A few weeks ago, we had a Tasting Tuesday that set the bar incredibly high; our table was overflowing with cheeses from Sartori, and everyone went home with a full bag to experiment with. These bagels are the result of my never-ending love of carbs and my overflowing cheese drawer. If you find yourself wondering if the Asiago cubes will mix in with the rest of the dough, don't worry. Just keep insisting that it will work, and everything will be fine.
Pour sugar and yeast into ½ cup of the warm water. Stir to dissolve the yeast. Set aside.
Mix together flour, sugar, salt, and diced Asiago. Form a well in the middle of the mixture and pour in the yeast mixture and the rest of water. Stir until dough is stiff, but not dry.
Knead the dough until smooth. I don't have an electric mixer or bread machine, so this part can take a while. Make sure to flour your work surface liberally. The cheese cubes will want to escape from the dough. Don't let them! And since we're using bread flour, the dough will take a little longer to develop the gluten. Patience is a virtue.
Grease a glass bowl and place dough inside, turning to coat. Cover and let rise for one hour (until about double in size). Punch the dough down and allow to rise for another 10 minutes.
Divide the dough into 12-16 pieces and shape them into balls. Poke through the middle of each one with your finger and make the hole about 1-in across. Cover with a damp dish towel and let rest for 10 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 425°F and bring 4-5 cups of water to a boil, stirring in the brown sugar, over medium heat.
Drop bagels into boiling water (I could fit 4 at a time, but it depends on your pot). Boil for two minutes on each side, then use a slotted spoon to remove and place on a greased baking sheet. Continue until all bagels have had a dip. Top bagels with shredded cheese. More cheese=better.
Bake for 20 minutes, until a beautiful golden brown. If you smell something burning a little, obviously check your oven, but in my case it was just some cheese that fell off the top of the bagels.
Cool. Or don't and eat immediately, burning your tongue but feeling satisfied because it was totally worth it.