This is the recipe we used for bagels last week at Annetta's (which I promised to post last week...)
4 cups bread flour
1 tbls sugar
1 1/2 tsps salt
1 tbls vegetable oil
2 tsps instant yeast
1-1/4-1-1/2 cups of warm water
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. You don't have to worry about soaking the yeast when you use instant yeast (most yeast sold these days is instant yeast). The dough should feel stiff, but add the extra water if it's really stiff, or you can't get all the dry flour incorporated.
Plop the dough down onto the counter, and knead for about ten minutes, or until the dough is uniform and smooth.
Cut the dough into 8 equal sized balls, and let rest for 10-20 minutes.
Pre heat your oven to 425
Now, take each of the dough balls and using two hands, roll it into a little snake on the counter. When the snake is longer than the width of your two hands, wrap it around your dominant rolling hand. The dough rope should be wrapped so the overlapping ends are together at your palm, near the start of your fingers. Now take the two over lapping ends, and use your palm to squish /roll these two ends together. Once the dough is fused, you should have a perfectly circular bagel-to-be! This is the only part of the process that can take a little practice before your bagels will look really professional. Don't get discouraged if they don't look perfect, it just takes practice!
Let your bagels rest on the counter for about 20 minutes, and meanwhile, bring a pot of water to boil, and grease a large baking tray lightly. You can just rub a splash of vegetable oil and rub it around.
After the 20 minute wait, your bagels will start to look puffy, and it's time to get them boiling! Add them as many at a time as you can to your boiling water without crowding them. Boil for about a minute, turn them over, and boil for another minute. Take them out and let dry for a minute and then place them on your oiled baking tray. Repeat until all the bagels are boiled.
Add the tray to the oven, and after 10 minutes, flip the bagels over, bake for another ten minutes; and they're done!
Let them cool for at least 20 minutes