I found the Artisan Bread Bakers group on Facebook thanks to Natashya of Living in the Kitchen with Puppies, who is really making wonders on her blog.
This group chooses to make a different bread each month and this time it was bagels that are a favorite of mine so I couldn't help but join and here are mine !
Adapted from Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice by blossomtostem.net; further adapted by your host.
1/2 teaspoon (.055 ounce/1.56 grams) instant yeast
2 cups (9 ounces/255 grams) high-gluten flour
1 1/4 cups (10 ounces/295 milliliters) water, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon (.028 ounce/.8 gram) instant yeast
1 3/4 cups +2 tablespoons (8.5 ounces/240 grams) high-gluten flour
1 1/4 teaspoons (.3 ounce/8.5 grams) salt
1/2 tablespoon malt syrup, honey, or brown sugar (or 1 teaspoon diastatic malt powder)
1 tablespoon baking soda
cornmeal for dusting
optional toppings: sesame seeds, poppy seeds, kosher or sea salt, cinnamon and sugar, etc.
A day (or two) before you want the bagels (see below for instructions on making the bagels in one day):
Prepare the Sponge.
In a large bowl (if using a stand mixer, go ahead and start it in that bowl) mix 1/2 teaspoon yeast, 2 cups high-gluten flour, and 1 1/4 cups water until it forms a thick batter. This is a very stiff dough, so hand mixing and kneading is recommended. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit until bubbly, nearly doubled in size, and on the verge of collapse, about 2 hours.
Make the Dough.
Add 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast to the sponge and stir. Add the salt, malt syrup or powder, and 1 1/2 cups flour. If using a stand mixer, mix on low speed for about 2 minutes, or by hand for a few minutes or until a dough ball has formed. Slowly add the remaining flour, and mix on medium speed for 6 minutes (or knead by hand for about 10 minutes) or until all of the flour is incorporated. The dough should be smooth, stiff, stretchy, and not sticky or tacky. If the dough feels dry and tears easily when stretched, add a little water, a teaspoon at a time, and knead some more. If the dough feels sticky, add some flour.
Divide and Shape the bagels.
Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and spray lightly with oil. Divide dough into 2 3/4 to 3 ounce pieces, or, if you don’t have a scale, into 9 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, place on parchment, cover with a damp towel and let rest for 20 minutes. With your finger or thumb, poke a hole in each piece and stretch to about 2 inches in diameter. Try to stretch the dough evenly to avoid thick and thin spots. Place on parchment, cover with a damp towel, and let rest for 20 minutes. To test to determine whether the bagels are ready to go into the refrigerator, fill a medium bowl with cool water. Drop one of the bagels into the water. It should float within 10 seconds. If it doesn’t, pat the bagel dry, return to parchment and let rest for another 10 minutes before testing again. If it does float, pat the bagel dry, cover the baking sheet with plastic wrap. Be careful to create an airtight seal, otherwise the bagels could dry out. Place in the refrigerator overnight (or for up to two days).
If you want to bake the bagels on the same day, after shaping them, let them rest covered for 30 minutes, then proceed with boiling and baking.
On the day you want the bagels (one or two days later):
Get everything ready.
Preheat the oven to 500°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and mist with oil and dust with cornmeal. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and add the baking soda. Have a slotted spoon ready. If you are topping with seeds or salt, have those out and ready.
Remove the bagels from the refrigerator. Place a few bagels into the boiling water. Be careful not to overcrowd the pot–the bagels will puff up a bit in the water. Boil for 1 minute, then turn the bagels over and boil for another minute. Place on prepared parchment. If using seeds or salt, top when the bagels come out of the water. Repeat with the rest of the bagels.
Place baking sheet on the middle rack on the oven and bake for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to 450°F, rotate the baking sheet 180° and bake for an additional 5-8 minutes, or until tops are golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool on racks for about 15 minutes. If topping with cinnamon and sugar, brush tops of bagels with butter just after they come out of the oven and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar mixture and let cool.
Yields 9 bagels.