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The secret of New York City’s mythic bagel-making water


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Tired of hearing San Franciscans brag about their artisanal bagels? Send them this article and tell them to drink a big mug of steaming hot NYC water!

It's not JUST the water. It's the processes too:

“A lot of the water [in New York City] is coming down from the Catskills to the city so that water should be fairly pure to start with,” Self says. “The pH is slightly more acidic, whereas Denver water tends to be more alkaline, but it’s not by much.”

Pollack isn’t alone in this quest. The Florida-based Original Brooklyn Water Bagel Co. chain, founded in 2008, bases its own recipes on similarly “reconstructed” New York-style water at its 19 US restaurants, all located far, far away from Brooklyn.

Still, Pollack insists there’s more to it than just science.

“It’s not just the water that makes a good bagel,” he says, “but it’s a number of things that have been done the same way for almost 200 years. You can take one of the processes out; you can take the water out, and keep everything else true to the tradition and still have a really awesome bagel. But if you take out the water, and the oven that they traditionally use, you’re not going to get the same bagel.”

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