One of the long debates we’ve been having at college is whether New York City or New Jersey has the best bagels. It’s time to settle the disparities.
So I googled “Why are New Jersey Bagels better?” The results were as follows:
Not one link about New Jersey.
Now here’s the science. The water in NYC is harder than in other cities; it has lower concentrations of calcium carbonate and magnesium. Some people believe that the hard water toughens the gluten in the dough and makes it taste better. But there is also an art to making great bagels, and NYC has got the process down.
First of all, you boil, not bake. The first step in making bagels is to let the dough sit in a refrigerator for a couple of days. This slows down the activity of the yeast while it rises, and the slower fermentation creates more flavor. Then, you boil in a water/salt/barley solution anywhere from 30 seconds to 3 minutes. This locks the liquid inside the bagel and expands the interior. It also thickens the crust and is where that shiny exterior comes from in a quality NYC bagel.
So although it may not really be the NYC water that makes the bagels so great, the process is unique and for some reason, they just taste better. The non-believers, also known as New Jersey, would argue that they have the best bagels. We’re sorry, NJ, but even Connecticut agrees that NYC just can’t be beaten. We refuse to take part in your weird competitive two-sides-of-the-Hudson rivalry, but people naturally flock to NYC for some good food. There are some great Delis in Connecticut, and some great pubs in NJ, but when you go to NYC, you can have it all.
My point is, there’s no competition. Sorry.