This project was similar to my English Muffin experience in the sense that I had never contemplated creating my own bagels until I saw the recipe in a cookbook. The three-step cooking process (broil, simmer and bake) intrigued me, so my bagel adventures began.
I created a double batch since I wanted to play with more topping options. The cooking process is a bit involved, especially when you're coordinating a double batch. Still, after 2 1/2 hours, I had 24 delicious bagels. I can't wait to make a batch solely to take into work and see my coworkers reactions when they realize they're homemade.
2 3/4 to 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 package active dry yeast (2 tsp.)
1 1/2 cups warm water (120ºF to 130ºF)
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
6 cups water
1 Tbsp. sugar
Stir together two cups flour and yeast. Add 1 1/2 cups arm water, 3 Tbsp. sugar and salt. Beat on low to medium for 30 seconds, scraping sides constantly. Beat on high 3 minutes. Use a wooden spoon to stir in as much of the remaining flours as possible.
Turn dough onto floured surface. Knead in remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic (approximately 6 to 8 minutes total). Cover and let rest 10 minutes.
Grease a large baking sheet. Working quickly, divide dough into 12 equal portions, shaping each into a smooth ball. Punch a hole in the center of each ball, and pull apart gently to make a 2-inch hole. Place on baking sheet. Cover and let rise 20 minutes.
Broil bagels 5 inches from heat for 3 to 4 minutes, turning once. Bagels should not brown.
Meanwhile, bring water and remaining sugar to a boil in a deep skillet or large pot. Add bagels, 4 or 5 at a time, and simmer for 7 minutes, turning once. Drain bagels on paper towel.
Grease baking sheet. Brush bagels with egg yolk mixed with water and sprinkle with desired toppings.
Bake at 375ºF for 25 to 30 minutes or until tops are golden. Cool on wire racks.
Note: 1 tsp. cinnamon and 1/2 cup dried cranberries or other fruit can be kneaded into dough prior to resting and rising.