Here's the recipe from my new favourite cookbook- the Joy of Cooking!
Combine in a large bowl or the bowl of a heavy duty mixer and let stand until the yeast disolves, about 5 minutes:
1 cup plus 2 TBSP warm (105 to 115 degrees F)
1 package (2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
2 1/2 tsp sugar
1 TBSP melted vegetable shortening
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 3/4 tsp salt
1 cup flour
Gradually stir in:
3 to 3 1/2 cups flour
Knead for 10 minutes by hand or with the dough hook on low to medium speed until the dough is smooth and elastic. Let rest, covered, 15 to 20 minutes.
Punch down the dough and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a rope about 10 inches long, tapering the ends. Wet the ends to help seal, and form into rings, stretching the top end over and around the bottom end and pinching them together underneath. Let rise, covered, on a floured board about 15 minutes, until puffy.
Preheat the oven to 425 F.
Bring to a boil in a large pot:
3 quarts water
1 TBSP sugar
1/2 tsp salt
Drop the rings 4 at a time into the boiling water. As the bagels surface, turn them over and cook about 45 seconds longer.
Skim out and place on an ungreased baking sheet coated with cornmeal. Brush with lightly beaten egg white. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, turning after 15 minutes, until golden brown and crisp.
As you can see we had one slight "oh no!" moment with the first sheet of bagels, simply because Southern Belle's maid has a very strong arm when scrubbing Teflon baking sheets and in the process ruined this one. So we ended up scraping the tray and enjoying bagel tops!
We tried two ways of forming the bagels. One way is like the recipe says - hand rolling them and twisting the ends together, which I think made the prettiest bagels, like this one:
We also tried SB's special Bagel cutter which made uniform bagels but in my opinion not quite as nice.
Luckily for us we can buy Philadelphia cream cheese and great strawberry jam.... yummmmm.
Is there anything more delicious?