The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

An Oakland Bagel

baybakin's picture

An Oakland Bagel

I know what you're thinking. "A bagel on the west coast? and in Oakland? never!"

But wait, and hear me out here: you can get a decent, nay, great bagel in Oakland.  You just need to know where to look.  There's been an article here and there about how Oakland is the Brooklyn of the bay area, including a food renaissance leaking over from SF.  This may be for many reasons, and in no small part because rents are getting more and more expensive on that side of the bay.  Oakland is becoming the hipper, edgier (and sketchier), side of the bay.

And suddenly, all at once, a few artisan bagel places popped up, one after another, or sometimes all at the same time.  One of these I had the pleasure and honor of working for as a baker.  I learned many things, especially as this was my first job in the industry.  One of which I posted earlier (the buttermilk muffins), and this time I'll dive right into the meat of the subject: an Oakland Bagel.

I should start by saying that the recipe/method that I'm posting today isn't quite what we used in the bakeshop, I have changed the recipe around to better suit the home-baker, as well as converting it all to sourdough (we used yeast along with the stiff sourdough starter in the shop) to suit my own taste.  Anywho, in we go, and hope you enjoy.

An Oakland Bagel

  • 200g mature sourdough starter (50% hydration)
  • 210g water
  • 18g malt syrup
  • 18g sugar
  • 415g unbleached high gluten flour
  • 8g salt


  1. Dissolve malt and sugar into water in large bowl
  2. Tear starter into pieces, mix with water
  3. Mix flour and salt into mixture until shaggy, dry dough is formed
  4. Rest for 20 mins
  5. Move contents of bowl to counter top, kneed by hand until texture of a bike tire
  6. Rest for 1-2 hours in a warm place
  7. Divide dough into 6-8 pieces (6 will produce the commercial size bagels)
  8. Shape bagels, place on sheet pan, cover, place in fridge for 12-24 hours
  9. Boil bagels in honey/water solution (2TBS per gallon of water) for 90 seconds total, flipping once
  10. add seeds as desired when bagels are still damp and tacky.
  11. Bake in pre-heated 450F oven for 12-15 mins, flipping or rotating as necessary to insure even baking.
  12. Cool on rack
  13. Eat!

Tips: Highest gluten flour available to the average consumer is King Arthur's Bread flour, which works very well in this recipe.  Careful if using a stand mixer, this dough is very stiff (you may think you did something wrong, you probably didn't), and may stress out your mixer. 


MisterTT's picture

toppings say it all - wonderful!

baybakin's picture

thanks! the shop I was working for actually didn't like it when the bagels blistered, but i secreted loved it when a few would turn out like this, saving them for the special clients.

MisterTT's picture

you'll have to save me one :)

bbegley's picture

I've heard about the Oakland long ferment bagel.  Glad to see it in action.  

dabrownman's picture

NY SD.....Oakland SD bagels.  We love SD bagels and make them often.  If they don't have blisters - they are considered failures.  Yours look great.  I wouldn't put the sugar in them being diabetic and 50% hydration is pretty low, we like 54%.  Love your lower salt content a lot.  These have to be tasty and the perfect SD bagel.

Well Done and Happy baking

Our Crumb's picture
Our Crumb

Good to see you at it and, of course, at it so well.  That pic is fit for a bake book cover.



baybakin's picture

Thanks!  Coming from such a great baker and photographer as yourself, I'll take that as quite the compliment.


Wild-Yeast's picture

Reminds me of Mel Blanc Berkeley Farms radio add, "Farms in Berkeley?". 

Beautiful picture and the recipe is a rip. Now I'll have to go for smoked salmon, capers and some fresh goat cheese. Also welcome back!


Syd's picture

Those are great looking bagels and a nice write up, too:  brief and to the point.  This recipe looks very manageable for a home baker.  I have always been quite intimidated by bagels.  Will definitely try this.

All the best,


knormie's picture

I followed your formula and procedure (double batch).  It was spot on except for the baking time.  I kept them in the oven for about 25 min and added a bit of convection at the end to provide some more color.  We'll chalk that up to oven variation.  Truly delicious.


baybakin's picture

Glad it worked out for you!  my oven runs a tad hot at home, and at work we had convection ovens running at 450F, you also couldn't turn off the convection, so that would account for the variation.