1 cup warm water
3 cups bread or all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons + 1/4 cup white sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
3 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon cornmeal
1 egg white
(optional) Bagel toppings – like dried onion, poppy seeds, minced & sauteed garlic, parmesan cheese, sesame seeds, etc
Mix the water, one cup of the flour, salt, two tablespoons of sugar, and yeast in a large mixing bowl until well-blended. Add the remaining flour a scant cup at a time, slowing the addition of flour as you mix (if you dump in all the flour you may end up with too stiff of a dough; proceed cautiously). When the dough is firm enough to be scraping the sides of the bowl clean, turn out onto a lightly floured surface and begin kneading. The dough should be fairly firm but should “heal” well as you knead. Knead for eight minutes or so.
Let dough rest on a lightly floured surface. In a large pot bring 3 quarts of water to a boil. Stir in the 1/4 cup of sugar. Cut dough into 9 equal pieces, and roll each piece into a small ball. Allow to rest a few moments. Poke a hole in the middle of each with your thumb. Twirl the dough on your finger or thumb to enlarge the hole, and to even out the dough around the hole (I can never do this perfectly). Cover bagels with a clean cloth, and let rest for 10 minutes. Sprinkle an ungreased baking sheet with cornmeal and preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Carefully transfer bagels to boiling water. Boil for 3 minutes, turning half way through. Drain briefly on clean towel. Arrange boiled bagels on baking sheet. Glaze tops with egg white, and (optional) sprinkle with your choice of toppings.
Bake in a 375 oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until well browned.