Monday, August 20, 2012

Week 69

The Product: We had a fun time with the bialys this week.  I had been doing some home testing previously, but after reading this article followed by this book, The Bialy Eaters by Mimi Sheraton, my interest went into high gear.  What I learned about bialys though the process:

1. The center should be entirely flat.  It (the center) should be crisp and you should be able to crack the bialy in two.  To achieve this, you flour the bialy after shaping the rounds, and then after it rises, you flatten the bialy and depress the center with the end of a rolling pin.  I don't think we depressed our bialys enough this time so they rose up a little big and puffy without a defined well in the middle (some folks call this non-bialy a pletzl or just an onion roll).
2. False-proofing: For most bread, you allow it to rise fully, and then throw it in the oven.  Bialys get their signature doughy chew (combined with that crisp crack in the middle filled with onions) from a lack of a true final proof.  As I said earlier, after the proofing stage, you flatten the bialy completely (we only slightly flattened, thinking it would not rise not much) prior to indenting the middle with a false hole using the end of the rolling pin.  The bialy then gets filled with chopped onion and goes right into the oven.  This lack of a final proof is why some bialys taste rubbery.
3. Oven temperature: The Bialy Eaters says to use a 500 degree oven, but I can tell from the bake off Saturday that you need to use a 450 degree oven or 400 degrees if you use a fan-assisted convection oven.
4. The Bialy Eaters tells me that Bialystokers (Jewish residents of Bialystok, Poland, where the bialy originated) used poppy seeds in addition to onions.  Supposedly, the poppies were dropped after the bialy immigrated to America because they're expensive.  After using only onions, I can see that adding poppy seeds would be an improvement and will be added next time.  Also, I believe the poppies might soak up some of the moisture from the cut onions.  Lastly, I do remember (and my father corroborates this) that I've had bialys with poppies in New York back in the '80s.
5. One bialy producer in The Bialy Eaters says he salts his onions prior to use to get out some of the moisture.  Maybe an experiment for next time.
6. Mimi Sheraton says that all U.S. bialy producers use sweet onions, which makes sense because they make you cry less when you chop them.  But the Polish didn't have sweet onions, having been grown first in the 1930s in Vidalia, Georgia.  So maybe one time I will try using ordinary onions, which when cooked, have more flavor than sweet onions.
7.  Kossar's (the most famous bialy-maker in America) recipe for dough: 7 gallons water. 2 pounds salt, 1 pound of yeast, 100 pounds of flour.  Our recipe was slightly more hydrated (i.e. more water).
8.  Our bialys were about 3.25 ounces each.

Our Awesome Customers: Leah. Karen, Annie &Andy&Miriam&Fam, Chris, Scott, AS, Patrick&Genivieve&Benjamin&Lucy, Jeff B.

Our Crew: Many thanks to our steadfast and hard-working crew: Chef Matt, Ali R., RG, RML, JW, SZ, and MJB.  Extra props to JW for holding down the Central Market stand for two hours solo.

Suggested Prices: It seems that the customers didn't bat an eyelash regarding our suggested prices (we didn't have any comments to my knowledge at the stand)...Which means that our loyal fans probably didn't notice and the newcomers found it helpful?

Song of the Week:

This Week: Donuts, finally?

No comments:

Post a Comment