I was discussing the craft of making bagels with my friend Randy this afternoon. Toward that end, I found this video on how to make bagels on youtube. This guy has a pretty good handle on how to do it. A few notes from my personal experience:
1. Those bagel boards are rather optional. I've made wonderful bagels (in Kansas City) without them in my own kitchen.
2. Pizza stone: You could probably get by without one, but if you are into this kind of thing, get one! I've found the best to be those from FibraMent. You can leave them in the oven at all times.
3. You can vary the malt (this guy uses a powdered malt). I get mine from Northern Brewer. You can also use molasses.
4. The book he references at the beginning by Hammelman is one of the best.
5. The fermentation is critical to developing the favor in a wonderful bagel (or bread, for that matter). This is the process (well, one of so many) that separates a NY bagel from all the rest. Let's now even talk about off-the-shelf "bagels". wedding selections with long sleeve on sale
It is very rewarding to make these. I've done it many times. Yep, even in KC. (New Yorkers say it can't be done because outside NYC, you don't have the right kind of water [from the East River?!] - I don't buy it).
Give it a try! You can freeze (you might slice them first!) what you don't eat, or share them with friends.
And by the way, you don't need cream cheese. Try hummus!
Two more things...
1. You can buy a bagel slicer which looks kind of like a guillotine ( ! ) from Amazon. Look it up. Not required but kind of handy.
2. The first time I made these, they came out like the letter C... they didn't bond together in the rolling stage. But they were still great! So, don't be afraid. Try it. Practice makes wonderful bagels.