First, we always check to make sure the yeast is good by dissolving it in 1/4 cup warm water. It should double in size within approx. 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine boiled water, honey, and salt. Allow to cool to lukewarm. Then, add half the flour and the yeast. Mix well. Add remaining flour and knead to form a slightly stiff dough (about 8-10 minutes). Let rise until double (about one hour), covering to keep dough from drying out.
Punch down dough and divide into 12 equal size pieces. Shape into balls and allow to rest.
In a large pot, bring about 1 gallon of water to a boil, then add 1/3 cup of honey to it.
Now, here comes the fun part...
Working with only 6 balls at a time, take each ball and poke your thumb through the middle forming a hold, then twirl each new bagel on your thumb to enlarge the hole until it is about 1 1/2 inches in diameter.
Let each bagel rest about 5 minutes, then place it in the boiling honey water. Cook 2-3 bagels at a time adjusting the heat so that the water is simmering all the time. The bagels should sink, then rise in a few seconds; if they don't, they rested too long, but that's okay. Flip them over so that both sides get wet. After 1 minute in the water, remove them with a slotted spoon and place on a greased cookie sheet.
Bake at once in a preheated oven at 425º for about 25-30 minutes, turning bagels over at about the halfway point.
(Optional) The bagels may be brushed with a mixture of 1 beaten egg and 2 Tbsp. water. The egg wash gives the bagels a pretty, shiny look. You may also opt to sprinkle with sesame seeds, poppy seeds, minced garlic, etc. for a different flavor.