When I saw that bialys were on the agenda for this week's Tuesdays with Dorie, I knew in my heart of hearts that it was going to be all about "the chew".
Bialys, pletzels and bagels - the hallmark of a good one is "the chew". I was looking for that certain texture - you know how it is when you bite into a really good bagel and it just has that perfect feel. It gives way as you bite into it, but not too much. It's tender, but not soft likesandwich bread. It's sturdy, but not too sturdy. Somehow, it manages to find the perfect balance.
I knew that I would never be able to reproduce a bialys that would be able to compare to a "City" bialy (oh, Kossar's, I am thinking of you); but with the right flour, I knew that I could at least get as close as the third tier of seating in the bialy ballpark.
So, I pulled out the bag of King Arthur Flour Sir Lancelot High-Gluten flour (14%) and jumped in. Now, I am not going to go into the how's and why's of why flour matters, but you can get the gist of it here or here. Higher protein = more chew. Not so great for making a cake, but amazing when making bagels or pizza dough.
Long story short, bialys are like the cheater's version of a bagel. Simple rise. No boiling. All the great texture - half the hassle. My only complaint was that there didn't seem to be enough filling. I absolutely understand that a real bialy only has a scant amount of filling, but it didn't keep me from wanting MORE!
Verdict: they were Kossar's, but they were pretty tasty in their own right. I couldn't find a sanctioned copy of the Groveman recipe on the inter-webs; however, if you are anything like me and wanted a your topping to have a little more presence, the King Arthur Flour site offers a pretty solid version here (along with some good tips on shaping). On the other hand, I am way overdue for a train ride into the city...
In other news, The Piglet begins tomorrow - outside of the Frozen Four, The Piglet is the only bracket I can get behind. (In case you aren't already in the loop, The Piglet is Food 52's tournament of cookbooks that is held each February. Each 16 cookbooks are paired up against each other and eliminated until "the champion" has been decided.) I would love to see this year's tournament come to a show-down between The AOC Cookbook (Suzanne Goin) and Deborah Madison's Vegetable Literacy (although, Robicelli's gets my vote as the long shot...)
This post participates in Tuesdays with Dorie.