Lovelies, I have discovered the trick to impressing people: make bagels from scratch. I've made the recipe below, from A Beautiful Mess, on 4 different occasions now, and their minds are blown every time. No one needs to know that the whole process takes less than 2 hours, and one hour of that is just dough rising. And definitely don't confess that the hardest part of the whole thing is just not eating all 8 bagels as soon as they come out of the oven. I have also discovered that the best way to face crazy compliments from something homemade is just to say, "Thank you so much! Now if only I could make homemade cream cheese..."
These come out fluffy on the inside, with a firm and well-toasted crust. They may be a bit smaller than the bagels you'll buy at the store, but that just means you can slather them with more toppings to make up for it!
Everything Bagels, from A Beautiful Mess
1 1/4 c. warm water
1 1/2 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. (one package) active dry yeast
3 1/2 c. bread flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. sesame seeds
2 tsp. poppy seeds
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 teaspoon smoked sea salt (regular is definitely good, too!)
1. In a bowl, combine the water and sugar and stir to dissolve. Pour in the yeast and allow this to sit for 6-8 minutes. In a larger bowl, whisk together the flour and 1 1/2 tsp. salt. Once the yeast mixture has had time to activate, pour it in to the flour mixture and stir until a crumbly dough forms. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 6-7 minutes until the dough begins to become elastic-like. You can also do this in a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment. (It will be infinitely easier using a dough hook, and I actually haven't done this part by hand.) Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and allow to rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into eight equal pieces. Shape into a ball and press your finger through to form the center hole. Once you have shaped all the bagels, allow them to rest for 10 minutes or so. Now place them into a large saucepan of boiling water. They should float. Let them cook for 45 seconds to 1 minute on each side, then remove to your prepared baking sheet.
3. Whisk the egg plus 1 teaspoon water in a small bowl and brush this over each bagel. Sprinkle on the seeds! (The egg wash will help them stick as well as add a pretty brown sheen to your bagels.) Bake at 425°F for 20 minutes. If you don't eat them all in one day, store in an airtight container for 4-5 days.