Some people really believe that the difference is the New York water. If I believed that, then I’d believe that you really can taste the nuances of “designer” salts. Yes, water does taste different in New York, but I have yet to be convinced that bagels know the difference.
Sometimes I think that trying to produce the perfect bagel is as dumb a pursuit as making my own couscous out of semolina flour, grinding my own flour, or buying casings from a butcher supply house and stuffing my own sausages. I really do have a flour grinder and sausage stuffer, both of which fit on my very old but virtually unchanged Kitchen Aid mixer.
No, I haven’t been able to cure this week’s obsession, so I’ve made too many bagels. The first batch looked flattened out, like the ones the bagel stores pass off as lower in calories. The second batch was so bad that I threw them out. This batch is almost perfect.