Friday, July 21, 2006

New York City water and bagels

There was recent news that there's been too much clay in NYC water, and the city might have to, for the first time, build a filtration plant to filter out impurities in the water we get from upstate reservoirs. Today, the Times had an article on reaction from bakers:

The wrong water can ruin things, he said. “You can’t use well water to make bagels,” he said. “You could, but they won’t come out right. What, exactly is in that water, I don’t know. I’m not a chemist, I’m just a bagel maker. All I can tell is the water in New York has always been good for bagels, Italian bread, pastries.”

Noel Labat-Comess, the president of Tom Cat Bakery, a wholesale operation in Long Island City, Queens, called the issue of filtration and taste a “nonworry.”

“Water used for bread that’s within a normal range has little or no effect on it,” he said. “It’s only when it gets to the extremes, when it gets extremely mineraly, that it can be a problem. I’ve never run into anyone in my years of baking anywhere that had a problem with their bread that was caused by the water.”

The article says that most of the people they interviewed didn't think water quality mattered much for most cooking, but they did definitely suggest using purified water for making coffee. I suspect Italian ices would also be badly affected by dirty water... I, for one, have a water filter in my fridge for some reason, but I always just use tap water, for cooking and for drinking.

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