Ok, so here are my bagels, not my first time making them. I've actually been making bagels for several years now. I haven't had any complaints about them, in fact, many people say they really like them! However, I was on a quest to see if I could get more out of my bagels, see if I could make them better. So, I tried Peter Reinhart's recipe, minus the baking soda in the water on most of the bagels. I did do 2 bagels in the baking soda. I always thought that having baking soda in the water would make it taste a lot like a pretzel and I don't think that's how a bagel should taste! Well, I was wrong, well according to my husband :) Definitely a little tougher crust, in a good way and the malt adds a little but more flavor! Other than that, they taste just like the bagels I've been making for years.
But.....I'm not sure that the process I went through makes this bagel any better than the way I've been doing them. I've been following a very simple recipe, flour, water, yeast, salt and sugar. Let is rise until double, divide into 4 oz pieces, shape, let rest for 20 minutes, boil for a minute each side and bake for 15-20 minutes at 400-425. If I left the bagels to rise overnight in the fridge, they would turn out the same. I just don't know if the retarding process is really necessary. What do you think?