warm water (can add a bit more if dough appears dry)
chia seed (optional topping)
sesame seed (optional topping)
Start by putting the yeast, sugar and 1/2 cup of the warm water in a cup or other small vessel and allow it to sit for five minutes or so, until the yeast begins to bloom and foam.
In your mixing bowl, stir together the flour and salt, and then form into a small hill. Use your fingers to make a well in the middle (like if you were making pasta) and pour the yeast mixture into that well. Add half of the remaining warm water as well, and use your fingers to gently mix in the flour a little at a time, until you have a moist, firm dough. You may need to add a bit more water if you live in a dry place. In Oregon, I almost always have to add water to things.
Knead the dough either in the bowl or on a well-floured counter top until it is no longer sticky – play dough is the perfect example. When your dough looks and feels like play dough, you are ready to go. Grease a mixing bowl, place the dough inside and cover. Allow it to rise for at least an hour, and then punch it down and allow to rest for another 10-15 minutes.
After that, divide the dough into 8 equal balls.
Use your hands to gently make the shape as perfect as possibly by gently shaping the dough between your palms.
Then, flatten ball ever-so slightly into a disk, and use your finger to poke a hole in the middle. Work from the middle of the hole outward to make the newly-formed bagel shape about 1/3 the size you want it to be when you are done. Continue with the remaining pieces of dough.
Allow to rest on a cookie sheet for ten minutes while you preheat the oven to 425, and start a large pot of water to boil – and that means a real pot, NOT a saucepan. It won’t be big enough!
Lower the bagels into the water one at a time, and allow to boil for one minute on each side (2 minutes on each side if you want a chewier bagel, says our source recipe). They should look quite a bit different.
This is where you put the toppings on. Optionally, you can do an egg wash as well (we did!). Bake for 20 minutes and TRY not to burn your mouth eating them too soon. You’ve been warned.