The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Baking Soda in Bagel water bath

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nycbaker11's picture
nycbaker11

Baking Soda in Bagel water bath

Hello Bakers, 

 

Can someone explain to me why the need for Baking Soda in water bath for bagels? the malt powder/syrup I understand, but I dont' know why many recipes call for the baking soda.

Thank you in advance, 

Ray

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

Makes the beagle bagel shiny, but adds nothing to flavour or texture.

Is completely optional.

vtsteve's picture
vtsteve

Many people seem to want pretzel-style browning/flavor on their bagels; the alkaline baking soda bath (weakly) encourages this. I've also seen references to a full-on 3% lye dip (never boiling), which is the preferred pretzel bath. I prefer the plain malt boil, 30 seconds a side.

nycbaker11's picture
nycbaker11

I will skip the baking soda next time and go with just 1 TBSP of malt powder and compare the bagels.

 

Ray

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

Malt powder in the bagel dough. Malt syrup in the simmering water.

Me thinks is correct but, if not, someone will shame me presently.

nycbaker11's picture
nycbaker11

So I do 1 TBSP powder in dough, and another in simmering water. 

 

Ray

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

I've never used the malt powder in the boiling water.

I don't know anything about it's solubility.

Find malt syrup at a beer store (home-brew store) in your area.

gary.turner's picture
gary.turner

Baking soda or lye in solution causes a reaction known as hydrolysis.  The starch molecule is split and a +H ion is connected to one end,  and a -OH ion to the other. The result is maltose.

Lye, as potassium hydroxide (KOH), would have been readily and cheaply available to anyone with a wood burning oven. It would have been used in the home rather than malt sugar (expensive) to sweeten and to help brown the crust; after all, they extracted the lye from wood ash anyway to make soap.

I imagine that commercial bakeries preferred to use the malter's product because dripping water through wood ash is time consuming, and the concentrated commercial product would have been dangerous. The malter could provide a consistent combination of simple and complex sugars which the baker could use to 'brand' his bagel's flavor.

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

g