Updated: Nov 25, 2020
I won't call this recipe easy or quick. However, these date cardamom bagels are frankly the best sourdough bagels I've ever made. They're well worth the effort. Dates have such a rich flavor, almost like caramel, that really makes this the perfect twist on the bagel -- similar to cinnamon raisin, but better.
New to sourdough baking? Start here.
Date Cardamom Sourdough Bagels
Makes 8 bagels
You'll need a baking sheet, parchment paper or nonstick baking mat, mixing bowl, and kitchen scale for this recipe
150 grams sourdough starter, fed a few hours before so it is very bubbly and active (I feed my starter so it's at 100% hydration. For a simple explainer on hydration levels click here)
235 grams water
30 grams date molasses (you can substitute honey if you don't have date molasses)
500 grams bread flour or high protein flour
9 grams sea salt
3 grams ground cardamom
8 large, pitted dates, roughly chopped
Making the Dough:
1. In a mixing bowl whisk together 150 g sourdough starter, 235 g water, and 30 g molasses or honey.
2. Add 500 g bread flour, 9 g sea salt, 3 g cardamom, and 8 chopped dates to the starter mixture.
3. Mix the dough until the gluten is well developed. This will take about five to ten minutes of kneading by hand. Knead until it passes the windowpane test. When you stretch a piece of dough with your hands, it should stretch and become thin so you can see light pass through it, without tearing. See the below video for an example of the windowpane test.
4. Form the dough into a ball, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let rest on the counter at room temperature for eight to ten hours.
Forming & Making the Bagels:
5. After resting (I usually do that overnight so we can have bagels in the morning), turn out the dough onto a clean counter top.
6. Split the dough into 8 equal pieces (it's easy to cut the dough with a knife if you don't have a dough scraper or you can just rip with your hands).
7. Roll each piece into a tight ball, using the counter top to create surface tension.
8. Place the dough balls onto a baking sheet lined with lightly oiled parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat.
9. Cover with a damp towel and let the dough rest for 15 minutes.
10. Time to form the bagels! I find the poke method is simplest. Using your pointer finger, poke a hole into the center of each ball. Then pick up the dough and curve your fingers around the hole, stretching it evenly. Stretch until the hole is almost two inches wide, then place back down on the baking sheet. The hole will contract as the bagels rest. *Pro tip: If the dough sticks to the parchment paper or baking mat, wet your fingertips to more easily lift it off the paper.
11. Cover formed bagels with a damp towel and let rest for an hour. After an hour, test a bagels to see it floats in a bowl of cold water. If it does, it's ready! If not, continue to let the bagels rest, covered for 25-minute intervals until one passes the float test. Once a bagel floats, you're ready to move onto the next step.
12. Preheat the oven to 425 F. While the oven is preheating bring a medium pot of water to a boil.
13. Once the water is at a rolling boil, use a large slotted spoon to gently add bagels to the pot of boiling water. I usually do this one or two at a time to prevent crowding in the pot. Simmer for 30 seconds, flip with the spoon, then simmer the other side for 30 seconds.
14. Once simmered, flip back over and remove bagel from the water. Place boiled bagel on the baking sheet. Repeat until all bagels have been boiled.
15. Once all the bagels are boiled place the bagels in the oven on the middle rack.
16. Bake for ten minutes, then flip the tray around in the oven to ensure even browning. Bake for another ten minutes.
17. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. These bagels are best served warm, or can be sliced and frozen in a Ziploc bag to be toasted up later.
For an amazing cream cheese spread to go with these bagels mix 8 oz whipped cream cheese with 2 tbsp date molasses, a teaspoon of cinnamon, and 2 tbsp of tahini!