If there was one bread that could legitimately lay claim to being the bagel’s ‘heir apparent’, it would have to be the bialy. A lesser-known cousin to the bagel, the bialy is named after Bialystok, the city in Poland from which it originates. Like the bagel, the bialy has a characteristic chewy, toothsome crumb. However, that is where the similarity ends. Unlike the bagel’s shiny, deep brown crust, the bialy’s crust is soft and floury. And instead of a hole through the center, the bialy sports a central indentation where a small amount of chopped onion resides, giving the bialy its signature flavor.
The formula used here is a modification of the one described by Maggie Glezer in Artisan Baking Across America. High gluten flour is used to give the bialy its chewiness. Because doughs made with high gluten flour can be difficult to properly develop in a home stand mixer using conventional techniques, Glezer uses a food processor to mix her dough. Unfortunately, this leads to a significant heating of the dough and as a result, Glezer is forced to repeat 3 or 4 cycles of processing the dough followed by letting the dough cool down to get to the desired degree of dough development.
By using the double flour addition technique in a home stand mixer, the need for repeated cycles of mixing and cooling can be eliminated. An initial incorporation of some air into a flour/water slurry using the whisk attachment, followed by adding the remaining flour and mixing with a standard spiral dough hook leads to a nicely developed dough in a just a few minutes without the risk of overheating the dough.
- 600 g King Arthur Sir Lancelot High Gluten Flour
- 390 g Water
- 12 g Salt
- 1 tsp. Instant Yeast
- 1 medium Yellow Onion
The evening before the bake, the onion schmear is prepared by cutting the onion into quarters, placing the quarters into a food processor and processing the onion until a very fine chop, almost a puree, is obtained. The finely chopped onion is then sweated in a skillet, over medium-low heat, until the onion is translucent and just a hint of color is obtained, about 3-5 minutes. The onion is then allowed to cool and refrigerated until needed.
The day of the bake, all the dry ingredients of the final dough are combined. The water and 50 g of the combined dry ingredient mixture are placed in the bowl of a stand mixer and the ingredients are mixed on speed 3, using the whisk attachment, until a light froth is obtained, about 1 minute. The whisk attachment is then replaced with a spiral dough hook and the remaining dry ingredients are added. Mixing is then continued at the lowest speed (“Stir”) until all the ingredients are incorporated, about 3 minutes. The mixer speed is then increased to speed 3 and the dough mixed to full development, taking about 6 minutes. The desired final dough temperature is 76-78ºF.
The dough is then placed in a lightly oiled, covered container and allowed to ferment at 78ºF for 1 hour, 40 minutes. After this time, the dough was divided into 12 equally sized pieces, lightly rounded, covered with a plastic sheet and allowed to proof until the dough springs back slowly when gently poked with a finger, about 2 hours.
Using a thumb, each dough round was then flattened in the center and then stretched outward from the center until each piece was approximately 5″ in diameter, resembling mini pizza shells. A thin membrane of dough should stretch across the center of each dough piece. A scant ¼ teaspoon of the onion schmear is then thinly spread over the center of each dough piece as shown below:
The bialys are then baked in a 475ºF oven just until a light brown with darker mottling, about 8 minutes. Allow to cool before serving. I enjoy bialys sliced and toasted, adorned with butter or cream cheese and smoked salmon or smoked sable.