I made 36 of these beauties today!
They are Montreal Style Bagels. I used the recipe at http://www.nytimes.com/1987/05/13/garden/in-montreal-bagels-like-none-other.html. These have been my most complicated achievement thus far. My husband is very particular about his bagels. These are close enough that he is satisfied with them.
They have to be formed carefully to make their round shape. They have to be timed rather carefully during their rising or else they balloon up like crazy. And they need to be boiled before baking. That is the tricky part. I still under-boil some of them, which makes them shrivel up into small, hard lumps, and I often make them too big or too small, and I still burn them because it depends on how warm they are when they go in the oven. Freshly boiled bagels need less baking time than those that have sat waiting to go in the oven. It surprised me to find out that the sesame seeds are for more than just taste - they keep the bagels off the pan just enough that they don't stick and burn onto the baking pan.
They turned out dark and crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. When boiling them, I have discovered that if the water is not hot enough, you get a wet, soggy blob of dough forming along the sides of the bagels that will not cook, no matter what. That has been a frustration sometimes. I have learned by trial and error that it is better to put in a new bagel only every 30 - 45 seconds and never have more than 3 in the boiling water at any time. When all was said and done, they made a mighty tasty supper straight out of the oven tonight! I ate one with peanut butter and one with ham and Miracle Whip. The children pretty much just ate them plain or with peanut butter. Delicious!