Bialys – Chewy Rolls Topped With Caramalised Onions

IMG_5892Bialys – that was the challenge for the month of May in the Breadbaking group -We Knead to Bake hosted by Aparna.  Aparna comes up with these varied kinds of breads which makes me nervous to attempt on the first glance.. but she explains it in detail that when the final action takes place, it comes out well without much fuss. Thanks Aparna for yet another wonderful challenge…

The Bialy (pronounced bee-AH-lee) 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.

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The method of preparation  – Mix the ingredients of the dough and knead well. Let it rise for atleast 2 hrs. Roll the dough into 8 balls and let it rise again. Then comes the fun part of shaping the dough. The dough is not rolled by a roller but rather using your hands, by holding the dough using both the hands and turning the dough like you do a steering wheel ..  sounds complicated?? Check this video to get a clear picture .. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TB908K3Kd6k

Fill in the depression of the dough using caramalised onions and crumbled paneer and bake at 230C (450F) for about 10- 15 minutes. Bialys are on the softer side, so be careful not to overbake them.. I baked for 15 minutes and my bialys were not too soft , I think around 12 minutes were enough in my oven.

The verdict – my elder son loved it, but the younger one was happy with the fillings removed :)

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recipe Adapted from King Arthur Flour)

INGREDIENTS

 FOR THE DOUGH

  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 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)
  • 1tsp salt
  • Milk for brushing the dough

FOR THE ONION FILLING

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 3 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3/4 tspgaram masala
  • Salt to taste
  • 100gm paneer, crumbled (optional)

 method

Mix the instant yeast, sugar, salt and flour . Add the warm water and knead until the dough comes together as a mass. Add 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 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.

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

(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 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.

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 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. This recipe makes 8 largish Bialys.

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