The best bagel recipe I've tried. A light crisp on the outside and chewy in the middle. The closest thing to a New York bagel you can get without being in New York. 5 stars!
In a stand mixer bowl, combine 350g water, 250g of the flour, and the active dry yeast. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp cloth and let the mixture proof at room temperature until it doubles in size and makes frothy bubbles that collapse when you tap the bowl on the countertop. This takes about two to four hours. (Look for a foam that resembles the one on a root beer float. If you don’t see this yet, just give the yeast a bit more time to work its magic.)
In a bowl, combine the remaining 400g of bread flour with sugar, diastatic malt powder (optional), and salt.
Reattach the bowl containing the sponge (from Step 1) to the stand mixer and fasten on the dough hook. Set the mixer to low. Gradually spoon in the dry ingredients and let the dough mix until it becomes stretchy and smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 15 to 20 minutes. (This will be rough work for your stand mixer.) Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and let the dough cool in the fridge for 20 minutes.
Line a half-sheet pan with parchment paper and coat with nonstick spray. Cover with plastic wrap. Working quickly to keep the dough cool, divide it into 65g portions and set them on the pan. Keep the entire sheet covered as you work, tucking each new portion underneath the plastic wrap to keep any crust from forming.
Form the portions into balls. Here’s how we do it:
First, form a dome. Make a circle with one hand, place a piece of portioned dough halfway inside it, and use one finger of your other hand to turn the dough while gradually pushing it through the circle. You want to end up with a nice, taut dome.
Next, turn that dome into a ball. Hold the dome with the concave underside facing up. Pinch the dough closed across the "bowl," then roll the seam on the work surface until smooth. When you finish each piece, return it to its spot under the plastic wrap on the sheet pan.
Refrigerate your dough babies for 20 minutes.
Working with one ball at a time, use two fingers to pinch a hole through the center of the dough, turning it while you work. Once you break through the dough, turn it on its side (like a spinning wheel). Stick both of your index fingers through the hole from opposite directions, and spin them around each other, slowly stretching out the hole until you can fit three fingers through it. Return the shaped dough to its covered spot on the tray. (You might need a second tray.)
Allow to proof at room temperature until a dough ring floats when set in a bowl of water. This will take about 20–40 minutes. (If the test ring sinks, proof a bit longer.)
Make sure the tray(s) are wrapped tightly with plastic wrap, and let them cool in the refrigerator overnight (or up to 2 days) to allow flavors to develop.
In a large pot over high heat, bring 5L water, malt syrup (or substitute), and baking soda to a boil.
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Now is also the time to prepare your toppings. Have them out and ready.
Working in batches, drop the bagels into the water and boil for 60 seconds, then flip them with a spider strainer or fork and boil for another 60 seconds. Transfer them, smooth sides up, to a lightly greased parchment paper-lined half-sheet pan.
If you’re adding seasoning, now’s the time to sprinkle it over the tops of the bagels.
Transfer to the center rack of the preheated oven. Bake for 7 minutes, spin the tray around to ensure even cooking, and continue baking until bagels have a nice, brown color—about 7 more minutes.
They are best fresh out of the oven so eat them up!