Everyone knows that the reason why New York City bagels are the best is the water. But beyond that, most people’s understanding is limited. Fortunately, the folks from science video series Reactions made this video to explain it to us laypeople.

It turns it the water is only part of it. The mineral content of New York’s water is naturally suited to firming up the gluten just right. But the real secret is in letting the dough sit for a few days to let the yeast ferment a little bit, and then boiling the bagels to lock in some water to set the perfect texture. Reactions gets a little more into how the chemistry works, but the moral of the story is to always boil bagels.

(Photo: Carl Lender)