My own history with bagels starts as my history with many foods probably does: wrapped in cheese. My earliest memory of bagels begins with a wait outside the Oldtown Pasadena location of Goldstein's Bagel Bakery. I love that their cheese bagels had a large slice of cheddar right across the top, not the miserly sprinkling you get at other bagel shops. (In fact, I think I remember reacting with outrage to learn that not all cheese bagels were as cheesy as I would prefer. Those who know me well would probably suggest that I am not the person who should determine the appropriate amount of cheese for anything, but with regard to cheese bagels I still think most shops are stingy, and Goldstein's has the right idea.)
I never considered baking my own bagels until I saw them as a Showstopper Challenge on the Great British Bake Off. Enter an accidental surplus of cream cheese (from making frosting) and I decided I would give it a try. I used the recipe from my copy of The King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion, which is my go-to source for new bakes. I chose to follow the instructions for adding sesame seeds, since those are a favorite of Dan's. My bagels are a little flat---I had to shorten the final rise since I was due to leave the house---so I don't think I would earn any handshakes from Paul Hollywood, but I'm still proud of them.
Incidentally, I used some of them to make really excellent, simple breakfast sandwiches (one scrambled egg, two slices of bacon, and a thin slice of colby jack).