Is there anything more satisfying than biting into a Panera cinnamon crunch bagel? The crispy brown sugar and cinnamon crust, then a soft and chewy bagel dough inside slathered with cinnamon cream cheese. It IS possible to skip the drive through line and make these heavenly breakfast bagels at home! Let me show you how to make these Sourdough Cinnamon Crunch Bagels at home!
Traditionally these bagels are not sourdough, but I just love the texture and tanginess that the sourdough starter adds to this recipe. Besides, I’m always looking for creative ways to use my sourdough starter discard!
ABOUT THESE Sourdough cinnamon crunch bagels
These soft and chewy sourdough cinnamon crunch bagels are easy to make and require very few steps! The addition of commercial yeasts helps the sourdough starter to rise more quickly than traditional sourdough recipes.
These bagels are made in three simple steps: forming the dough, boiling the bagels in baking soda water and baking the bagels in the oven.
Let me show you how to make Sourdough Cinnamon Crunch Bagels!
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ingredients for sourdough cinnamon crunch bagels
SOURDOUGH STARTER DISCARD || The star of this recipe is the ‘hungry’ sourdough starter discard. This is the byproduct of feeding and caring for a sourdough culture. The sourdough must be ‘fed’ water and flour at regular intervals to keep the colony healthy and growing.
BREAD FLOUR || All purpose flour creates a slightly more dense and less chewy bagel. Bread flour is the best option for this recipe.
INSTANT YEAST || Sourdough starter naturally contains yeast and will rise over time, but to keep this recipe fast, I have added commercial yeast. This allows the dough to be lighter and fluffier in only an hour! I buy my yeast in bulk and keep it in the freezer.
NON-DIASTATIC MALT POWDER || This is an optional ingredient, but it is what gives the bagels their classic brown crust and chewiness. At the time of writing this post, I did not have non-diastatic malt powder. My bagels have a light brown color and are pleasant, but it's obvious something is missing. Now I add this every time and my bagels are **chef's kiss**
WHOLE MILK || This adds a richness to the bagels that can only come from the addition of fat to the recipe. Personally, I have not tried this yet with a milk substitute, but in my opinion I think it would work… the bagel may be a bit less flavorful, though.
CINNAMON & SUGAR || Dipping the boiled pretzels in this candied mix of sugar and cinnamon before baking allows a crunchy crust to develop.
CREAM CHEESE SPREAD || While this isn’t absolutely necessary, I give this spread a five star rating! It just adds one final layer of flavor to the bagel that is so incredibly satisfying.
MAKING THE DOUGH
When I am making breads or sourdough recipes, I always measure my ingredients by weight in using grams. A kitchen scale allows me to get a consistent final product. Sometimes a scoop of flour or splash of milk that is a little heavy handed isn’t a big deal, for example when baking cookies, but for breads the weight matters!
I use a stand mixer to knead this bagel dough. Place the mixing bowl on a kitchen scale that is set to grams, then hit the tare button. The tare function tells the scale not to count the weight of the bowl, which is important! Add the sourdough starter discard, bread flour, whole milk, yeast, sugar and salt to the mixing bowl. I use the tare button between each addition to measure directly into the bowl.
Knead the dough in the stand mixer for about five minutes, or until the dough clings to the sides and feels soft and only slightly sticky to the touch. If the dough is too dry, add a splash of milk. If the dough is sticking to the bowl and seems too wet, add flour gradually until the texture improves.
Let the dough rise
Leave the dough in the mixing bowl, cover it with a tea towel and place it somewhere warm to rise for an hour. I turn my oven on to preheat for a few minutes, then shut it off to create a proofing box of sorts.
After the dough has warmly rested for an hour, it will feel soft and pillowy. Remove it from the mixing bowl and divide the dough into eight pieces using either a knife for pastry scraper. Form the pieces into balls and then gently flatten them into discs. Using a donut hole cutter or a thumb, press a hole into the center of the bagel.
MAKING THE BAGELS
Let the bagels rest on the counter, covered by a tea towel, while a large pot of water comes to a boil. Once the water reaches an boil, add the baking soda. The baking soda acts as both a binder and pH stabilizer to keep the bagels shape during the boiling process.
Once the water is ready, add 2-4 bagels to the pot. The bagels SHOULD NOT TOUCH EACH OTHER. Set a timer for one minute and let the bagel boil. After a minute, flip the bagel over and boil the other side for one minute more. Remove the bagels from the water and set them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. These get VERY messy during baking and I highly recommend lining your pan!
In a shallow bowl, mix the cinnamon and sugar. Dip the top of each bagel in the cinnamon mixture and place it back on the lined baking sheet. Bake the bagels at 350° for about 20-25 minutes. This will vary a little depending on your oven.
How to make Panera Copy Cat Cinnamon Cream Cheese
While the bagels are baking, it’s time to make the cinnamon cream cheese! Using a stand mixer with whisk attachment, place cream cheese, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and two tablespoons of maple syrup into the bowl. Whisk for 3-5 minutes until it is light and fluffy.
How long do the Sourdough Cinnamon Crunch Bagels stay fresh?
The bagels can be stored in a plastic bag or airtight container for up to two days on the counter or two months in the freezer.
HELPFUL TOOLS TO HAVE
It is slightly possible that I have been obsessed with baking my entire life. When I graduated from high school, I asked for a stand mixer. Next spring, my stand mixer will be twenty years old and still going strong! it is not an absolute necessity, I cannot imagine kneading dough for five minutes without using my KITCHEN AIDE STAND MIXER. I use it for mixing cake batter, cookies, frostings, crepes, DIY sugar scrubs, literally anything and everything.
A KITCHEN SCALE is necessary for weighing sourdough ingredients. This is the model that I purchased several years ago, and I chose it because it was inexpensive and had plenty of positive reviews. I also am obsessed with my SILPAT BAKING MAT to keep my cookies and bagels from sticking to the baking sheets. This is the exact one I have, and I actually have several different sizes.
Another tool that I use frequently is parchment paper. It works like the silpat, but can be thrown away after use. This is the exact pack of PARCHMENT PAPER that I prefer. It is unbleached and naturally nonstick. You can see it in several of these bagel photographs.
I did not include DRY MALT DIASTATIC BAKING POWDER because most bakers don’t routinely have it in their pantry, but this is what gives baked goods the gorgeous golden crust. It is made with barley flour and is formulated to provide boosted enzyme activity and add sweetness to doughs like pretzels or bagels. Once mine comes in and I test the recipe, I will probably edit it to include the diastatic powder.
If you make this recipe, please leave a comment below! This provides helpful feedback to both me and other readers. For more delicious recipes from scratch and homesteading tips, follow me on instagram @NinnescahHomestead
Cinnamon Crunch Sourdough Bagels: A Panera Copycat Recipe
- kitchen scale
- stand mixer with dough hook
- parchment paper or silpat
- baking sheet
- large sauce pan
- 227 grams sourdough starter discard
- 360 grams bread flour
- 170 grams whole milk
- 1 tablespoon non-diastatic malt powder OPTIONAL
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 1 ½ teaspoons himalayan sea salt
- 1 tablespoon baking soda for the boiling water
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
CINNAMON CREAM CHEESE SPREAD
- 8 ounces cream cheese room temperature
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon butter room temperature
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
FOR THE BAGEL DOUGH
- In the mixing bowl of a stand mixer, combine all dough ingredients. Knead for about five minutes until the dough clings to the hook and is well combined. It will be soft and dense. If the dough is too sticky, add flour, one tablespoon at a time. If the dough is too dry, add one tablespoon of milk.
- Cover with a tea towel and let it rise in a warm place for one hour. This dough will not increase in size very much, but it will become soft and pliable.
- Once the dough has risen, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add one tablespoon of baking soda to the water.
- Divide the dough into eight pieces. Roll the dough into balls and gently flatten them into a disc. Using a thumb or a donut hole cookie cutter, make a hole in the center of the bagel.
- Place the bagels into the boiling water, not touching. This will likely need to be done in batches. Boil for one minute, then flip the bagels to boil the other side for one minute more. Remove the bagels from the boiling water and set them on a baking sheet.
FOR THE CINNAMON CRUNCH
- Mix the cinnamon and brown sugar in a shallow bowl or pie pan. Dredge the top sides of the bagels in the mixture.
- Bake the bagels on a baking pan lined with a silpat liner or parchment paper at 350° for about 25-30 minutes.
FOR THE CREAM CHEESE SPREAD
- Add the cream cheese, sugar, cinnamon and butter into the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix it for several minutes until smooth and fluffy using the whisk attachment.
- Enjoy the bagels warm or keep them in an airtight container for two days. These bagels can be stored in the freezer for up to two months.