In a large mixing bowl, stir together water, yeast, and sugar. Let stand for 5 minutes.
With a wooden spoon, stir in oil, malt and one cup of the flour. Add salt, then enough of remaining flour to make a stiff dough.
On a lightly floured surface, knead for 10 to 12 minutes. Cover with a floured dish towel and allow dough to rest on a board for about 15 minutes.
Divide dough into 8 sections and form each section into 10-inch long strips. Roll the ends together to seal and make a ring. Place on a lightly floured surface, cover, and let bagels rest 15 to 20 minutes, rising about halfway and becoming slightly puffy.
Meanwhile, fill a large cooking pot or Dutch oven three quarters full with water. Add the malt syrup and salt.
Bring water to a boil. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line two large baking sheets with baking parchment and, if desired, sprinkle generously with corn meal. Set aside.
Line two other baking sheets with a kitchen towel, set near your stove. Reduce boiling water to a simmer and cook 2 bagels at a time (do not crowd the pot). Simmer bagels for about 45 seconds on one side, then turn and cook other side for another 45 seconds and then drain bagels on the towel-lined baking sheet.
Carefully place bagels on the parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake bagels plain or sprinkle with a topping of your choice. Place in the hot oven, immediately reduce heat to 425 degrees F, and bake about 17 to 25 minutes. When almost baked, turn bagels over (a pair of tongs do the job easily). If you have a baking stone, finish bagels on the stone directly. Transfer bagels to wire rack to cool.
These freeze well, which helps to retain a just-baked taste, if they aren't all eaten on the first day. To freeze, slice cooled bagels first, place a small strip of plastic between the bagel halves and place in a plastic self-sealing freezer bag. When you're ready for a bagel, they'll come apart easily, ready to pop into the toaster/oven and enjoy.