this was my first attempt at making bagels. i modified nancy silverton's recipe a little to make my own sourdough bagels. half of them i boiled in a lye-water solution and the others i boiled in a bakingsoda-water solution. I also boiled some for just 20 seconds and the others for upwards of 2 minutes. I did all of this because i have read many different recipes and theories about what make the best bagel. They all turned out great. however, i like best the ones that i boiled for only 20 seconds before baking. i think they have a better skin. The lye-water solution also gave the bagels a nice dark skin which i think looks better.