Recipe: Date Cardamom Sourdough Bagels

Updated: Jun 7

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. The result is a balanced but oh-so flavorful bagel, with hints of date and cardamom throughout.

Recipe note: My recipes are intended to be straightforward guides for the home cook or baker to replicate with minimal fuss. However, keep in mind that recipes are just guides. A multitude of factors can affect how a recipe comes out - from the freshness and quality of your base ingredients to the ambient temperature and humidity. In particular, I recommend upgrading your spices if you are able, as there is a marked taste difference when you are using fresh, single-origin spices. For the best results when following a recipe, taste as you go and be sure to pay attention to any visual or tactile cues included in the instructions. For new sourdough bakers, 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 or syrup (you can substitute honey if you don't have date molasses)

500 grams bread flour or high protein flour

9 grams sea salt

2 grams ground cardamom

8 large, pitted dates, roughly chopped (about 100-125 grams)

Making the Dough: If you start this process in the evening, you can make the dough and rest it overnight, and form and bake the bagels fresh in the morning for breakfast!

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, and 2 g cardamom to the starter mixture. Mix until the dough comes together for about 2-3 minutes.

3. Add in the chopped dates and continue to mix the dough until the gluten is well developed. This will take about five to ten minutes of kneading by hand. You can also complete this process in a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment on a low setting. 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 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: This dough is a bit sticky, wet your fingertips slightly for easier handling.

11. Cover formed bagels with a damp towel and let rest for an hour. After 30 minutes, test a bagel to see if 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. *Do not skip this step. Depending on your starter, room temperature, and other factors it may take up to 2 hours for your bagels to float. Do not proceed until they do.

12. Preheat the oven to 450 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. Let the water come back to boiling in between rounds and 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 10 minutes, then flip the tray around in the oven to ensure even browning. Bake for another 7-10 minutes. The timing may vary based on your oven. They're done when golden brown on top with crispy golden brown bottoms.

17. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. These bagels are best served warm or can be sliced and frozen in a resealable 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!

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