As any true bagel enthusiast knows, store-bought simply can't compare to a freshly baked, New York-style bagel. And while they may seem intimidating to make on your own, rest assured, a great bagel is relatively simple to make and uses just a few pantry ingredients. Though they require 2 days from start to finish, the hands-on involvement is minimal, making them a great weekend baking project. This easy-to-follow recipe yields a dense bagel with a nice level of chew, and a fantastic outer crust. The real secret to producing a NYC deli-quality bagel is boiling them in a baking soda solution prior to baking in the oven; doing so is what creates their signature texture and flavor, and aids in the browning process by increasing the surface PH on of the dough. These bagels will blister slightly because of the overnight proofing (which also yields a more intensely flavorful bagel); to reduce the size of the blisters, make sure your water is at a rolling boil before you drop the raw bagels in. Boil longer for a chewier bagel, but do keep in mind that the longer you boil, the less they will rise in the oven. Barley malt syrup and vital wheat gluten can both be found at grocery stores such as Whole Foods. You can substitute honey for the barley malt syrup if need be, however, your bagels will not have the same distinct bittersweet flavor as those from your favorite bakery.