One my favourite memories from pastry school was the bread making session. I particularly loved making bagels. Don’t be intimidated by the steps in this recipe – it isn’t difficult and the results are delicious!
WARNING: you may not want to buy store bought bagels ever again!
Combine the water, yeast, and 3 tablespoons of the sugar in the bowl of an upright mixer fitted with a dough hook. Stir and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
Gradually add 4 cups of the flour and the salt, and mix until combined. Add 1 to 1 1/2 cups additional flour 1/2 cup at a time to make a stiff dough, either stirring with the wooden spoon or working with your hands.
Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and no longer sticky, about 5 minutes, adding just as much flour as needed.
Grease a large bowl with 1 teaspoon of the oil. Place the dough in the bowl, turning to coat. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot until almost doubled, about 1 hour.
Remove from the bowl and punch down the dough. Divide into 12 equal pieces, about 2 to 3 ounces each, measuring about 4 inches across. Form each piece of dough into a ball.
Roll each ball into a 4 to 6-inch log. Join the ends and place fingers through the hole and roll the ends together. Repeat with the remaining dough.
Place on a lightly greased surface, cover with a clean cloth, and let rest until risen but not doubled in a draft-free spot, 20 to 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Grease a baking sheet with the remaining teaspoon of oil (OR line with parchment paper).
This is the fun part! In a large, heavy pot, bring 12 cups of water and the remaining tablespoon of sugar to a boil. In batches, add the bagels to the water and boil, turning, for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Place bagels onto the prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack.