2 tablespoons warm water, plus 1 1/3 cups warm water
1 package dry yeast
1/3 cup brown sugar
5 cups flour
1/2 cup baking soda
Mustard, as an accompaniment
In a large mixing bowl, mix 2 tablespoons warm (110-115 degrees F) water with the yeast to dissolve it. Then stir in the remaining warm water and brown sugar. Place bowl on a mixer and using a dough hook, gradually add the flour and continue mixing until it forms a ball. You may not need to add all the flour – play it by ear. Turn it out onto a work surface and knead the dough to make it smooth. Use enough flour on your work surface so the dough is not sticky.
Preheat oven to 475 degrees F.
Butter 2 sheet pans. Bring 2 quarts of water and the baking soda to boil in a large saucepan. Cut dough up into golf ball size pieces. Then roll them into 1/2-inch thick worms. Form a U then cross the ends, twisting at the middle. Fold the ends back down to meet the U (which is now an O) and press to secure the dough. (basically: make a pretzel shape). Drop it into the boiling water for 30 seconds then fish it out and place it on the greased sheet pan. Sprinkle with kosher salt, sesame seeds, or anything else you like. Repeat with the rest of the dough. Bake for 6-8 minutes or until golden brown.
I served the non-salty ones with honey butter. YUMMY! You can freeze or refrigerate some of the dough for later use :)
Yield: 20 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
To make bagels with the same dough:
Preheat oven to 425 F. Bring water with some salt (no baking soda) to a boil while you’re working with the dough. Form balls of dough a little smaller than the size of your fist and press down to make a shape like a bagel without a hole. Poke your finger into the middle of the dough, then spin it around your finger to form a hole in the bagel. The hole will shrink a little. Let bagels rise for about 5 minutes. Then put them into the boiling water and boil for a few minutes on each side. Remove bagels and place them on greased baking sheets. Add toppings while the bagels are still wet from having been boiled. Put bagels into preheated oven for 20- 30 minutes, or until golden. Enjoy them while they are hot or store in plastic bags (once cool) for up to 5 days.