Place the flour and salt into a large bowl and mix together. Pour 100ml of warm water into a jug, sprinkle over 1 tbsp of sugar and the yeast and then whisk together. Leave for 10 minutes to froth up and then add 200ml more warm water to the mix and the olive oil and stir together. Pour the yeast mixture into the dry ingredients and mix together with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together. Then tip out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes or until the dough is not sticky, smooth and slightly springy to touch. Shape into a ball and transfer to a lightly oiled boil, cover with oiled cling film and leave for 2 hours or until it has doubled in size. Heat oven to 220°C/fan 200°C/gas 7.
On a lightly floured surface, divide the dough into 8 pieces. Shape each piece into a flattish ball, then take a wooden spoon and use the handle to make a hole in the middle of each ball. Slip the spoon into the hole, then twirl the bagel around the spoon to make a hole about 3cm wide. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with nonstick baking paper and cover the bagels loosely with lightly oiled cling. Leave to prove in a warm place for another hour or until puffed up and doubled in size.
Meanwhile, bring a large pan of water to the boil and tip in the remaining sugar. Slide the bagels into the boiling water using a slotted spoon – 1 or 2 at a time. Cook for 1-2 mins, turning over in the water until the bagels have puffed slightly and a skin has formed. Remove with a slotted spoon and pat dry on a clean tea towel. Brush with beaten egg and then sprinkle the top of each bagel with sesame seeds or poppy seeds and place on the prepared baking tray. Bake in the oven for 20-25 mins or until golden brown - the bases should sound hollow when tapped. Leave to cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes before serving warm with your favourite filling such as cream cheese and smoked salmon.
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