I don’t know why I was scared to make bagels. I’ve made croissants, multiple times. It was the extra boiling stage that I’ve never done with a bread before. I didn’t realize how easy it was. How the bagel dough is easy to work with and if you follow the directions it does what it is supposed to do.
You make a sponge first: throw some yeast, high-gluten flour, and water together, stir, and let it rise for 2 hours on the counter. Then you throw in some more yeast, more flour, salt, and barley malt syrup and knead for 6 or 7 minutes (in stand mixer). Once it’s ready, you turn it out on a work surface and form little bagel balls (I made the “mini” size which were 2 1/4 ounces and were still pretty big).
You let the bagel balls rest for 20 minutes and then form them into bagels by poking your thumb through the middle of the ball and stretching and rotating the bagel around your thumbs until the hole is a couple inches. You then let the bagels rest for 20 minutes.
After they’ve had their nap, you test the bagels to see if it is ready for “retarding” in the refrigerator overnight. You test the bagels by dropping one in water and if it floats right away, it is ready. My bagel floated right away. If it wasn’t ready, I would have let them rest some more and testing again.
After the the bagels have overnighted in the refrigerator, you take them out and bring a large pot of water to a boil. You add in some baking soda and then place the bagels in the boiling water, flipping them over after a minute or so.
Remove the boiled bagels to a prepared baking sheet and top if desired and then bake in the oven.I made plain bagels, salt bagels, cumin seed and salt bagels, cheese bagels, and everything bagels. My everything bagel mix consisted of: flax seeds, raw sunflower seeds, rolled oats, poppy seeds, and natural sesame seeds.