Combine the yeast, bread flour, salt, 1 T brown sugar and 1 1/2 cups warm water and knead vigorously for 10 minutes. The dough will be quite stiff.
Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, and set it aside to rise until it's noticeably puffy though not necessarily doubled in bulk, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Lightly grease two baking sheets, or line them with parchment and grease the parchment. Divide doug into eight pieces (for large bagels), or 12 pieces (for standard-size bagels).
Working with one piece at a time, roll it into a smooth, round ball. Place the balls on one of the prepared baking sheets. Cover the balls with plastic wrap, and let them rest for 30 minutes.
While the dough is resting, prepare the water bath by heating the water, malt, and sugar to a very gentle boil in a large, wide-diameter pan. Preheat your oven to 425°F.
Use your index finger to poke a hole through the center of each ball, then twirl the dough on your finger to stretch the hole until it's about 1 1/2" to 2" in diameter. Place half the bagels on each of the baking sheets.
Transfer the bagels, four at a time to the simmering water. Bring the water back up to a gently simmering boil, if necessary. Cook the bagels for 2 minutes, flip them over, and cook 1 minute more. Using a skimmer or strainer, remove the bagels from the water and place them back on the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining bagels.
Bake the bagels for 20 to 25 minutes, or until they're as deep brown as you like, turning them over about 15 minutes into the baking time (this will help them remain tall and round). Remove the bagels from the oven, and cool completely on a rack.
Variations: To make sesame seed or poppy seed (or other seed) bagels, brush each bagel, just before baking, with a glaze made of 1 egg white beaten until frothy with 1 tablespoon of water. Glaze each bagel, and sprinkle heavily with seeds.
To make onion-topped bagels, bake bagels for 20 to 22 minutes (or until they're almost done and remove the pan from the oven, keeping the oven turned on. Working with one bagel at a time, glaze as instructed above, and sprinkle with minced, dried onion. Return the bagels to the oven for no more than 2 minutes.
Cinnamon-raisin bagels: Knead about 2/3 cup of raisins into the dough toward the end of the kneading process. Just before you're done kneading, sprinkle your work surface heavily with cinnamon-sugar, and give the dough a few more turns. Divide the dough into pieces, form each piece into a ball, and roll each ball in additional cinnamon-sugar. Proceed to let rest and shape as directed above.