Bialys with Grocery Store Flour
I've made Bialys before using high-gluten flour that I purchased via mail order. The cost with S&H for a 3lb bag is $13. That's OK for something I only make once in a while, but still I wouldn't be opposed to getting the price down. I don't know anyone that I could order commercial flour through, but even if I did I am not interested in a 50lb bag. What I want is something I can buy off the self at my local chain grocery store.
I live in the Detroit metro area. All of the major stores in this area carry KA flour. According to their website King Arthur's bread flour is 12.7% protein. Their high gluten flour is 14.2%, which they claim is the highest available retail. The bagel place in NJ where my sister used to live uses Pillsbury high gluten which is also 14.2%. I've heard this number before on some other bread sites, so this is the target I was shooting for.
Most of the stores in this area carry Gluten. I've been using Bob's Red Mill brand, but I've seen other brands too. I assume it's commonly available in most urban areas. The nutrition label on the Gluten I was using indicated 23g of protein per 30g serving or 76.67% by weight. To get to 14.2% with the flours I was using would put it at 97.65% BF and 2.35% Gluten. I went with 3% instead just to be safe.
The formula I used for the Bialys was Hamelman (p262). The only modification I made was to use 33.3% of the flour as a Poolish preferment. I made a 300g total flour recipe. This divides into six rolls at about 80g each.
Hamelman recommends 8 to 10 minutes at 480°. I was making these the night before, so I par-baked them for six minutes.
Actually they looked and smelled so good I finished a couple off right then for me and the wife.
My idea was to freeze a couple and see how they would hold up to a par-bake/freeze/thaw/re-heat method. If I can get that down on Bialys, I was thinking maybe I can transfer it over to a similar method for Bagels as well. The Bialys are simple enough to make anytime and I was pleased with results from my grocery store purchased high-gluten flour equivalent. Bagels aren't too much more work, but more than I am going to do regularly for small batch baking. If I can get a par-bake/freeze method down, I wouldn't mind having Bialys and Bagels as a regular weekend breakfast routine.
I didn't end up freezing any this time. The par-bake was a little darker then I had intended and after having couple, I knew there was no way we would want to be short any in the morning. Gives me a good excuse to try again sooner than later anyway. Next time I will shorten the par-bake to 5 minutes and see if I like that better. I think I need to work my pocket size out a bit too, but that's not a big concern for me.
The thing I like about these Bialys is I've never had one before making them myself. Unlike a Bagel, I don't have any preconceived notion of what they should take like. If they taste good, I like them. Simple as that. With Bagels I am always comparing them to an ideal. Even if I make a decent tasting doughnut shaped bread, if it doesn't have just the right chew and texture, it's always a little disappointing. That and my wife prefers a Bialy a bit more now, than a Bagel actually. I still favor a real Bagel more myself, but these are still darn good breakfast rolls.
Happy baking everyone.
Take care, Todd