24 maggio 2013

Bialys for company - We Knead To Bake # 5 and BBD # 59

For this fifth challenge of We Knead To Bake, the baking group Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen created last January with the very nice idea to bake a different bread every month, she choose a very funny and interesting bread, stuffed with spicy vegetables: Bialys.
They are very common in the States, a sort of street food you can get everywhere, but they have a long story behind as Aparna tells us in her post:

The Bialy maybe thought of as a cousin to a Bagel but is quite different from it. For one thing, a Bialy is baked whereas a Bagel is boiled and then baked. A Bialy is round with a depressed middle, not a hole, and typically filled with cooked onions and sometimes poppy seeds. So it is not shiny on the outside with largish puffy bubbles on the inside. A good Bialy should have a springy soft crumb and a chewy and floury crust. A lot of people slather Bialys with butter or cream cheese but they are also nice as they are. Bialys are best when eaten within 5 to 6 hours of making them.

The name Bialy comes from Bialystocker Kuchen which translates as “bread from Bialystok” which is in Poland. Apparently, Bialys are rarely seen or made in Bialystock these days. In the days when there used to be Bialys in Bialystock, it seems the rich Jews ate Bialys with their meals, while the Bialys were the whole meal for the poorer Jews.

In the early 1900s, many Eastern Eurpoeans, including the Polish, immigrated to the US and settled down in New York. Naturally, they also brought their Bialy making skills with them and that is how the New York Bialy became famous.


What lends Bialys their signature chewiness is the use of flour that is high in gluten. Aparna suggests to use bread flour if you can find it. Otherwise use all-purpose flour and add 1 tbsp vital wheat gluten (for the 3 cups). I forgot this tip and used plain flour and had nice Bialys as well (can't say if they were slightly softer as never tasted the originals),

Aparna suggests one way to make them slightly chewier: just refrigerate the dough overnight after the first rise. The next day, take the dough out and keep it at room temperature for about half an hour. Then shape the rolls and proceed with the recipe. These Bialys are on the softer side so do not over bake them or they will dry out and become tough.

Bialys usually have a thin layer of caramelised onions and poppy seeds. 
I followed Aparna's indication and made caramelised onions with garam masala and they were delicious! Made some also with fried zucchini with curry.
But you can use whatever filling you would like, just remember the filling needs to be savoury.

A couple of videos might help: how to shape Bialys (but I was more confident doing directly on the baking tray helping with my fingers) and how to eat them.

My first batch was a disaster as I used a new dried instant yeast (and I'm not so keen on dried yeast, prefer the fresh one) that didn't work and nothing rose as it should (then I ate all the filling as it was so good :-).
The second try was perfect, was able to take only a few pictures as my guests were waiting for them!
I found it's a very nice bread for company, to be enjoy with friends as we did, so that I will send it to Ninive too who's hosting BBD # 59, the monthly baking event created by Zorra more than 5 years ago and still happily on the run.

(recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour)
for 8 large bialys


For the dough:

1 teaspoon instant yeast (10 g fresh yeast)
1 tbsp sugar (barley malt)
1 1/4 cup water
3 cups all-purpose flour 
(use bread flour if you can find it or all-purpose flour + 1 tbsp vital wheat gluten)
1 tsp salt
milk for brushing the dough (oat milk)

For the Onion Filling:

1 tbsp oil
3 medium onions, finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
3/4 tsp garam masala
salt to taste
100 g paneer, crumbled (optional)

Better to use an electric kneader.

Put the yeast, sugar, salt and flour in the food processor bowl. Pulse a couple of times to mix and then add the warm water in a steady stream. Knead until the dough comes together as a mass and then let the dough rest for 10 minutes. This will help the dough absorb water. Knead again, adding a little more water or flour (not too much) if you need it, until your dough is smooth and elastic but not sticky.

Shape it into a ball and put it in a well-oiled bowl, turning the dough till it is well coated. Cover and let it rise till about double. This should take about 2 hours. If you’re not making the Bialys right away, you can refrigerate the dough overnight at this point. When ready to make them, keep the dough at room temperature for about half an hour and then proceed with the rest of the recipe.

In the meanwhile, make the filling. Heat the oil in a pan, and add the cumin seeds. When they crackle, add the onions, and sauté over low to medium heat. Sprinkle a little salt and continue sautéing until they become soft and turn golden brown in colour. Add the garam masala and stir well. Keep the caramelised onions aside to cool.

Sprinkle your work surface lightly with flour and place the dough on it. Divide it into 8 equal pieces and shape each one into a roll by flattening it and then pinching the ends together to form a smooth ball. (this video might help). Place the rolls on a lightly greased baking sheet and cover them with a towel. Let them rise for about one hour (about  1 1/2 to 2 hours for refrigerated dough)  till pressing with a finger on the top leaves a dent.

Work on one piece at a time, while you keep the others covered so they don’t dry out. When the rolls are ready, pick them up one at a time and using your fingers, form the depression in the middle. Hold the roll like a steering wheel with your thumbs in the middle and your fingers around the edges. Pinch the dough between your thumb and fingers, rotating as you go and gradually making the depression wider without actually poking a hole through.

Remember not to press on the edges, or they will flatten out. Once shaped, you should have a depression about 3” in diameter with 1” of puffy dough around the edge, so your Bialy should be about 4” in diameter. Prick the centre of the Bialy with a fork so the centre doesn’t rise when baking.

making bialys

Place the shaped dough on a parchment lined (or greased) baking tray leaving about 2 inches space between them. Place the caramelised onion filling in the depressions of each Bialy. Brush the outer dough circle with milk. If you’re using crumbled paneer, add it to the Bialys in the last 5 minutes of baking or it will get burnt.

Bake the Bialys at 230°C (450°F) for about 15 minutes till they’re golden brown in colour. Cool them on a rack. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. 
They keep well in an airtight container for a day or two and just need to be warmed up slightly before serving.


Definetely a bread to bake again!

 This recipe also goes to Susan's weekly YeastSpotting

8 commenti:

Sandhya Ramakrishnan ha detto...

Awesome clicks and delicious looking rolls!

Cindystar ha detto...

Sandra, thanks!

Anonimo ha detto...

Vrey interesting story and a really appetizing "bread" - my fingesr are already itching to try those for myself - thank you!

Cindystar ha detto...

Ninive, thank you for hosting my favorite baking event! :-)
And do give a try to bialys, they really worth the work!

Ana M. Adserías ha detto...

they look great!

Cindystar ha detto...

Aisha, thanks :-)

Anna Purna ha detto...

I love what I see! Looks very delicious. Great idea.


Cindystar ha detto...

Anna Purna, thanks, give a try as they definetely worth! :-P

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