Denver bagel shop finds NYC’s secret ingredient
Those interested in the baking & pastry arts may be wondering what makes a good bagel. For many, bagels are a matter of local pride, with New York City in many ways being regarded as the bagel capital of the world. Those looking for breakfast on the go can do no better than the Big Apple, but what makes the city’s bagels so special? A Colorado baker is convinced he’s found the secret ingredient. According to Quartz, Denver bagel baker Josh Pollack has recreated the makeup of NYC’s water supply to make his own bagels in the Mile High City. With this recipe, Pollack has opened up Rosenberg’s Bagels, and promises “the best New York City bagel west of the Mississippi.”
Pollack concluded that the levels of calcium and magnesium in New York’s water supply are the two crucial elements that contribute to the high quality of the city’s bagels. Elements in water have an effect on the baking process, and Pollack was determined to find the levels of total dissolved solids (TDS) that make NYC’s bagels top notch.The baker found that these levels vary from neighborhood to neighborhood, but that there’s a key factor that contributes overall.
“It’s mainly New York’s watershed program that’s the difference,” Pollack told Quartz. “They don’t use a sediment filter for their water, so a lot of the minerals that come from the reservoirs, as a result of those watershed protections, are still in the water.”
Of course, water alone doesn’t lead to a good bagel. The process of making these baked goods is 200 years old and involves boiling the dough to achieve the firm exterior and soft interior. Similar to any other culinary pastime, creating quality bagels is an art form. Rosenberg’s Bagels is working to recreate the New York City flavor in Denver, but the quality is as much due to Pollack’s expertise as it is his effort to replicate the water.
Pollack’s devotion to recreating small aspects of the baking process also serves to showcase a larger trend of chefs paying more attention to the minute details of gastronomy. More and more chefs are focusing on quality ingredients. In the case of bagels, both the ingredients and cooking methods have a tremendous effect on taste and texture, proving that the smallest details lead to great food.