Best Bialy Recipe – the easiest to make, and also the best tasting.
Table of contents
Bialys are a traditional Jewish yeast roll that originated in the Polish province of Bialystok in the 17th century. The bialy was brought to America by immigrants from Eastern Europe at the turn of the 20th century and is most commonly associated with the New York City borough of Brooklyn. Similar to a bagel, but without the hole, it is a round, chewy roll with an onion-filled depression in the center, and is usually eaten as an accompaniment to a meal or as part of an open-faced sandwich.
The bialy’s ingredients are similar to the bagel: flour, water, yeast and salt. Often they do not include malt or sugar, making them a bit denser and chewier, and they are not boiled the way bagels are. The distinguishing characteristic of the bialy is its oniony flavor, which comes from a mixture of cooked onions and other spices or poppy seeds that are added to the depression in the center of the roll before baking. The bialy has a slightly puffy texture with a crisp crust that makes it perfect for holding various toppings, such as cheese or smoked salmon.
WHY THIS IS THE BEST BIALY RECIPE
This is the best bialy recipe we have ever tried, because it is by far the easiest to make, and it is also the best tasting. It incorporates the latest science in bread making by using the autolyse method, a slow fermentation, no kneading, and added flavor with quality ingredients including malt.
Just measure the ingredients using a scale to measure. Mix for a few minutes and then refrigerate overnight. The next day they are shaped, allowed to rise, topped and baked. The dough needs to rise slowly for 12 to 14 hours, and the cold refrigerator helps this by slowing them down. This requires some planning so that the dough is not ready to be baked in the middle of the night. We make the dough at 6:00 pm, so it will be ready to form by 8:00 am, bake by 9:00 am.
This is also the best tasting Bialy we have ever made. The key is to use all the best ingredients. There are only a few ingredients, so it’s important to use the best if you want the best bailies. Then adding malt and allowing it to rise slowly for 12 to 14 hours is the secret to improving the taste.
THE SCIENCE BEHIND CREATING THE BEST BIALY RECIPE
THE SCIENCE OF MAKING BREAD
It is important to understand a little of the science of making bread. There are very few ingredients, so each ingredient has a key roll. Brands will vary in quality and weight and consistency, so it is helpful to choose a quality brand for the main ingredients and stick with it as you change other ingredients in the bread.
Table of contents
FLOUR – KING ARTHUR BREAD FLOUR – The flour must be unbleached bread flour. Bread flour has more protein than all purpose flour, allowing more gluten to form and the bread to rise. Bleaching makes the flour whiter, but it interferes with the activity of the yeast. As a basic bread flour, we use King Arthur because it is made from high quality wheat and they have a tight control over the amount of protein that is in the flour, so baking with it gives consistent results. Then we use other flours to change the taste of the bread.
WATER – Using more water allows the gluten to form naturally without kneading the dough.
YEAST – SAF-INSTANT – The yeast must be good quality. We use saf-instant. Instant yeast is easier to work with and is more reliable because of how it’s processed. It doesn’t need to be soaked in water before using it, it can just be added to the mix, but soaking it will give it a head start.
SALT – DIAMOND KOSHER – We like the quality of Diamond Kosher salt and don’t want the iodine taste. The weight and structure of salt varies between brands so it is important to chose a salt and stick with it to be consistent. Salt will interfere with the activity of the yeast. This might be a problem, or it might be something that is desired in order to slow down the yeast. Mixing the salt with the flour before adding the yeast will help limit the effect.
BARLEY MALT SYRUP – Many of the same flavors of baked bread are found in barley malt syrup, so we usually add some to the dough to increase the flavor.
TIME – Time can also be considered an ingredient, and it makes a huge impact on the finished product. Over time, the starch in the flour converts to sugars and other flavors are released. This process requires about twelve hours. At the same time, the yeast is increasing and causing the dough to rise. Most recipes allow the bread to raise for only a few hours at room temperature. Slowing this process down by using less yeast or by putting the dough in a cold place to raise will allow the flavors to develop before the yeast has caused the dough to rise. This is easy to do at home just by using less yeast or putting the dough in the refrigerator. It can be much harder for a bakery to do because of the limited space in the refrigerator, so bakery bread is often made with a portion of refrigerated dough (a poolish or a biga) and a portion of fresh flour and water making the recipes more complicated. This explanation is an over simplification of a much more complicated process, but it does give a clearer picture of why this works.
METHOD FOR MAKING DOUGH
WEIGH THE INGREDIENTS – It is very difficult to accurately measure dry ingredients, like flour, in a volume container, like a measuring cup. The ingredients for baking bread need to be measured by weight, using a scale. And it is easier and more accurate to use grams instead of having to do the math on ounces and pounds.
USING THE AUTOLYSE METHOD – Adding water to the flour and then letting it rest for 20 to 60 minutes before adding the other ingredients. This allows the protein to relax and extend, becoming stretchy before the other ingredients are added. It also creates sugars for the yeast to consume, giving the bread a better rise. The King Arthur baking site has a really good explanation of the science behind the autolyse method.
WETTER DOUGH -The method for making this bread is to use more water. Using more water allows the gluten to form naturally without kneading the dough.
LONGER FERMENTATION – Chilling the dough or using less yeast will slow down the fermentation and allow the dough to rise for twelve hours. The slow rise improves the taste and eliminates the step of kneading the dough, so it’s easier. The dough can be made in the evening and baked the following day at a convenient time. We make up a batch of dough in just a short time with very little work. The next morning it is ready to shape and bake.
FOLDING – Carefully folding the dough in order to avoid deflating it.
No Affiliates Statement
We call this our “no affiliates” statement because we accept no advertising, have no affiliates and accept no payment. We are not paid to mention brands – we just love buying the best, sharing that information and saving the planet at the same time. The effort put into writing and photographing the blog is solely based on our dedication to the cause.
Photos by Tony Fitzgerald Photography