Last winter a friend if mine told me she had been making bagels. I thought it sounded interesting, so I went on the Internet and found a bunch of recipes. I tried quite a few, not really caring for any of them until I tried the one I use now.
These bagels were AMAZING! First I put yeast and sugar in the bottom of our Bosch. Adding some warm water, I mix it up and dump in the flour and salt. After I get a consistency I like (I usually have to add a little more flour or water,) I kneed it for 5-7 minutes. Towards the end of kneading, if I'm making a kind other than plain, I'll add whatever is needed..... herbs, cinnamon, and raisins, etc. Then I put them in a bowl and let them rise for 2 hours. I must admit I'm not very good when it comes to following recipes..... I take short cuts and skip steps far too much. Sometimes the bagels end up rising for three or four hours.... others for just an hour. :) But, miraculously, they always turn out. In my opinion, it's just too much work to follow the recipe! :) Sometimes I even discover something new in my "mistakes"!
After the bagel dough is done rising, I divide up the dough into ball, making them as perfectly shaped as I can, and then after letting them rise for a couple minutes.... enough so they are puffed up... I put my two thumbs right in the center, and rotate the bagel around them, until the hole is the right size. Next I put them all on cookies sheets, cover them with towels, and put them in the fridge for the night. You can skip this step, and sometimes I do, but it does make it easier, because they get firm, and are much easier to manage, not being floppy. Sometimes I'll just put them in the fridge for an hour or so. They do puff up nice, too, though.
The next morning I get out Mom's HUGE roasting pan, and fill it up with water. I also sprinkle a bit of baking soda in the water, and put it on the stove. (It takes two burners.) When it's boiling I put the bagels in for 2 minutes on one side and 1 1/2 on the other. They puff up real nice.
After letting them drain on a wire wrack for a minute, I put them directly into the 450 degree oven. Here's where I learned another trick last week. I always used to bake them on a cookie sheet.... but it seemed the tops were always too light, and the bottoms too dark, or the bottoms too light, and the tops too dark! Then last time I tried baking them on a stone. WOW! They turned out BEAUTIFUL! They were evenly baked in less time. I'm not exactly sure how long they bake for.... the recipe says 20-25 minutes, but I just put 'em in 'till they look right. :)
Not to brag, but these bagels are GOOD. (Just ask my family!) Everyone loves them..... and I already have some regular customers who buy them every week... cinnamon raisin, plain, and herb are my specialties. They are awesome toasted, made into sandwiches, or just plain with some butter. Come by on Friday and buy a pack..... YUM!