I will be away from my computer for the next few days so don't worry if you don't hear from me till next week. I'll try to send out a new recipe when I return. Meanwhile, the bagel responses are coming in as well as more of the French bread responses--great feedback, everyone!
I've already incorporated some of your suggestions and here's one for the bagel testers in addition to the shaping instructions as written: try making a batch where you don't shape the bagels until the following day (that is, put the bulk dough in the fridge overnight instead of shaping them). Then, shape them the day of the bake and allow 1 to 2 hours (or longer, if needed) for them to pass the float test. If you make this variation, please send me your findings. The tester who sent me this suggestion preferred these to the original version. Also, this tester reported good results with adding a tablespoon or two of malt syrup to the boiling water in addition to the salt and baking soda. These are exactly the kind of tweaks I'm looking for--many thanks!!!