2 cups frothy bubbling starter (the consistency is thick batter not runny)
1 tablespoon malt syrup (or 2 if you like a maltier taste) (from the homebrew supplies)
2 tablespoons gluten
teaspoon kosher salt (you could use 2 tsp)
cup lukewarm water (⅓ to ½)
Add to the starter mixture and mix at slow speed until it is a shaggy mess. Add 1/4 cup water while mixing; keep adding more a little bit at a time until the flour is almost all incorporated. Raise speed a notch and add a little more water as necessary to make a stiff, plastic dough. The dough will weigh 2 pounds when ready.
Turn out on your kneading surface and knead until completely smooth. Little or no flour should be required to keep it from sticking. Form into a ball and let it rest, covered with a floured towel for about 15 minutes. Keep the dough you are not working on covered with the towel while you cut the ball in half, then quarters and eighths. You will have 8 equal triangular bits of dough. Keep them covered while you take out one at a time and shape it into a ball. Put that one back under the towel and do the next one. After all the balls are shaped let them rest while you prepare the pan or pans they will rise in.
Shape the balls into bagel shapes. You can do this by rolling them out into ropes about 10 or 11 inches long, without tapering the ends, then overlapping and pinching the ends and rolling against the kneading surface with your hand in the hole until it is well sealed and uniformly thick. I find this tedious and prefer to poke a hole in the center of the ball and stretch it into shape. This makes less perfect looking bagels, but once they are covered with a topping, no one is the wiser. If I were baking them plain, I would use the rope method.
Place each in the pan(s), leaving plenty of space between them. You don't ever want them to touch as they rise because it will be difficult to cut them apart without deflating and mishaping them. Cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap so it will never touch the bagels. Refrigerate for 12-15 hours. They will not appear to have risen much at all.
I boil one at a time; any more creates the danger of over boiling. Drop one bagel into the boiling water and press it under the water with the skimmer. Boil for 20 or 30 seconds, just until the dough becomes a little puffy. Remove with the skimmer and flip it into the bowl of seeds top side down. I use a chopstick in the hole to remove the bagel otherwise I end up with burnt and sticky fingers. Place the bagel on the cake rack. When all are boiled, wait a minute or two for the last ones to dry a little. Steam the oven while you're waiting.
For onion topping: Thinly slice an onion or two and cut into little pieces, not too long, but not chopped or square either. Saute in a little olive oil until soft but not brown. Mix with as much poppy seed as you want. Just before topping the bagels, add a little kosher salt. I make this topping right after I put the dough into the refrigerator and let it sit out to dry a little during the 12 hours the bagels are in the fridge. Because of the oil, the onions won't stick like seeds do; so pat the onion
Blueberry bagels could be made by adding chopped DRIED blueberries to the flour. I think 1/2 cup would be right. I have not tried this.
NOTES : I thought I made great bagels, but I just modified my recipe to use sourdough and they are even greater now-lighter but still very chewy.
Here's my recipe: Don't try to double it, if you value your mixer.
Don't let the length of this recipe deter you; it is really easy and not time consuming at all.
Once you have gone through it, you will have the routine down. I can, and probably have, done them in my sleep. I never buy bagels anymore, mine are as good as, if not better than, the best bakery bagels (which by the way are NOT Noah's.)