Bagel step 4: Boil or Kettle

Bagels - Introduction
Source: The Best Bagels are made at home by Dona Z. Meilach - Order the Book

Fill a 4- to 6- quart soup pot with water 3 to 4 inches deep. Water alone can be used, or add 2 tbs. malt syrup, honey or sugar.
Preheat the oven to 400F., so it's ready when you're through boiling the bagels.

Drop bagels one at a time into the boiling water. Boil about 4 at a time or only so many that they float freely and so not crowd; they will expand further in the hot water. The bagel may sink to the bottom for a few seconds, and then float to the surface. Simmer for 30 seconds to 1 minute on each side, turning with a slotted spatula. Remove and put on a lightly greased rack or a lightly floured tea towel for a few minutes to drain.
HINT: Put the top side of the bagel down into water first, and then turn over.
When you remove them, the bagels will be top side up and slide off your spatula for draining and adding toppings.
When cool enough to handle, proceed to Step 5: Glaze and Apply Topping, or if you omit this step, proceed to Step 6: Bake.

Step 5: Optional Glaze and Toppings

GLAZES: Brush tops with glaze either before placing them in the oven or about 5 minutes into the baking and then again about 5 minutes before the end of baking. I've tried all the glazes listed below on the same bagels in one batch, using white flour bagels and whole grain flour bagels. Despite claims in some cookbooks that different glazes yield different shades and crustiness, I found no appreciable difference in either color or texture of the crusts when applied to bagels. You may have a different result.

Water Glaze: A spray or brushing with room-temperature tap water will yield a subtle glaze similar to using the steam baking method (described elsewhere in directions). Try brushing some bagels at the beginning of the baking, some 5 minutes after and some near the end, and compare the differences.

Nonstick Vegetable Spray Glaze: an easy, quick, effective, low calorie glaze is a spray of nonstick vegetable spray. It goes on more evenly than using a brush, yet yields an even glaze. Spray before placing in the oven and again about 5 minutes before baking time is completed.

Melted Butter or Margarine Glaze: This glaze produces the same effect as vegetable oil. Watch the bagels carefully so they don't burn.

Egg Glaze #1: Mix together 1 egg white, 1 egg yolk or 1 whole egg with 1 tbs. water, milk, or cream.
Egg Glaze #2: Lightly beat 1 egg white. You can brush it on the bagels either before they are put into the oven or 5 minutes after baking time has begun, and 5 minutes before the baking is finished.

Cornstarch Glaze: Dissolve 2 tbs. cornstarch in 1/4 cup cold water. Bring 1 cup water to a boil and whisk the dissolved solution into the boiling water until it thickens. This cornstarch mixture can be kept in the refrigerator for several days. Brush it on the bagel tops at the beginning of the baking and again as soon as you remove the bagels from the oven for a very high shine.

TOPPINGS: A variety of toppings can be added to the bagel before baking, either directly to the dough after settling, or after the bagel is glazed. Poppy seeds, sesame seeds, caraway seeds and coarse salt are easiest to use because they can be placed in a dish directly from the jar, and the bagel can be dipped into the dish; the seeds adhere to the moist dough. Or they can be sprinkled on top of the bagels just before baking, and pressed down lightly to adhere. I've seen bagels with sparse toppings and those that are covered from top to bottom. There's no right or wrong way.
Add 1/2 cup finely chopped, sauteed onions to the tops of the bagels.
Add 1/2 cup finely chopped raw onions to the tops of the bagels; they will cook right along with the bagels.
Use dehydrated onion flakes or packaged onion soup that you have reconstituted with water, olive oil, or vegetable oil. Use 1 tbs. dry product to 1/2 tbs. water or oil, and soak for 2 to 3 minutes.
Mix together 1/2 cup chopped yellow onions, 1 green onion (white part only), 2 tsp. olive oil, 2 tsp. poppy seeds.
Sprinkle with garlic salt, finely chopped fresh garlic or garlic flakes.
For the "Everything Bagel", combine 1/2 cup finely chopped onions, 1 clove garlic, finely chopped, and 1/4 cup sesame seeds. Sprinkle mixture on bagel tops before baking.

Use ground caraway or whole caraway seeds. These are particularly good on rye bagels. They can be combined with the topping for the "everything bagel".
Sprinkle with red pepper flakes, adjusting the "heat" to your liking.
Top with mixed fresh herbs, including parsley, chives and dill.
Dip into or distribute about 1/4 cup coarse salt or kosher salt on top of 1 batch of bagels just before baking.
Poppy, caraway, sesame and celery seeds can be used directly from the jar. Just dip the bagels into a dish of seeds or sprinkle seeds on top.
Toasting nuts before using them on (and in) bagels enhances their flavor. Walnuts, almonds, pecans or hazelnuts can be used on bagels as toppings and also added to the dough at the beginning or before they are shaped and rise the second time.
Sprinkle with rolled oats or multigrain cereal, which will brown while baking.

Proceed to Step 6: Baking

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