My mood is flat right now. I do not know whether it is combination of university deadlines and a lack of sunlight that is placing me in the dumps. Could it be the musings in my social science topics that make me realises how much the world is controlled and dictated by powers we cannot influence. Whatever it is, it is putting me a reflective “ponder the meaning of life” mood. So Right now I will give you my latest musing on life.
In the hectic rat race of life we often overlook some of the best things in life; forgetting the treasures of the past. We have all rushed out the door to buy into the newest fad whether it is a new diet or health craze. We stock pipe and display massive amounts of generic retail products while we keep our antiques and prized items lock away behind closed doors. I wonder if we actually stopped and looked, could the increasing want for the newest and latest be destroying our sense of satisfaction?
Sure there standards are lower than ours (hell, a few decades ago if you got one TV per family you were considered lucky) but they seem to not care about things as much e.g. the 60’s era. For me I often forget recipes that I really loved, book marked and everything but never have the chance to cook. I keep on stoke piling more and more recipes in greed, hoping to cook the one day. Trivial I know but cooking and baking food I am inspired by makes me happy. Bread is a special thing that always warms my heart every time I bake it. Sign, The power of flour and yeast.
My cook book collection is a stock pile of food throughout the decades and nations. They originally were my mother’s recipes and cook books which she got from her cooking days back in Hong Kong. Did I ever mention that my mother used to cook the best Chinese steamed cakes and breads when I was young? One day I share you guys her recipe for the best steam sponge cake. She has not made this for many years which bring back to my point of the forgotten treasure of the past. Something as simple as a recipe can inspire a young girl to follow in her mother’s cooking footsteps.
The most inspiring recipes, I find are one which have a deep rooted history. I have a special weak spot for the Jewish breads and food which have such meaning attached to them. We all know about bagels and matzo but have you heard of Bialys? I found this recipe in an old scrap book my mother kept, I have no idea where it is from since it was hand written on a small piece of paper but it was so mysterious to me I had to try it. Researching this bread, it has deep connections with the genocide of the Jews and repression of a culture. The bread is like a bagel but has a filling well which is stuffed with onions and poppy seeds. This is not boiled but it is over kneaded in order to create a small crumb which contributes to the chewy texture. The best part for me about this recipe is that it has survived over decades even with the odds stack against them. I might not be Jewish or have tasted a real ones of these, I hope to one day after this experience.
Chewy, flavourful rolls with a sweet onion filling and satisfying crunch by the poppy seeds. This is great but you don’t need me to tell you that. Make some for yourself! Well worth bread kneading effort.
Bialys with Caramelised Onion and poppy seed
Makes 17 mini ones
Adapted from the recipe tear out and this recipe from Brooklyn Bialy
400g Bread flour
270ml warm water
15g olive oil
2 white onions
20g poppy seeds plus extra for toppping
1 egg white for wash
Prepare you onion filling
Dice your onions.
In a large fry pan, place 15g olive oil and allow to heat up on a medium heat. Place your onion and salt in the fry pan.
Cook onion, stiring once in a while until it is deep golden brown. Once cooked and caramelised, add your poppy seeds. Allow to cool
Prepare your bread
In a large jug place yeast, sugar and warm water. Allow yeast to become foamy about 20 minutes.
In a large bowl place your flour and salt. Mix to combine. Add the yeast mixture.
Knead the dough until it smooth and elastic. About 30 minutes if done by hand. Cover with a damp cloth in an oiled bowl and set aside to rise for 1 hour.
Once doubled punch it down and divide in to 40 gram balls. Allow dough to rest, covered for 10 minutes.
Roll each dough ball in to a round shape. Using your thumbs, poke a well in the middle of the ball. Flatten and stretch this dent but do not go all the way though. Transfer to a lined baking tray. Cover and repeat with all balls.
Allow to rise in the fridge overnight covered in cling film.
Take out the bread 2 hour before baking. Pre heat oven to 220c
Once they have come to room temperature, Place onion filling in the dents you have made. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle some more seeds on top.
Once you place the bread in oven turn it down to 200c and bake for 20 minutes.
Remove from tray to a cooling rack once fully baked.