2 packages active dry or compressed yeast
2 cups warm potato water or plain water (must be lukewarm for compressed yeast)
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup oil
8 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
2 quarts boiling water
2 tablespoons sugar
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water
Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup of potato or plain water. (Potato water is water in which peeled potatoes have been cooked.) Beat eggs in large mixing bowl, add the yeast mixture, remaining water, salt, 1 tablespoon sugar, oil and 2 cups of the flour. Beat until smooth. Add enough of the remaining flour to make a workable dough.
Turn out on floured board and knead until smooth and elastic, adding more flour as needed. Kneading should take about 10 minutes. Dough should be firm. Put dough in greased bowl and let rise in a warm (80 to 85 degree) place covered lightly (tea towel is good), until it has doubled in size, about 90 minutes.
Punch dough down and knead again a few minutes on lightly floured board until smooth and elastic. Pinch off pieces of dough and roll between the palms to form ropes about 6-inches long and 3/4-inch wide. Pinch the ends together firmly to form doughnut shape. Should yield about 32.
Bring 2 quarts of water to boil; add the 2 tablespoons sugar. Drop bagels into water one at a time. As they come to the surface, turn them over. Whole process should take 3 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon and place on greased cookie sheets. Brush with egg and water glaze. Bake in 425-degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes.
Variations: Sprinkle with poppy seeds or coarse salt or sesame seeds before baking.