Breads (Sourdough) - Other Breads

Charcoal Sourdough Bagel

November 10, 2021 | Recipe by Bake with Paws
Charcoal Sourdough Bagel

Charcoal Sourdough Bagel

My hubby asked for Sourdough Bagels again because he really enjoyed the last ones I made.  Since I still have a lot of charcoal powder leftover, I made Charcoal Sourdough Bagels.  I used the Sourdough Bagel recipe I shared recently but with added charcoal powder.  After making my own Sourdough Bagel, I don't think I will buy the store bought bagels again.    The texture is soft, chewy and moist and it perfectly meets our expectations for a Bagel.

Disclaimer:  If you are under medication, it is advisable to consult with your doctor or healthcare professional before consumption as charcoal may interact with certain medications. Please do your own research.

If you have any questions regarding this recipe or any other post, please leave me a comment in the “LEAVE A COMMENT” link and I will reply you as soon as possible.  Do tag me on Instagram @Bakewithpaws if you attempt on this recipe.


Yields:  6 bagels


Yudane Dough:
80g bread flour (I used Japan High Gluten Flour)
80g boiling water

Main Dough:
250g bread flour (I used Japan High Gluten Flour)
5g activated charcoal powder
140g sourdough starter (I used 2 days old discard), you may use active sourdough starter
All the yudane dough (above)
15g - 30g brown sugar (I used organic brown sugar)
1 1/2 tsp (8g) salt
85g - 95g water (59% - 61% total hydration) - For the bread flour I used need 95g
15g vegetable oil (I used extra virgin olive oil)

Boiling/Scalding Water:
1 liter water
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp baking soda

Baking tray
6 pieces - 4.5" X 4.5" parchment papers

  1. Yudane (Prepare 1 day or at least 4 hours in advance):  
    1. Add bread flour in a bowl, pour the boiling water and mix well with spatula or spoon until no dry flour.
    2. Cling film and use at least 4 hours later.  You can prepare a day before and place in the fridge and Take out from the fridge 30 minutes before using to return to room temperature.
  2. Main Dough @ around 6.00 pm:
    1. Put all ingredients into a bowl of stand mixer.
    2. Slightly combine the mixture by hand with the paddle attachment before turning on the machine so that the flour will not splash out.  Using the paddle attachment, mix for about a minute or until all incorporated. 
    3. Change to hook attachment and knead for about 10 minutes or until the dough comes together and elastic.  This is low hydration recipe and the dough is slightly stiff. It is not required to check window pane stage as it is not soft sandwich loaf or buns. The whole kneading process, I stopped few times to scrape down the dough from the hook to be sure it is evenly kneaded and also to prevent the motor from overheating.
  3. 1st Proofing @ around 6.30 pm:  
    1. Round up the dough and place back in the same bowl, keep it covered with clingfilm or use a lid. Let the dough proof for about 2 hours on the counter (at room temperature 27C).   The dough rose about 30% - 40% in size.  It was raining day so I left the dough ferment for about 2.5 hours instead.
    2. Transfer to fridge @ around 9.00 pm and cold retard overnight for 12 - 15 hours.
  4. Shaping @ around 10.45 am:
    1. Remove the dough from the fridge and leave on the counter for about 30 minutes to return to room temperature.
    2. Transfer the dough to a clean floured surface then divide dough into 6 equal portions (approx. 113g - 115g each). Please use a kitchen scale if you want to be exact.  Form each portion to a ball.  Rest for 15 minutes.
    3. Flatten a dough ball.  Roll like a swiss roll. Then roll into a long strand (about  10 inches length)
    4. Please watch the video "How To Shape Bagel"  
    5. Place each bagel onto parchment paper.
  5. Final Proofing @ around 12.00pm:
    1. I made marks with a pencil between 0.5 cm - 0.75 cm away from the original size of the bagels.  Let them proof at a warm place until the dough rise and reach the pencil marks.   It took about 2 hours at 29C room temperature. The duration of proofing depends on your ambient temperature and starter.
  6. Boiling/Scalding @ around 2.00 pm:
    1. In a sauce pan, combine the water, sugar and baking soda.  Bring to boil then turn to low heat.  Drop the bagels in and simmer each side for about 30 - 40 seconds.  I simmer 3 bagels at one time.  
    2. Remove the bagels with strainer ladle and place back onto the parchment paper.  Arrange and place into a tray.
  7. Baking @ around 2.15pm:
    1. Preheat oven at 220C (top & bottom heat) or 200C (fan-forced) for 15 minutes.
    2. Bake in a preheated oven for about 20 - 22 minutes, or until golden brown.
    3. Remove bagel from oven and let them cool on rack.

Yudane Dough

Main Dough



A healthy starter is very crucial as advised by Baking with Gina.   It is advisable to feed your starter regularly if you want your bread to rise nicely and to use the starter (levain) at its peak.  A starter that is fed regularly will be more active in general.  If the mother starter is not strong, the bread dough will not rise a lot even though the starter is used at its peak.  


Gluten forms when flour comes in contact with water.  Hydration of the flour causes the sticky and stretchy protein to form, giving structure to the bread.  This makes your bread trap air and rise. 

Gluten in dough can be developed by autolyse, resting, kneading or folding.

The windowpane test is used to determine whether the dough has been sufficiently kneaded.  By gently pulling the dough (or you may pinch off some dough) and trying to stretch it into a thin membrane.  If you are able to stretch the dough paper thin and translucent  without tearing, then the gluten is fully developed.  However, if you can stretch it without tearing but the membrane is not transparent, then the gluten is not yet fully developed.  

However, from my experience not all the recipe can achieve a thin and translucent window pane stage easily.   For example low hydration and low fat dough.  For such recipes, a reasonable window pane is good enough and it can be left to rest. Gluten will continue to develop while resting.  Exercising restraint to not over-knead the dough prevents the gluten from being overworked and broken.   Some of you may have experienced the dough breaking during the second proofing.  It is because the dough is over kneaded. 

The total kneading time for me is usually 15 minutes at low speeds except brioche dough with high fat percentage or dough using liquid fat which usually takes a little longer (maybe 18-20 mins).

From my experience, I found that high hydration dough with high percentage of fat will be easy to stretch and achieve a paper thin windowpane stage.


Why do I use milk powder?  
  1. Milk or milk powder will enhance the flavour of the bread and makes the bread texture softer due to the fat content of the milk. 
  2. Milk powder is shelf stable and you can have it anytime when you want to use.  Unlike liquid milk you need to finish within a certain time before it spoils.

For kneading, please regard the timing provided as an indication only. It is only meant as a guide.  Timing may differ depending on the brand of flour and electric mixer used. The protein content may vary from one brand of flour to another.


The right flour plays a very important role in bread making.   To achieve fluffy, soft and light bread, I used Japan High Gluten Flour in most of my bread baking.  The protein content is around  12 - 13%.


The liquid measurement given is also a guide.  It is advisable to always reserve some liquid and not add it all in one go.  This would give you the opportunity to adjust if necessary. If dough is too dry, add the reserve liquid one tablespoon at a time until the right consistency.  This is because each flour absorbs water and hydrates differently. 


Please note that the proofing timing may also vary depending on your climate, environment, flour and your starter. 

If you are unable to judge by just looking at the dough, you can do the finger poke test:

  1. Lightly press the side of the proved dough with your finger.  If it bounces back immediately without any indentation, it means the dough is under proved and needs more time before baking.
  2. If the indentation stays and it doesn’t bounce back, it means it has been over proved.
  3. If the indentation slowly bounces back and leave a small indentation, it is ready to bake. 
  4. There will be a final burst of rising once the bread is placed to bake in the oven and it is called oven spring. 

If your bread collapses or gets wrinkled on top after removing from oven, it could be because your dough over proved during the second proofing. Please proof until the tip of the dough just reaches the rim of the pan, around 80% - 90% in size.


Do also note that the baking temperature and timing provided are what works for my oven and should also be regarded as a guide only. Every oven behaves a little differently, so please adjust accordingly for your oven.


  1. It looks so yummy, I will try this very soon

    1. Hi, Thanks, Cyball.. Good to hear that you bake too :)


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