Preparation / Directions:
Whisk together water, yeast, oil, sugar and malt. Stir in one cup of flour, then salt, then most of remaining flour. Knead 10-12 minutes to make a very stiff dough. Cover and let dough rest on a board about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, line two large baking sheets with baking parchment and sprinkle generously with corn meal. Fill a large soup pot or Dutch oven three quarters full with water. Add the malt syrup and salt. Bring water to a boil. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Divide dough in 10 to 12 sections and form into 10 inch long strips. Roll the ends together to seal and make a ring. Place on a very lightly floured surface near your stove. Let bagels rest 15 to 20 minutes. Bagels should have a 'half proof' - they should rise halfway or appear puffy.
Prepare two more baking sheets. Line one with a kitchen towel, the other with parchment paper which has been sprinkled with cornmeal (optional). Reduce water to simmer and add bagels a few at a time. Allow to come to surface and simmer thirty seconds. Turn over and cook other side about 45 seconds (total 1 1/2 minutes). Place on prepared, towel-lined baking sheet. Leave plain or sprinkle on topping of choice.
Topping variations: (Sprinkle on after bagels have been boiled and are on baking sheet)
Place in oven, reduce heat to 425 F. and bake until done, about 17-22 minutes, turning bagels once, when almost baked. If you have a baking stone, finish bagels on the stone directly.
The 'everything' bagel: Sprinkle on to taste a variety of toppings including: minced onion flakes, poppy seeds, granulated garlic, and coarse salt.
Notes: These classic bagels are also known in some parts as 'water bagels'. If the secret ingredient, as New Yorkers contend, is indeed the water, out-of-town bakers are out-of-luck. However, the New York aquifer aside, this recipe produces a g