Homemade bagels are shockingly easy to make, and most of the problems you may encounter are just as easy to avoid.
A lot of recipes claim to be foolproof, but when it comes to bread, that’s a particularly bold claim. From rogue ovens to weak flour, plus fluctuating temperatures when proofing, a yeasted dough involves a lot of moving parts. My bagel recipe goes a long way toward controlling these variables, and is as close to foolproof as they come, as I found out while intentionally trying to ruin the dough to illustrate a few key points.
Despite my best efforts, most of the bagels turned out better than what I can buy at the store. Even so, to one degree or another, I was able to re-create the most common problems you might encounter with homemade bagels, and offer some simple solutions.