- 2 cups warm water, about 110 degrees F
- 2 (1/4-ounce) packets RED STAR yeast
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
- 5 to 6 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- topping such as rock salt or sesame seeds, if desired
Combine the water, yeast, and 3 tablespoons of the sugar in a large bowl. Using a dough mixer, or a large spoon, stir well and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Gradually add 4 cups of the flour and the salt, and mix until the mixture comes together.
Add 1 to 1 1/2 cups additional flour 1/2 cup at a time to make a stiff dough, either stirring with a spoon or working with your hands. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and no longer sticky, about 5 minutes, adding just as much flour as needed. Grease a large bowl with 1 teaspoon of the oil. Place the dough in the bowl, turning to coat. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot until almost doubled, about 1 hour (less for quick-rise yeast). Punch down the dough. Place dough on a cutting board, and cut in half, then half each piece, then again and again until you have 12 equal portions. Form each piece of dough into a ball. Press and establish a hole in each center. Place on a lightly greased surface, cover with a clean cloth, and let rest until risen but not doubled in a draft-free spot, 20 to 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Grease a baking sheet with the remaining teaspoon of oil. In a large, heavy pot, bring 12 cups of water and the remaining tablespoon of sugar to a boil. In batches, add the bagels to the water and boil, turning, for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Flip bagels onto the prepared sheet pan. Sprinkle with toppings if desired. Bake for 5 minutes, turn over and cook for another 20 to 25 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack.