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July 23, 2015 2:30 PM Subscribe
Why Is It So Hard to Get a Great Bagel in California? [New York Times] San Francisco bakeries have tried and tried again to replicate the chewy, crusty perfection of New York’s specialty. They are still trying.
The New York bagel, as everybody knows, is an institution. No bagel definition will satisfy all, but for starters, let’s just say: A good one requires a chewy interior with blisters, called fisheyes, on a shiny, crispy crust. Making a bagel requires several steps: Hand-roll enriched dough; let it rise, or proof; retard the rising in a refrigerator; boil briefly in malted water; then bake. Mitchell Davis, the executive vice president of the James Beard Foundation — a man who is currently living in Milan and who almost came to tears one recent Sunday morning at the thought of his husband back home in Gramercy Park, reading the wedding announcements and eating an everything from Brooklyn Bagel — believes that the secret to a good bagel is technique, the length of time, say, for proofing and boiling, more than the type of water or flour. Achieving the right crust is foremost. ‘‘That’s the hardest thing, that outer crunch,’’ Davis told me. He recalled that his father described the bagel as ‘‘a doughnut dipped in cement.’’
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