The dough was too dry to effectively shape into balls. As noted above, this recipe adds a lot of dry ingredients to the regular pan de coco recipe without corresponding increases in fat or other liquids. I doubt that using butter instead of coconut oil would have helped. In addition to creating a drier dough, the shaped loaves grew very little while proofing--a problem I've never had with pan de coco.
I have seen dozens of bread bakers post their bagels online, and I have never been interested in making them myself. I would not have made them if not for this book. Now, knowing they are so simple, delicious, and crowd-pleasing, I will absolutely make bagels again.