These are perfect for Fall baking. They freeze beautifully. If using the brown sugar topping, lower the oven temperature by 25 degrees and extend the baking time accordingly (otherwise, your smoke detector might get a work out!)
3 1/2cupsbread flour
2 1/2cupswaterroom temperature
1tsp.instant or dry active yeast
1tsp.instant or active dry yeast
Optional: couple of handfuls of raisins
1Tbsp.baking sodafor boiling
1largeeggfor egg wash
Brown sugarfor sprinkling
Make the sponge: Combine yeast with water and let stand a few minutes. In a large bowl, combine the flour with the yeast/water mixture until all the flour is moistened. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let stand for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Make the dough: In a small bowl, combine the second teaspoon of yeast with a bit of water and let stand a few minutes. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the pumpkin puree with the salt, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Add the yeast/water mixture and stir in. Add the sponge mixture and combine. Start adding more flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough comes together in a ball around the dough hook (*If you feel your mixer starting to strain at all, stop and remove dough to counter to finish kneading there). Knead until dough is smooth and elastic, adding flour as necessary so the dough is moist, but not sticky.
Immediately form dough into 12-13 balls (see note below) - about 4 1/2 oz. each. Cover with a towel and let stand 20 minutes. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat. Shape dough balls into bagels by pinching through the center of each ball with your thumb and fore finger to make a hole and then gently expanding the hole, while rotating the bagel like you're turning a steering wheel. Place shaped bagels on to prepared pan. Once all are shaped, spray some plastic wrap with oil and cover bagels tightly (oiled side down). Let stand at room temperature for an additional 30 minutes, then refrigerate anywhere from 4 hours to 12 hours (overnight-ish). Be sure pan is covered tightly with plastic wrap, so the bagels don't dry out.
When ready to bake pre-heat oven to 500 ° F., with rack in lower 1/3 of oven, and bring a large Dutch oven or similar-sized pot of water to a boil. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. Once water is boiling, add 1 Tbsp. baking soda. Remove a few bagels from the fridge and pop into the boiling water, top side down. Boil for one minute, flip over, then boil for one minute more. Remove with a slotted spoon to prepared baking sheet. Repeat until you have 6 bagels boiled. Brush with egg wash and optionally, sprinkle with a bit of brown sugar. (*If using brown sugar topping, reduce oven temperature by 25 degrees for each step and extend baking time a few minutes.
Bake for 6 minutes, then rotate pan front-to-bake, lower temperature to 450° F. and bake for an additional 8-10 minutes, until golden brown. Remove to a cooling rack. Repeat process with additional bagels.
*How to shape dough into balls: Section off a piece of dough and lay it flat on the counter. Start pinching the opposite edges together in the centre, rotating and repeating until you've pinched all the edges into the centre and made a tight ball. Flip over so the pinched part is down. You should have a smooth and tight top side.
Be sure to read the "Cook's Notes" in the original post, for more tips, options, substitutions and variations for this recipe!