Plain and perfect, these bagels are the ideal chewy canvases for your choice of toppings, a customizable bagel experience for those who want an assorted spread. But any way you top them, these ringed beauties are primed for lox, schemers, and plenty of butter.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whisk together flour, salt, and yeast by hand. Add 2⅓ cups (560 grams) warm water and 2 tablespoons (42 grams) barley malt syrup, and beat at low speed until a shaggy dough forms, about 1 minute. Switch to the dough hook attachment. Beat at low speed until dough pulls away from sides and bottom of bowl, about 8 minutes. (Dough will be elastic but may not look completely smooth.)
- Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface, and shape into a smooth ball. Lightly oil a large bowl. Place dough in bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until doubled in size, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Place a large sheet of parchment paper in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C); dust parchment with flour.
- Divide dough into 12 portions (about 107 grams each). Shape each portion into a ball. Place 1 ball in your hand. Using your thumb and forefinger, pinch a hole in center of ball, and stretch hole to about 3 inches wide. Place on prepared parchment. Repeat with remaining dough. (Once dough contracts, the hole should be 1 to 1½ inches wide.) Cover and let rise until puffed, 15 to 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper.
- In a large stockpot, bring 8 cups (1,920 grams) water and remaining ½ cup (170 grams) barley malt syrup to a very low simmer over medium-low heat. (Do not boil.) Carefully drop bagels, 1 to 2 at a time, into water. Cook for 10 seconds per side; immediately transfer to prepared pans.
- In a small bowl, whisk together egg white and remaining 1 tablespoon (15 grams) water. Brush dough with egg wash, and sprinkle with desired toppings.
- Bake until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool on pans for 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.