Credit: Darrow Montgomery

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  • 1 (1/4-ounce) packet of active dry yeast
  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 1 tablespoon barley malt syrup
  • 1 tablespoon wildflower honey
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 4 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg white
  • Minced garlic, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, minced onion, and/or coarse salt for toppings.

1) The night before, dissolve the yeast completely in 1½ cups of tepid water (105-110 degrees), and set aside. Using a stand mixer outfitted with a dough hook, combine the flour, malt syrup, honey, salt, and sugar. Add the dissolved yeast mixture, and mix on low until the dough looks shredded. Increase power to medium-low, and mix until the dough is smooth and elastic. Remove the dough from the mixer, and knead on a floured surface, adding more flour as necessary to produce a stiff and dry dough. Shape the dough into a ball, place it in an oiled bowl, and coat it in the vegetable oil. Cover the bowl with a damp towel, and allow the dough to rise at room temperature for between 30 and 60 minutes—it should be puffy and almost doubled in size. Place the bowl in the refrigerator overnight.

2) The next morning, remove the dough from the refrigerator, and allow it to reach room temperature. Heat oven to 425 degrees, and place rack in middle position. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 7-inch-long rope, and press ends together so that they overlap by about an inch (the hole in the middle is about the size of a quarter); moisten the ends if necessary to seal. Cover the bagels with a damp towel, and let rest for at least 10 minutes.

3) Fill a large, wide, shallow pan with water and bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and let simmer. Place a metal rack on a baking sheet. After the raw bagels have rested, check to see that the hole in the middle is still the size of a quarter and, if so, start boiling the bagels 3 at a time, making sure they have room to bob around. Boil for approximately 30 seconds on each side, then remove to the baking sheet with a rack.

4) Whisk the egg white with 1 tablespoon of water, and brush the mixture over the tops of the bagels. Sprinkle each bagel with your desired toppings. Place the bagels on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, about 1 inch apart, and bake. Baking time is approximately 20 minutes, but monitor your bagels closely. Rotate the baking sheet halfway through the cooking time, and pull out the bagels when their tops turn golden. If the bottoms of the bagels are burning, raise the oven rack one notch. Remove finished bagels to rack to cool.

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