The perfect balance of cinnamon and sugar takes this breakfast favorite to the fair! Churro bagels are a perfect sweet breakfast treat, and leftovers freeze well for later.
Combine the sponge ingredients in a large bowl and mix until combined. This should look like a thick batter with no dry bits of flour.
Cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit at room temperature 2 hours until almost doubled in size and quite bubbly.
If you used the bowl of a stand mixer, place the bowl into the mixer and attach the dough hook. Add the yeast, salt, sugar, and cinnamon to the sponge and stir to combine.
Add the flour one cup at a time until a thick dough forms. Knead for 6 minutes by machine or 10 by hand. The dough should not be sticky, but shouldn't be dry either. Adjust tablespoon by tablespoon with either flour or water as needed.
Transfer to a lightly floured surface and use a kitchen scale to weigh out your dough into equal sized portions. I measure each to 3.5 ounces and get about 16 bagels per batch. Cover the dough balls with a slightly damp kitchen towel or paper towel and allow to rest 10 minutes before shaping.
Line 3 baking sheets with parchment and spray lightly with oil or a nonstick spray. This is where the bagels will rest once shaped.
To shape, roll each piece of dough into a ball, then use your thumb to puncture a hole in the center. Gently shape the edges to form an even "tube" and place onto the prepared baking sheet. Allow the bagels to sit another 10-15 minutes, then spray lightly with oil or nonstick spray, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least overnight, up to 2 days.
On baking day, preheat your oven to 500 F with two oven racks positioned in the middle of the oven. Bring your water to a boil in a large stock pot.
When the water is at a rolling boil, remove the first tray of bagels from the refrigerator. Add the baking soda to the water and drop 2-3 bagels into the pot. Boil for 1-2 minutes per side. While the bagels are boiling, sprinkle the baking sheet with a little cornmeal to prevent sticking.
Place the boiled bagels on the prepared baking sheet. Place the first sheet of bagels into the oven on the lower rack and set the timer for 5-6 minutes. Boil the second sheet of bagels.
When the timer rings, your second baking sheet should be ready to go, so move the currently baking tray of bagels to the top middle oven rack and rotate. Place the second batch of bagels in the bottom middle oven rack. Set the timer for another 5 minutes. Start boiling the third baking sheet of bagels. The top rack of bagels is done when the bagels are a light golden brown. Remove the top pan from the oven, rotate the pan on the bottom rack to the top rack, add freshly boiled bagels to the bottom rack. Repeat until all bagels are baked.
Mix together your cinnamon and sugar for the topping. While the bagels are still warm, brush the tops with the melted butter and dip into the cinnamon sugar. Enjoy! We like to top these with a bit of chocolate hazelnut spread or butter.
*To get the closest texture to "bagel shop" bagels, you'll need a high gluten flour. I have never been able to find a labeled "high gluten" flour where I've lived, so I typically use bread flour and add a tiny bit of gluten. You can find gluten in the baking section of most grocery stores near the flour. I add about 1/2 tsp of gluten per cup of flour when using bread flour or 1 tsp if using an unbleached all-purpose. This recipe will work using just regular bread flour though if you don't bake bread often and don't want to purchase gluten.
**Bagels are best within a day or so of baking, so we freeze leftovers. To reheat place in a cold oven and warm to 350 F. By the time the oven is warm, the bagels have typically thawed, warmed through and have a light toast. Slice carefully and enjoy!