Looking at my last post, it looks I’ve never returned from Sicily 🙂 Well, I didn’t in a way. The memories of beautiful Sicily and its gorgeous landscape and spending time and creating new projects with Clear Sicily team are still so alive. More of the Sicily is coming in the next months and I invite you to follow me on the social media (Facebook, Instagram), where I post the glimpses of my bread adventures. There is one new adventure just around the corner as I’m soon off to the French countryside to bake some bread in a food wired oven – so stay tuned!
And now for the recipe of today’s post. I’m a big fan of pizzas (even more than of a loaf of bread, but don’t tell anyone, OK?) and I’m always happy to find new shapes and flavors. Bialy is one of those shapes (look at those mini pizzas!) and there is just something magical about the roasted onion in the bread.
Bialy (also bialystoker kuchen or cebularz in Poland) is a type of yeasted roll, being a traditional dish in Polish and Jewish cuisine. It is named after a polish city Bialystok. Bialys can be filled with anything, but traditionally you’ll find them filled with onions, garlic, poppyseeds and breadcrumbs.
Bialys are (just like bagels, their boiled cousins) very popular over the Atlantic ocean, in New York City. They were brought to America by Jewish immigrants in the early’s 1900.
Yields: 9 bialys
Starter for the dough was prepared in the evening and left to rise overnight. The dough was mixed in the morning, left to double in volume, preshaped into rolls, left to rest, shaped and baked immidiately on a baking stone.
75 g whole grain wheat flour
75 g water
1 teaspoon of your mother starter
all of the above starter (appr. 150 g)
400 g white wheat flour (or bread flour)
270 g water*
8 g salt
2 big onions or 4 smaller ones
fat for sautéed onions
* Adjust the water qauntities to the absorption needs of your flour. My flour doesn’t absorb much, the dough was quite dynamic and soft at 65%. You should aim for the dough that is niether soft nor stiff.
1. In the evening, prepare the starter. Mix 1 teaspoon of your (active) mother sourdough starter, 75 g of whole grain wheat flour and 75 g of water. Cover and leave to ferment overnight until doubled in volume and bubbly.
2. In the morning, prepare the dough. Mix 270 g of water and all of the above starter. Add flour and mix until all the flour is incorporated and then knead the dough for 5 minutes. Next, leave the dough to rest for 1 hour.
3. Once one hour has passed, add salt and incorporate it well into the dough. Also, check if the dough is stiff and it needs more water. Now leave the dough to rise until almost doubled in volume, puffed and airy. If you want, you can perform several stretch and folds during the rise – it will help the dough to get more strength. My dough needed 5 hours to rise, your might take less or more, depending on the temperature of your kitchen.
4. Once the dough is risen, use your plastic dough spatula to gently take it out to the unfloured working surface. Dust the upper surface of the dough with flour and using your bench knife or dough spatula divide it into 9 pieces, each weighting approximately 85 g. Shape a roll from each piece of the dough – see the left photo below. Dust the rolls with flour, cover them with a kitchen cloth and leave to rest for an hour.
5. In the meantime, sauté the onions and preheat the baking stone to the maximum temperature of you oven. Sauté the onions until nicely colored and softened. Feel free to add some herbs, spices or poppyseeds as well.
6. When the dough has rested and your stone has been preheated, start shaping the bialys. Dust the working surface first. Work with one piece of the dough at the time. First, dust the top surface of the roll and then flip it on dusted side down. Next, make a rim at about 1.5-2 cm away from the edge and use your fingers to flatten the middle of the dough. Make sure the middle part is very thin, you don’t want the dough to puff up in the middle and get the onions out all over the place. Place each shaped bialy on the parchment paper and fill the indentation with roasted onions.
7. Transfer the parchment paper with a pizza peel onto the hot baking stone and lower the temperature to 240°C (465°F). Bake for 20 minutes or until nicely colored.