Making bagels is something I've wanted to try for a while, and today it didn't seem like it'd be so hard. First, combine:
1 package rapid-rise yeast
3/4 c. flour
3/4 c. warm water
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tbsp salt
and beat with vigor for a few minutes. Then, add about 1 1/2 c. more flour until a stiff dough is formed. Knead this for a few minutes, and let rise (covered) for 15 minutes. I left mine much longer than that, as it wasn't rising very quickly and the family was engaged in some mandatory horseplay in the other room.
When the dough has risen, cut it into 8 equal pieces; form each into a ball. Poke a hole in the center and enlarge it while working into bagel shape (or really, whichever shape happens...). Cover these and let rise again.
Boil a gallon of water (with a pinch of sugar), and when it's simmering, add the bagels. Boil them for 7 or so minutes, and remove to a greased baking sheet. I brushed them with beaten egg for kicks, which provided a nice lil' crust.
Bake at 375 degrees for about half an hour.
I was gleeful to get an actual bagel taste out of these, with none of the strange preservative-induced hints that you get in Thomas' and other storebought bagels. And they weren't too much work.
Also, delicious for breakfast with cream cheese and smoked salmon!