This is just a quick update on the bagels I posted a few weeks ago. Since then, I've made them several times and the kids are just gobbling them up. But I've learned a few things since that first time so I thought I'd share.
1. You don't need high gluten flour - I've used King Arthur Bread flour, found in most supermarkets (the cheapest around town is Wal-mart) and I found no difference in the results.
2. You really must try to incorporate almost all of the flour in the recipe. It takes a little while and even my Kitchenaid has trouble kneading the stiff dough so I knead it by hand, adding a little more flour every few kneads, until you're sure the dough couldn't handle another bit of flour. The one time I didn't add as much flour, the bagels were a little flat.
3. It took some trial and error, but the best way that I found to make your toppings stick, is to brush the bagel with egg white wash not once, but twice. Whisk an egg white with a teaspoon or so of water. Using a pastry brush, brush the egg white on, let it dry, then brush a little more egg white on and sprinkle on the toppings while the second coating is still wet. This method worked better than just one coating of egg, better than just water, and better than a water and cornstarch mixture.
4. I boil the bagels in the water bath for exactly 45 seconds per side, instead of one minute or more, so that they are the perfect chewiness.