I'm moving overseas in a few months, and found out recently that sadly, bagels are not available in the country I am moving to. Now, I do not eat bagels all that often, but now that I know I will not be able to get them there, it makes me want to eat bagels every day for the rest of my life. Happily, I learned that bagels are not that difficult to make from scratch. I did a search on Chowhound and someone suggested this recipe on a homemade bagel thread from a few years back. I couldn't find bread flour at my local grocery store, so I bought some vital wheat gluten, which increases the protein content of the flour so that the bagels are more chewy.
I used my stand mixer to knead the dough, using the dough hook, since I never seem to get satisfactory results when I try to knead by hand. The recipe calls for 6-8 cups of flour - I started out with 6 cups of all-purpose flour and added another cup while mixing the dough. I probably could have done with less, since my dough was really stiff after I added the additional cup (my stand mixer was starting to overheat, and I was a little worried that I was going to burn out the motor). I added 6 teaspoons of vital wheat gluten (1 teaspoon for each cup of flour - I forgot to add an additional teaspoon when I added more flour, but the bagels turned out fine). I used sugar instead of malt syrup - white sugar for the dough, and brown sugar in the water used for boiling. I just made plain bagels, but you can always add whatever toppings you want.
These bagels turned out great. They were best when they were right out of the oven - nice and crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside. Perfect with a little bit of cream cheese. I stored half of them in a Ziploc bag and half in a brown paper bag overnight - the crust on the bagels in the Ziploc got soft, so the paper bag is the way to go. By the second day the bagels were getting stale - still quite edible but a little too chewy - next time I will freeze half of the bagels right away. I'm quite pleased that now I can have bagels any time I want - now I just need to learn how to make cream cheese. :)