Adding to water for bagels--a question
So, in the last few weeks I've started trying out the pretzel formula from Jeff Hamelman's Bread, with very pleasing results. One modification I made was to boil the pretzels instead of cold-dipping them, and use 1tbsp baking soda per cup water instead of lye. The result: a lovely mahogony colored, crispy thin yummy crust.
Now I'm wondering if I ought to try a similar approach with my bagels. Normally I boil them 1 minute per side, with just 1 tbsp baking soda in the whole pot of water (maybe 6-8 cups). The results are always good, but there's room for improvement on the crust. However, I'm not sure whether that wonderful "pretzel-y" flavor on the pretzels came from the dough, the baking soda, or the amount of time in the water. Its a great flavor, but I wouldn't want my bagel tasting like a pretzel!
Has anyone experimented with various concentrations of baking soda in bagel water? I've also seen it recommended to put malt in instead. Any idea how much? In Hamelman's bagel recipe he says to add enough to make the water look like "strong tea", but that's not terribly informative (especially since I'm working with a black non-stick pot).
Any suggestions would be appreciated!