Friday, March 23, 2012

My Best Bialys?....Nope!


A Macro of the finished product. Some nice browning on the onion filling
This formula is found in Daniel Leader's book Bread Alone and is entitled my best bialys, but I did not find them to be that exactly. This formula is actually quite labor intensive. There are four risings. The dough did not mix very well in the mixer. I was not pleased with the result, but I was not sure what to adjust. The dough seemed dry and did not exactly seem to be one cohesive unit. I have to preface this by saying that I am in love with Bialys. Growing up my mom would buy them and slice them in half and fry each side in butter. I have very distinct memories of the taste and smell of these grilling on the stove. So if you are looking for a Bialystok bialy, I would suggest that you follow this link. 


Dylan Scheffer Bialy Recipe


If that still does not work, I recommend that you take Dylan's advice and head over to 367 Grand St in New York City, and that should just about do the trick.


Unlike the bagels which I made earlier this week, this dough has a small amount of sugar which is mixed in with the water and the yeast. This mixture is allowed to rest for about ten minutes to give the yeast a little 'push'. Do not expect a large amount of bubbling as all of the water is mixed in with the yeast and sugar. Additionally, this dough also calls for some whole wheat flour (similar to the bagel recipe). Whole wheat flour is not found in traditional bialys, so you can easily substitue out the whole wheat flour with bread flour if you would like. Daniel Leaders recipe called for all purpose flour, but I looked at my main man Jeffrey Hamelman's book, and he uses bread flour, so that is what I used. I have found him to be a more reliable source of expertise. 


This dough seemed a bit dry, but I have not made bialys in over a year, so I could not exactly remember how the dough turned out when I used Hamelman's formula.
The dough, Notice its dry appearance and lack of a smooth texture. If I added water at this point, it would have been a bit of a mess.
I did like Daniel Leaders filling, it was very simple to make. It requires one onion which is finely minced, two teaspoons of poppy seeds and two teaspoons of vegetable oil. This can be prepared in advance, although I made it during proofing stage. (Note: Hamelman's formula for the filling contains some breadcrumbs, you can add this if you would like, I do not have a food processor currently, so I went ahead and took Daniel Leaders advice). 
I will now briefly describe the four risings:
The first rising takes place for 60-90 minutes. The dough should double in volume. The dough is then deflated be lightly pressing down on the center of the dough with the palm of your hand, the dough then receives 45 minutes of additional fermentation. 


The dough is then kneaded briefly and then cut into 8 equal sized pieces. Each piece is flattened with the feel of your hand and shaped into a tight ball and allowed to rest for 15 minutes. Then the dough balls are placed on a lightly floured board and are flattened into 4" disks. They are then allowed to rise for 30 minutes.
The shaped bialys with the well
Shaped bialys (close-up)
The shaped disks are then pressed in the center to form a well for filling. Each bialy is filled and then is allowed to rise for another 30 minutes. 
The filled bialys just before being baked
Once they have doubled in volume they are baked directly on the stone at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes. It is important to not over bake bialys. They should be soft in the center and tender on the outside. They are wonderful eaten warm (I am usually a stickler for allowing bread to completely cool). 


I did over bake my bialys slightly, but the weirdest thing happened. Several of them puffed up like a balloon. They sort of looked like poorly made brioche. I was not pleased, I was actually quite annoyed. When you spend that much time on a dough you expect it to be tasty. NOPE! So my humble advice, follow the link above for some tasty bialys; or go to poland (bring a coat its cold!) 
I will be in D.C at a conference, so I will not be baking this weekend although Tuesday looks to be a yeast sort of day.
Bake On
-DW

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