Note: This is how I proof the dough. This is optional. Resting the dough in a warm place is fine but this is how I do it. While preparing the ingredients, set the oven at 170 degrees F for 5 minutes. Also, I boil 6 cups of water. Turn off water once it boils and cover pot. This pot of water will go inside the oven when proofing the dough.
In a small bowl, pour ½ cup warm water, then add sugar and yeast. Do not stir. Set aside for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, stir mixture until it dissolves in water.
In a large bowl, combine flour and salt then make a well in the middle and pour in the yeast mixture.
Pour ⅓ cup remaining warm water into the well. Mix and stir in the rest of the water as needed. Depending on the environment, you may need to add anywhere from a couple tablespoons to about ¼ cup of water. Dough should be moist and firm. I used 1 ½ cups water.
Sprinkle some flour on the work surface, knead dough for about 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Form dough into a ball.
Lightly brush a large bowl with oil and place dough. Cover bowl with a cloth. Place dough in a warm place to rise for an hour. I prefer to put it in the oven. Check the notes above. Dough will rise and double in size (provided you used yeast and flour that are not expired). Punch the dough down, cover bowl with damp cloth and let rest for another 10 minutes.
Divide dough into 8 pieces. Form dough into a square, cut in the center then divide each piece into 4 pieces.
Take a piece and form into a ball. Place it in the work surface and press down with your fingers to form a round dough. Dip your index finger in flour then poke the middle of the round dough to make a hole. Using both your hands, stretch and make the hole bigger like a bagel. Then place on a lightly oiled cookie sheet. Repeat the same process for all remaining dough.
When done shaping all the dough, cover the cookie sheet with a damp cloth for 10 minutes to rest. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425ºF or 220ºC.
In a large pot, pour water midway and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and lower a couple bagels with a slotted spoon in boiling water. Do not overcrowd for easy handling. Boil each side for 2 minutes if you prefer a chewier bagel similar to a New York Style bagel otherwise boil each side for 1 minute.
Use slotted spoon to remove bagel from water. Bagel is slippery so be careful. I use the handle of a wooden spoon to remove bagels. Drain water when removing bagel.
Once out of water, if you like to add toppings, brush bagel top lightly with egg wash, add your favorite toppings then transfer them to an oiled or parchment-lined baking sheet.
Bake for 20 - 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Oven temperature varies, so adjust time accordingly.
Cool on a wire rack, eat right away or store in fridge. Enoy!