Is the dough tearing?
Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.
Calm down, it's kind of a long answer.
It isn't always the quantity of flour added or exceeded, but rather kneading time that is important with bagels. Bagels are usually made with high gluten flour, which has a protein content of 14-14.5% compared to that of bread flour which is 12-12.5% - a difference of 17%, which is kind of significant. Do you have any vital wheat gluten on hand? If so, add a tablespoon per cup of bread flour and be prepared to add some additional water. VWG is about 75% protein, and REALLY takes up water. If you don't have any VWG, go ahead and add more BF and be prepared to let your dough knead longer.
And one more thought: let the dough have an autolyse - basically a rest period. You stop kneading, cover the bowl (assuming a mixer here) with plastic, and let the dough relax. It sort of says, "Whew! THAT'S over!" and relaxes. Let it rest for a good 20 minutes. The gluten will continue to absorb water, and when you turn the mixer back on, the gluten is more willing to work with you. You'll be amazed at how quickly your dough will windowpane - I'm guessing within a couple of minutes.
Please let us know how your bagels turn out!
I agree w/ boulangere, but if that doesn't work, try completing a small test batch. For some recipes, the gluten window test is not applicable, especially if the recipe contains whole grain flours.
Thanks! I tried adding the vital wheat gluten and some (too much?) water, and now I'm letting the all-white-flour, sticky dough rise in the refrigerator overnight. I'll post an update/conclusion tomorrow. Here's the recipe I'm using -- http://smittenkitchen.com... -- I couldn't resist trying it after I saw the photos.
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Well played. You deserve a cookie.
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