Hooray–another excuse to add to the list why our baked goods sometimes fail, with no explanation. It just might be the water! I’ve heard this time and time again, that the water does affect our baking, and even our cooking. I have to agree. The water in the frozen tundra where I live is so chocked full of minerals and deposits, I’m surprised it leaves the tap in liquid form. Which, of course, is why we have a water softener which softens all the water in the house–except for the kitchen tap. I’m sure there’s a logical reason and explanation for that, but I’ve yet to figure out why the builders do that.
I have noticed that when I make bread with bottled water (or filtered water), the bread does take on a different texture. I can’t really say better, because, hey–I am a total breadivore and I’ll eat whatever I can get! I’m sure if I took the time to baked two loaves of bread and compare them side-by-side, I’d definitely have a preference. I have, however, noticed a flavor difference in my rice when I use filtered water—definitely better. But, perhaps it’s all in my head?
Have you ever had the chance to visit the Big Apple, aka, New York City? Or, if you are lucky enough to live there, go eat some bagels on my behalf! Truly, the pizza and bagels are better in NYC than anywhere else. Could that really be in my head? Seemingly, food always tastes better on vacation. But, alas, I have been backed up by none other than Mario Batali—it’s not in my head, there really is something in the water. According to Batali, via Wired Magazine, “Water,water is huge. It’s probably one of California’s biggest problems with pizza.” Water binds the dough’s few ingredients. Nearly every chemical reaction that produces flavor occurs in water, says Chris Loss, a food scientist with the Culinary Institute of America. “So, naturally, the minerals and chemicals in it will affect every aspect of the way something tastes.”
Clickedy here for full article (really, it makes you feel better about failed baked goods).
In the meantime, try doing a little experimenting on your own with different waters. It really depends on where you live and what type of water you are drawing. I can definitely attest, however, that you will find a significant different in your homemade pastas, breads, and even rice by trying different types of water. Even just using a simple Brita filter. So, I guess water really is the stuff of life!
Here in Central Texas, our water comes out of an aquifer, and is very hard. Before I lived here, I lived in Boulder, CO and Seattle, WA. What a difference! I finally started using bottled water for my pizza and bread dough, and it works much better.
This is so true!! I think it also explains why Dunkin Donuts are so delicious in the North East, but rather brick-like elsewhere.