Because it matters... (Tuesdays with Dorie BwJ: Bialys)

There are certain foods that just have to be "just a certain way" to be satisfying.

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...)

Peace out.

This post participates in Tuesdays with Dorie.


  1. My husband always calls bialeys "bagaleys," which makes me laugh. He was serious the first time he said it, but now it's just for effect. Can't wait for the Piglet!! I went to high school with Allison Robbicelli. It's funny to me that she's all famousey now.

    1. That is so Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon-ish :-)

  2. Your bialys look great!!
    I used caramelised onion instead onion/poppy seeds topping, so I could put the amount I would like, but maybe too much cause "eruptions" when baking!
    Anyway I enjoyed a lot this recipe!!!

  3. my husband is a boy from brooklyn, he was all about the texture and was not convinced these were it. after reading up on them a bit, i think they probably are and he was accustomed to bakeries that just used bagel dough to make bialys rather than make a traditional bialy dough. looks like you won't be the only one making a trip to kossars!

  4. I am so not knowing what a bialy is? Is it Italian? Is it East Coast? Is it Jewish? (Michael was Jewish and I don't remember the word.) I must really be a country bumpkin. Whatever it is you made, they look pretty darn delicious. I could dive right in. And the Piglet? What? I get Food 52 info but am clueless. And, what is the Frozen Four? I need help. Your Post this week has made me crazy. I am not happy.

  5. Love bialys (with extra filling)! I'll have to make a batch before the winter is out. So excited for the Piglet, too - it's a great field this year!

  6. I didn't even know what bialys were but jumped into making them anyway. Good thing I'm not as knowledgeable as you, because I liked mine and you probably would have considered them horrid! To discover that "bialy" is the singular form of "bialys" is a revelation! And I'm putting Kossar's on the bucket list now.

  7. I too love the chew factor of these bialys/ bagels/ pretzels. Hope they made the third tier.

  8. Cher-girl, these have been on my "must make" for years! After this show and tell, they are so getting made. And I agree--a little more filling wouldn't hurt--they still look delish!

  9. There so was not enough filling! I used all the filling on only half the dough! They were tasty though. I have never heard of The Piglet - I'll have to check into that - sounds interesting.

  10. Cher, your Onion Bialys look fabulous - I had never heard of bialys before but really enjoyed making the recipe. But I agree with you - a tad more filling would have been nice! Next time more onions and poppy seeds!
    Have a nice Wednesday!

  11. Agree on all counts. I doubled the filling before I started cuz I had a feeling I'd want more.

    Thanks for the heads up on the Piglet. Definitely will check that out.

    PS: Union played a great game last weekend v. Yale. It was fun to watch -- nice and clean, albeit a little painful.

  12. I skipped these as well. I need to get back on track! Looks good!

  13. Thanks for the link to the Piglet tournament. That does sound like fun! I used bread flour, but I may try some of the high gluten flour you recommend next time. I agree, bialys should be all about the chew.

  14. Now that I know what bialys are, I love them! I'd love to be able to go to Kossars to try theirs.


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