Recipe Source : Aparna
Adapted from King Arthur Flour http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/bialys-recipe
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. So it is not shiny on the outside with largish puffy bubbles on the inside. Bialys are best when eaten within 5 to 6 hours of making them. In the early 1900s, many Eastern Europeans, including the Polish, immigrated to the US and settled down in New York. Naturally, they also brought their Bialy making skills with them and that is how the New York Bialy became famous.
What lends Bialys their signature chewiness is the use of flour that is high in gluten. So to make Bialys, use bread flour if you can find it. Otherwise use all-purpose flour and add 1 tbsp vital wheat gluten (for the 3 cups). If like me, you can find neither bread flour nor vital wheat gluten, go ahead and make it with plain flour. You’ll still have very nice Bialys that are slightly softer, that’s all.
One way to make them slightly chewier is to refrigerate the dough overnight after the first rise. The next day, take the dough out and keep it at room temperature for about half an hour. Then shape the rolls and proceed with the recipe. These Bialys are on the softer side so do not over bake them or they will dry out and become tough.
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)
1 tsp salt
Milk for brushing the dough
For the filling:
Finely chopped onion - 1 cup
Finely chopped Green pepper - 1/2 cup
Crumbled Paneer - 1/2 cup
Ginger - Garlic Paste - 1 tsp
Cumin Seeds - 1 tsp
Turmeric Powder - 1/2 tsp
Mango / Amchur Powder - 1 tsp
Chat Masala - 2 tsp
Red chili Powder - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste
Oil - 2 tsp
Heat oil in a pan and add the cumin seeds. Let it splutter. Add the ginger garlic paste and fry for 20 seconds. Add the onion and salt. Fry until dark brown. Add the green peppers, turmeric powder, mango powder, chat masala, chili powder and cook for 5 minutes. Add the crumbled paneer and saute for 2 minutes. Set it aside and let it cool completely.
Make the dough first. If you are using bread flour or vital wheat gluten, then your dough will be tougher to knead so if you have a machine you can use, I would say go ahead and use it. Me, I always take the easier way out provided I get good results. If you’re doing this by hand, just adapt the instructions to that.
Put the yeast, sugar, salt and flour in the food processor bowl. Pulse a couple of times to mix and then add the warm water in a steady stream. Knead until the dough comes together as a mass and then let the dough rest for 10 minutes. This will help the dough absorb water. Knead again, adding 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.
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 by flattening it and then pinching the ends together to form a smooth ball. (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, paneer filling in the depressions of each Bialy. Brush the outer dough circle with milk.
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. I found that the Bialys keep well in an airtight container for a day or two and just need to be warmed up slightly before serving. This recipe makes 8 largish Bialys.