In the "Ask Bittman" Q&As we've done on Facebook over the last few weeks, there have been a lot of questions about baking bread. What's the best loaf for a first-time baker? How do I perfect No-Knead bread? How much whole wheat flour can you substitute for all-purpose? What's the deal with malted bread flour? And so on.
Clearly, a lot of you now have a bit of a bread-baking itch that you're trying to scratch, and are hungry (ravenous?) for some really satisfying baking projects. Well, I've got a good one for you: Bialys.
For the uninitiated (or people who didn't grow up Jewish on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in the 1950s), bialys are a close relative of bagels, and, in my humble opinion, they're every bit as good. The dough is nearly identical; the major difference is that where bagels are boiled before baking, these are just baked, which gives their crust a matte (as opposed to shiny) look, and also makes them easier. Instead of a hole in the middle, bialys are indented and filled with caramelized onions, then (sometimes) sprinkled with poppy seeds and salt and cooked in a hot oven until brown and crusty.
I can't even tell you how much of a treat it is to eat one of these right from the oven. Not to mention it's so rare to find a great one out in the world (and I mean always; not just in this baffling time) that the best way to get the true experience is to make them yourself. If you have the time this weekend (and the flour), I promise you won't regret it.
Talk To Me, Goose!
Questions, comments, brilliant suggestions? Just want to share the recipe for your grandma's potato salad, or your mom's meatloaf, or your uncle Drew's three-day 100-percent rye loaf (yes, please)? Don't hesitate to reach out anytime.