I've made these bagels at least a dozen times so far and even the first time they came out really well. (And I am not an expert baker by any means...)
I do a couple of things differently though. Instead of forming the bagel shapes from dough, I cut the dough into the sizes I want (I usually weigh each piece to about 3 oz.) Then I need each little ball again, and let them proof until they are a little puffy, about 10 minutes or so.
Then, placing each ball on a very lightly covered surface, I stick my finger through the middle of each ball, and well... wiggle my finger, until I whip/rotate the dough ball around and around until the hole is big enough to fit three fingers through.
Then I let the formed bagels proof until they are ready to boil. After boiling them, I apply an egg wash and bake them for about 18-19 minutes.
Love this recipe. It takes some time, but if you make a big batch it can save you a lot of money on store bought bagels.
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I've made these bagels at least a dozen times so far and even the first time they came out...