What usually causes doe to have a bumpy look and feel rather then that silky smooth surface that I'm trying to get. I'm usually making bagels. Does it need more kneading?
Even a raw dough should not be lumpy or bumpy. Appears to me your not mixing it thoroughly enough before kneading. Without the recipe it's difficult to focus your specific with any degree of certainty but it could easily be that the dough you're using is suffering from a lack of kneading.
Getting your dough smooth and silky starts with making sure you get all the lumps of dry flour broken up. Start by mixing the ingredients together until they are all a rough looking shaggy mass. Then cover and wait for 15 to 60 minutes for the water to be absorbed. Now push the flour ball into the counter with the heel of your hand, squishing it across the work surface. Pull it all back together with a scraper and knead it for a few minutes. If you are making bagels, you will need to continue kneading until the dough is smooth and silky. You may have to stop and let the dough rest for 10 or so minutes, covered. Time and kneading will give you that firm and smooth dough you need. There are some good video clips if you need more help. Good luck.
Bobku, you're not really clear with your question. Since you stated you usually make bagels and want a smooth surface instead of a bumpy one, could you be speaking about the crust of your finished bagel?
If so, then you are probably rolling the bagel dough into a ball, then poking a hole through it with your finger.
For a smooth, taunt surface, you need to cut a four-ounce hunk of dough, shape it into a rectangle, then roll it into a ten-inch log with blunt ends. That will give you surface tension and smoothness. You then wrap the log around the palm of your hand with the ends overlapping, and roll back and forth to seal the ends.
Here are a couple of links that might help you envision the process.
One from Wild Yeast and another from YouTube.
I personally concur with Susan's (WildYeast) technique, but whatever works for you is the key....presuming this applies to your question.
This exact issue was brought up in another recent post:
Over on my blog (http://yumarama.com/blog/397/bba-challenge-no-3-bagels-redux/) I did the Reinhart bagels (part of the BBA Challenge) and did half of them using the poke method and the other half using the rope method. Check about 2/3 of the way down to see the sample photos of the two types side by side.