Combine the warm water, sugar and yeast in a small bowl and set aside. The yeast needs a little time to wake up, it should be nice and foamy like in the picture by the time you get everything else set up.
Here is where the recipe differs depending on if you're using a mixer or working by hand. I use a mixer these days so I dont have any pictures doing it by hand, but trust me it works just as well.
If you're using a mixer to knead your dough, combine the flour and salt in the mixer bowl. Using the mixing paddle set it to the minimum speed and gradually add the yeast mixture, milk and oil.
Once the ingredients have come together roughly, switch over to the dough hooks. Use the hooks to knead the dough for approximately five minutes.
Once you're done kneading the dough will still be fairly crumbled but you can just shape it back together by hand.
Going clockwise from the top: Activated yeast foaming up, my bench mixer with the dough hook sitting in front, the ingredients after a quick mix, the dough hook at work.
Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the center.
Pour the yeast mixture, milk and oil into the well and using a wooden spoon, gently mix until the ingredients come together into a rough dough.
Sprinkle a clean surface with some more plain flour and turn out the dough onto it.
Knead the dough for approximately 10 minutes. This is done by pushing the dough into the bench and away from you with the palms of your hands, then folding it in half and turning it 90 degrees to the side. Push the dough away from you again etc.
Simply keep repeating the pushing and folding until the dough is silky and elastic, which should take about 10 minutes.
Place the dough back in it's bowl and sprinkle lightly with water. Cover it with cling film and a tea-towel and leave it in a warm place to rise. After about an hour, the dough will have doubled in size.
Knead the dough again for five minutes either by hand or with the mixer.
Line two baking trays with baking paper.
Separate the dough out into eight equal portions. Take each portion and roll it out into a rough sausage shape about the length of your hand. Lightly wet each end of the sausage and pinch them together to form a ring. Lay the rings out on the baking trays and cover again with cling film and tea-towels.
Leave the bagels to rise for another hour. They probably wont get to twice their size but they will be noticeably larger and less dense.
Fill a saucepan with water and set it to boil. This is a good time to preheat your oven to 180 degrees.
Once the water is boiling, add two or three bagels and boil them for one minute on each side. Put the boiled bagels back on their trays. Repeat until all the bagels have been boiled. This step is part of what gives the bagels their distinctive crust.
Going clockwise from the top: Kneaded dough divided into eight, dough formed into bagel rings, bagels after the second rising, boiling bagels.
Flip the bagels over to allow the undersides to dry. Meanwhile, mix a tablespoon of oil with the dried herbs, cracked pepper and salt.
Brush the oil mixture over the bagels and put them in the oven.
Bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden and sound hollow when tapped.
Enjoy classic style with cream cheese and salmon or you can try my favorite Aussie twist with Vegemite and butter.
Note: These bagels are homemade and so don't have the preservatives that keep them fresh for longer. They are ideal eaten fresh out of the oven. They are still excellent toasted for several days but will get progressively denser over time.