I've made bagels only one other time in my life, and I remembered them as being a bit complicated. They need to rise, then to boil, then (finally) to bake.
After making them this time around, I can report that the process does take some time, but none of the steps are particularly difficult. I actually found that the process makes a great, somewhat leisurely, activity for a Saturday morning.
Homemade bagels are a labor of love, and they are well worth the effort.
In all honestly, these are the best bagels I can remember ever eating. Now, if that's not worth entertaining yourself for an hour while dough rises, I don't know what is.
The recipe I used is from A Beautiful Mess, but instead of topping them with "everything" as Emma did, I decided it would be fun to try four different toppings.
I chose three traditional varieties: salt, poppyseed, and asiago, as well as indulging a wild hair of inspiration that said, "Sunflower seeds are kind of like sesame seeds except that you're not out of them, so how about giving them a try?"
My favorite were the asiago, which were best right out of the oven. I also really liked the salt (larger-grained kosher salt is a must here), but they didn't hold up as well the next day; somehow all the crunch had gone out of them. The poppyseed made for a nice neutral flavor that tasted equally good with cream cheese as with peanut butter. The sunflower, my wildcard, were alright, but I didn't feel comfortable toasting them because I think the seeds would fall off and get stuck in my toaster, which would not be awesome.
All in all, it was a great success. I had a lot of fun making, eating, and proudly sharing my bagels, and I'm looking forward to making some again.
Let me know how your adventures in bagel-making go?