1 packet active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
~1 1/4 C warm water, divided
3 1/2 C bread flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
toppings: poppy seeds, sesame seeds, minced garlic or onion, cinnamon sugar mixture, coarse salt, etc.
In 1/2 C of warm water, pour in the sugar and yeast. Do not stir. Just let it sit for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, stir to dissolve the sugar as best you can.
Mix the flour and salt. Create a well in the middle and pour in the yeast mixture along with an additional ~1/2 C warm water. Mix it up and add warm water bit by bit until you have a nice, moist, somewhat sticky dough.
Dump onto a clean surface and knead by hand for a full ten minutes.
Cover and let rise in a warm place for one hour (or two…I got side-tracked and gave it two hours. This could probably be an overnight rise if you wanted but I don’t know that for sure.) Punch the dough down and give it another 10 minutes to rest.
Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces (by halving 3 times) and roll well to make dough balls that are as smooth as possible. Using your finger, poke a hole in the middle of each. You should be able to fit your index and middle finger of both hands and work around the bagel to stretch the hole considerably. It will shrink as the bagel poofs up and I like my bagels to have holes, but that’s a personal preference.
Lay the bagels on a cookie sheet and cover with a moist paper towel. Let rest 10 minutes. During this time, boil a large pot of water.
Lower the temp so the water is simmering, but not a roaring boil. Boil about 3 bagels at a time using a slotted spoon of sorts to flip and remove bagels. The bagels need 2 minutes on each side in the boiling water. After boiled, lay on a paper towel for just a moment to remove excess water and then roll in desired toppings and set on a lightly greased cookie sheet. When all bagels have been boiled and topped, bake at 425*F for 20 minutes. Remove and enjoy!