Tuesday, February 4, 2014

TWD: Onion Bialys: How do they eat them in New York?

I couldn't wait to try the Onion Bialys for this week's Tuesday with Dorie assignment. I love bagels -- love to make them, love to eat them. But bialys were uncharted territory for me. I had never heard of them, so consequently had never eaten one. For the correct pronunciation, I consulted the The Free Dictionary on the internet and learned the i was pronounced like an e.  I liked the fact that were from Poland and, according to the book, they were popular at New York brunches. When you live in a town the size of a postage stamp, eating brunch in New York seems so "Sex in City."  And that onion topping with poppy seeds looked awfully yummy in the pictures.

I wondered, "Would they taste like bagels without the water bath?" I was eager to find out. If these could taste as good as bagels, eliminating the water bath would save a step.

First batch -- too fat and with not enough of an indentation
I made mine in two batches. I believed I was following the directions in the book for batch No. 1, but my first half dozen obviously didn't look like the pictures. They were way too fat and the indentation in the middle was not nearly big enough. That's when I found Bill Dube. After Googling "how to shape bialys," I happened on Dube's You Tube video where he shows not only how to shape the dough (he uses the bottom of a water glass to make the indentation) but how to make the dough in a bread machine. I liked Dube's affable presentation so well, I watched a few of his other videos and decided he would make a great next-door neighbor. We could swap bread stories to a fare-three-well and sample each other's experiments.

Bath No.2
Thanks to Bill's help, my second batch turned out looking much more like the ones in the book. I couldn't wait to eat one.
I waited until they were relatively cool before slicing the first one. To my dismay, the filling spilled out of the indentation during the slicing process. This was a puzzler. Did people at New York brunches eat the entire roll without slicing? I couldn't picture people all over New York slicing into bialys and watching the topping fall out on the white tablecloth. The dough seemed too chewy and bagel-like to attempt eating one whole. After mulling this conundrum over, I decided to spoon out the filling, put it in a cup while I sliced the bialy horizontally, toast the two halves and then reapply the topping over the buttered halves. It was delicious fixed this way. My goal now is to finagle a trip to New York, find a brunch spot that serves bialys and watch how the natives eat them.