The order of the other ingredients doesn't matter much. Mix the dough on low speed for a minimum of 5 minutes or until it becomes smooth and elastic.
- In case you don't have a stand mixer, no worries. Mix the dough in a large mixing bowl and bring it together using your hands. Knead it for at least 5 minutes to help the dough develop gluten bonds.
- You want the dough to be firm and elastic, forming a nice ball that holds its shape well. Cover the dough with something airtight, like a lid, plastic wrap, or a plastic bag.
- Allow the dough to go through its bulk fermentation, which should take about 6-8 hours at room temperature. If it's more convenient, you can also let it rise overnight.
- The next day (or whenever that will be for you), once the dough has risen to about 75% of its size, it's time to give it shape. You should be able to do this on your countertop without needing any extra flour.
- Start by getting the dough out of the bowl onto a floured work surface. Using a silicone spatula is very handy to scrape all the dough out, including little bits from the sides of the bowl.
- Then divide the dough into 4 equal pieces and form them into balls. In the center of each ball, use your thumb to create a hole and gently stretch it. Spin it around in a circular motion with your index finger. Remember that the dough will have a second rise, so make the holes relatively large; they'll naturally shrink a bit during the second rise.
- Put the shaped bagels onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet (sheet pan). Cover them with a clean tea towel and allow them to swell and rise once more. They won't quite double in size, but they should grow a bit larger and puffier. This usually takes around 2 hours at room temperature (you can speed things up a little if you find. a warm place).
- Boil the bagels in a pot of water. You'll want about 2 quarts (or 2 liters) of water, and add 1 tablespoon of baking soda and 1 tablespoon of sugar to it. Be sure not to overcrowd the pot, allowing the bagels some space since they'll expand a bit when exposed to the hot water.
- Different recommendations exist for how long to boil them, but I've found that 1 minute per side works nicely (plus, it's easy to remember). You can conveniently remove them from the water using a slotted spoon.
- If you want, you can use the opposite end of a wooden spoon to slightly enlarge the holes in the bagels
- Place them back on the same parchment paper-lined tray and transfer the sheet of bagels directly into a preheated oven.
- Bake the bagels for approximately 20 minutes at around 425°F (about 220°C). If your oven is quite powerful, you might want to lower the temperature slightly to avoid over-baking. The aim is to achieve a lovely golden brown, not a deep brown.
- Once done, let them cool completely on a wire rack.
There's one thing to keep in mind: this bagel dough isn't the typical very low-hydration kind. Some bagel recipes use very little water to make the dough super stiff for that extra chewiness. However, through experimentation, I've found that you can go too low on hydration. So, the dough we're working with here isn't stiff, but it's also not too wet. It strikes a nice balance, resulting in appropriately chewy bagels without being overly dense or hard.
If the bagel dough somehow ends up being a bit too wet (you never know when you're experimenting with sourdough bread!), try to wet your hands when you're handling them. This will prevent the dough from sticking to your hands and leave your bagels with a nice smooth surface.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1 bagel
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 258Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 11mgSodium: 980mgCarbohydrates: 47gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 6g
A schedule that works for me most of the time goes like this:
4:00 PM - feed the starter
10:00 PM - mix the dough and prepare it for bulk rise
10:30 PM - bulk rise
The next day:
6:30 AM (when I wake up) - transfer the dough to the fridge (to pause the fermentation)
04:00 PM (or whenever I have time that day) - take the dough out of the fridge and shape the bagels.
06:00 AM - boil and bake, so you can enjoy fresh bagels for dinner!
How to Store Cinnamon Raisin Sourdough Bagels
When it comes to keeping your bagels fresh, the old paper bag trick works wonders. Just leave them in a paper bag at room temperature, and they'll stay good for about a day. The paper helps maintain their crust and flavor. If you want them to last even longer, you can put the paper bag inside a plastic one. This keeps them fresh for four or five days without any problems.
After a couple of days, I like to toast my bagels before eating them, and they still taste great!
Now, if you want to keep them fresh for an even longer time, freezing is the way to go. Just make sure your bagels are completely cooled before freezing. It's a good idea to slice them first, so you can pop them straight into the toaster when you're ready to eat.
As for freezing the dough, I wouldn't recommend it. From my experience, freezing pre-baked sourdough isn't a great idea. It can lead to unpredictable results.
But here's the good news: you can freeze fully baked cinnamon raisin sourdough bagels! Just let them cool down, put them in a plastic bag, and they'll stay good in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Pin It For Later
Why Bake With Sourdough?
Sourdough might seem a bit wild when you first dive into it but believe me, it's an adventure worth taking! You'll be amazed at how quickly you'll get the hang of it and never want to go back.
Sourdough, the OG "Natural Yeast," is how our bread ancestors did their thing before commercial yeast took over in the early 1900s. Quick yeast became the star, and sourdough kinda faded into the background.
Breads made with sourdough don't just taste amazing. They also come with digestive benefits that quick yeast breads can't match.
Sourdough is better for your blood sugar than regular bread, not just for the meal you're having but for several meals afterward. You don't need to be diabetic to care about your blood sugar – it's good for all of us.
Sourdough's long fermentation process is a game-changer nutritionally. It ferments and pre-digests grains while neutralizing something called phytic acid. This acid locks away important nutrients like minerals and B vitamins, but sourdough makes them easy for our bodies to use.
What's more, sourdough is gentler on the tummy compared to most quick yeast breads. It's especially friendly to folks with gluten sensitivity, often causing no issues at all.
But that's not all! Sourdough is also a probiotic. When you bake it, those probiotics turn into prebiotic fuel for your gut bacteria, keeping your digestive system in tip-top shape.
These are just a few reasons why I'm all about sourdough and use it in just about everything I bake. And let's not forget, it's not just healthy – it tastes absolutely fantastic.
Now, you might be wondering, "What's the catch?" Well, there is one downside to baking with sourdough: it takes time and planning. First, you've got to feed your starter and wait at least 4 - 6 hours before using it (unless you're making a sourdough discard recipe). Then there's usually some waiting involved – resting, fermenting – it can take anywhere from 6 - 24 hours!
But trust me, it's totally worth it. Once you get the hang of sourdough bread (and other baked goods), you'll find that "regular" bread just doesn't measure up in the taste department.
Feel free to comment down below if something did not go according to plan or if you tried to make this recipe and had problems following the recipe. I will try my best to get back to you. Or just leave your comment and tell me how it went. I love getting feedback from you!