My first thought when I saw the recipe assignment for this week: What the ** is a bialys? Luckily, shortly thereafter I was watching an episode of the Sopranos and it just so happened Tony was eating one and made his underlings scrape out his onions because recent health issues. Ok. So it’s some sort of bread-thing. The picture of it in the cookbook makes it look like a cross between a bagel and a croissant. Or maybe that’s what I was hoping it would be. It was not.
To make a bialy, much like how you’d make any bread product, you foam up some yeast, stir in flour, let it rise, stir in more flour, let it rise, shape and bake. There really isn’t too much fancy going on here. In addition to the flour, there a little salt and sugar (for the yeast to munch on), but nothing crazy. It is shaped a little differently than most bread – with a mashed in depression that’s filled with sauteed onions. And it is baked a little differently – with iced cold water dumped in the oven to get some steam moving. But really, this is just bread. Not even a little egg-wash on top to make them looked all glazed and pretty. Then again, maybe mine are a little undercooked? So one thing I noticed in baking my bialys, was that my depressions did not stay depressions for very long. I mushed the center down with my finger and stabbed at it with a fork (presumably to vent it so it wouldn’t puff up), but every single one of them erupted their onions, giving them the look of, well, onion-topped kaiser rolls. There seem to be very little glamour to these things. And maybe there isn’t supposed to be.
I’m not trying to say they weren’t good. They were as good as any loaf of freshly braked bread would be, but I guess I expected a little more? Perhaps I need to work on managing my expectations when it comes to baked items. My husband said they were good but was very confused about the blob of onions on the middle. He would preferred a more even distribution do that you didn’t get all the onions in one bite. I guess that’s understandable. Maybe you just have to be from NY/NJ (or Poland) to fully appreciate all that is a bialy.
I guess I didn’t really see what all the fuss is about. Next!
Check out the other TWD Bakers at Tuesdays With Dorie