A quintessentially Hyderabadi dessert called Khubani ka Meetha Recipe. The beautiful colour and flavours makes this dessert irresistible. The apt Urdu word is “Shahi”or Royal!
Bialys for We knead to Bake #5
“Travelling broadens your horizons” well I am travelling the unknown regions in the culinary world all from the safety of my home.
When I read that this time that Aparna had chosen for WE KNEAD TO BAKE #5: Bialys (Chewy Rolls Topped with Caramelised Onions) I was left wondering what we are talking about.
In case, you are like me wondering what they are, then Bialy is a Yiddish word short for Bialystocker Kuchen, bread from Bialystok which is in Poland and hence it’s a traditional Polish dish, and they are savoury bread. The bialy (pronounced bee-AH-lee) is quite like a Bagel but a Bagel is boiled and then baked and a Bialy is baked.
Apparently a Bialy is round with a depressed middle, not a hole, and filled with cooked onions and sometimes poppy seeds, garlic or bread crumbs. A bialy is not shiny and but has large puffy bubbles on the inside. A good Bialy should have a springy soft crumb and a chewy and floury crust.
Aparna has mentioned that,” 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 Europeans, 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. “
Bialys are chewy and what lends Bialys their chewiness is the use of flour that is high in gluten. You can make Bialys with bread flour or with all-purpose flour and add 1 tablespoon vital wheat gluten (for the 3 cups). If you can find neither bread flour nor vital wheat gluten make it with plain flour. You’ll still have very nice Bialys that are slightly softer, that’s all.
If in case you want them chewy then 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. Like Aparna I used only onions. Then in the last batch (of 3) I added kal rat ki Gobi Achari. I loved the taste but the others were not too happy.
This was the videos that I found useful to shape the Bialys.
For the dough:
- 1 teaspoon instant yeast
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 ¼ cup water
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1tsp salt
- Milk for brushing the dough
For the Onion Filling:
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 3 medium onions, finely chopped
- 1 ½ tsp cumin seeds
- ½ teaspoon garam masala
- Salt to taste
Start making the dough first
- Put the yeast, sugar, salt and flour in a bowl. Since I used my hand I mixed the flour then add the warm water all at once. That was a mistake.
- 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.( In my case as I had added all the water at once it was necessary to add the flour, lots of it).
- 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, 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.
As the dough is rising let’s make the filling.
- Heat the oil in a pan, and add the cumin seeds. When the 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.
Let’s get back to our Bialys now
- 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. (See this video for shaping rolls, if necessary http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TB908K3Kd6k ).
- Place the rolls on a lightly greased baking sheet and cover them with a towel. Let them rise for about one hour (about 1 ½ 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 2 fingers of each hand 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, indentation rotating as you go and gradually making the depression wider. Take cake you do not poke 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.
- 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.
- Bake the Bialys at 230C (450F) for about 15 minutes till they’re golden brown in colour. Cool them on a rack.
- Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.
- Aparna has said that the Bialys keep well in an airtight container for a day or two and just need to be warmed up slightly before serving.
- This recipe makes 8 (and one smallish one in my case) largish Bialys.
If you liked this post you may like New York Style Pizza.
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wow.So much there in Bialy and you have spared no details.
Loved the information about Bialys, was totally unaware about such a dish. very interesting recipe....