Bagels, warm, soft and chewy, offered with a variety of seeds topping them ie sesame, poppyseed, everything mix, cheese on the inside, blueberries, strawberries, etc. That’s what is so awesome about bagels, you can mix and match, make them what you want.
Add cinnamon and raisins to the dough and have cinnamon/raisin bagels. Serve warm with a little cream cheese or butter and you have a beautiful start to the day. Or make one with cream cheese, lox, and fresh dill. It can’t be beat.
Combine the starter ingredients in a medium bowl, cover, let rest at room temperature overnight.
Next day, combine the puffy starter with all of the dough ingredients and knead – by hand, electric mixer, or bread machine – to form a stiff but not dry dough. Since we’re using a high-protein bread flour here, you might notice it takes a bit more effort and time to develop the gluten. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and set aside to rise for an hour. Gently deflate the dough, and let it rise for another 30 minutes.
Transfer the dough to a work surface and divide it into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a smooth, round ball.
If you desire to add cheese or cinnamon and raisins, or any other additives, add to the individual balls at this time, reshaping them as needed.
Cover the balls with plastic wrap and let them rest for 30 minutes. They’ll puff up very slightly.
While the dough is resting, prepare the water bath by heating the water to a very gentle boil in a wide-diameter pan.
Add the molasses and baking soda. Stir.
Use your index finger to poke a hole through the center of each dough ball, then twirl the dough on your finger to stretch the hole till it’s about 2 inches in diameter. I actually used a small round cookie cutter which allowed me to save the center and cook them as bagel bites.
Place each bagel on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet, and repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.
Transfer the bagels, four at a time if possible, to the simmering water. Increase the heat under the pan to bring the water back up to a gentled simmering boil, if necessary. Cook the bagels for 2 minutes, flip them over, and cook 1 minute more. Using a skimmer or strainer, remove the bagels from the water and place them back on the baking sheet. Repeat with remaining bagels.
Add your favorite adornments – sesame seeds, poppyseeds, everything bagel spice mix, etc.
Bake the bagels for about 25 minutes, or until they’re as deep brown as you like. Remove from the oven and cool completely on a rack.