Sunday, July 4, 2010

Mellow Bakers fail? Bialys (July)

I've spent a ton of time in New York (my parents' birthplace) throughout my life, and every trip has included trips to various NY bagelries. I always saw bialys, but never bothered to try them, having my heart set on a New York bagel.

So I was really excited to see them on the Mellow Bakers' list for July, especially since they are a quick (and delicious-looking) bread!

Likening bialys to bagels, I wanted to have these ready for the family's breakfast . . . but I was not really prepared to wake up at 3:30 or 4:00 a.m. to make that happen.

So in the evening, I mixed my flour (Hamelman calls for high-gluten, but I mixed bread flour with a little vital wheat gluten), yeast, salt, and water with my dough whisk until it all came together. Like bagels, this is an extremely stiff dough, and it gave my stand-mixer quite a workout! In six minutes, it looked properly developed, so I transferred it to an oiled bowl, where it easily doubled in its first hour (then a stretch-and-fold) and again in the second hour.

While the dough was in this stage, I worked on the onion topping. Hamelman suggests ground onion mixed with bread crumbs, and allowing the two to "visit" (love that term!) for several hours. Anne Marie suggested that a previous recipe she'd made that used caramelized onions had a better oniony flavor, so I ground my onions, cooked them over relatively high heat for five or so minutes in a bit of olive oil, and then mixed them with the bread crumbs, a sprinkling of salt and pepper, and a teaspoon of minced garlic.

After the dough had risen for its second hour, I divided it into 3-ounce pieces and rolled them into tight rounds. These I place on a jelly roll pan covered in flour, covered it with plastic wrap, and stuck it into the fridge for an overnight rest.

This morning, I got up, preheated the oven, and took the pan of rounds out of the fridge (they had clearly doubled overnight). Paying attention to Paul's comments that his bialys puffed up so much in the oven that the holes nearly filled in, I made a special effort to make the depressions in the center of the bialys extra large, and then I dumped a teaspoon full of the onion mixture into each. I baked them for 6 minutes, rotated the pans, and baked them for another 6 minutes. And then I pulled out . . . this?!?

Maybe the problem was that I didn't let them come to room temperature before I baked them?

As you can see from the top photo, a couple of them came out looking as they should. And the odd shape certainly didn't make the family like them any less:

We loved them warm with butter, and at least half of them are already gone. Hubby says that because they're lighter than bagels, you can eat more without feeling guilty (hee hee). We will absolutely be making these again. Hubby, always ready to be creative, actually used the odd shape to his advantage: filled each hole with the extra onion/garlic mixture and then buttered the sides:

For other Mellow Bakers' (more successful) bialys, check here!


  1. Love the reasoning of the hubs! They look fun...and obviously they taste delicious. Will I ever get around to Mellow Bakers again? Fingers crossed.

  2. I think they look and sound delicious!

  3. They look like brioche rolls!!! So funny that this happened. Glad to hear they were a success taste wise.

  4. How funny! I made fruit-filled rolls recently and had the same thing happen. I need to try again to figure out how to get the middle part to stay flat the way it's supposed to.

  5. The bialys are cute. They look like English cottage loaves.:)

  6. So, that settles it: you've made briolys!

    I don think they are cute, and you should hurry and patent them!

    The taste is what matters, and no doubt yours turned out great! I might be able to make it this weekend... (fingers crossed)

  7. I had to think about these bialys the whole day, and I think I found out what the problem might have been with the middle part rising up. I think there was air trapped under the dough, so when you baked it, the heated air expanded and made the indent rise. Maybe poking a little hole into the indent would help so that the air could expand. What do you think? When I make them, I'll try that and let you know...