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You'll need

½ tsp dried yeast 400 gm (3 1/3 cups) organic bread flour 350 gm Gruyère, sliced, to serve 125 ml mayonnaise mixed with 1 tbsp Dijon mustard, to serve   Corned beef 500 gm piece corned beef 100 ml red wine vinegar 75 gm (1/3 cup) brown sugar 40 gm (1/3 cup) sea salt flakes 6 juniper berries 2 thyme sprigs 1 fresh bay leaf 1 star anise   Sour cabbage 1 star anise ½ cinnamon quill 2 cloves 1 small cabbage, shaved on a mandolin 200 ml Chardonnay vinegar 3 tbsp olive oil 2 thyme sprigs 1 fresh bay leaf


  • 01
  • Whisk yeast and 270ml lukewarm water and stand until foamy (5 minutes). Combine flour and 8gm (1¼ tsp) salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, then add yeast mixture. Mix on slowest speed until a dough forms (2-3 minutes), then increase to medium-high speed and mix until smooth, elastic, slightly sticky and glossy (5 minutes). Cover and set aside in a cool place until doubled in size (1 hour).
  • 02
  • Knock back dough and divide into 17 pieces (about 40gm each). Roll into balls and set aside on a floured tray, covered with a tea towel, until slightly risen (30 minutes).
  • 03
  • Working with one piece at a time on a well-floured surface, make an indentation in centre with your index and middle finger. Then, with your thumbs in the middle and your fingers on the outer edge, work the dough in a circular motion, pinching as you go, to form a doughnut-like outer rim with a thin membrane of dough in the middle.
  • 04
  • Place bialys 3cm apart on an oven tray lined with baking paper. Cover with a damp tea towel and refrigerate to slow down the proving process and let the flavours develop (6 hours or overnight). Remove bialys from refrigerator 1-2 hours before baking.
  • 05
  • Meanwhile, for corned beef, place beef in a large saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, skim any scum from the surface, then add remaining ingredients and simmer until meat is tender and juicy (40-45 minutes). Remove beef from pan, strain liquid, then return beef and liquid to pan and set aside.
  • 06
  • Preheat oven to 220C. Spray bialys heavily with water (to help them rise and produce a golden crust), then place in oven, reduce temperature to 200C and bake until crust is golden and bialys are cooked through (15-20 minutes). Bialys are best eaten the day they’re made.
  • 07
  • For sour cabbage, tie star anise, cinnamon, and cloves in a small square of muslin and combine in a saucepan with cabbage, vinegar, olive oil, thyme, bay leaf, 2 tsp sea salt and 2 tbsp water. Stir to combine, then cover and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until tender (20 minutes). Strain and set aside.
  • 08
  • To serve, halve bialys horizontally. Top bases with sour cabbage, then thinly sliced corned beef, 2 Gruyère slices and return to oven on a baking tray until cheese melts (3-5 minutes). Top with a dollop of mustard mayonnaise, season with pepper, sandwich with bialy tops and serve warm.
Note This recipe makes 17 bialys.

This recipe is from the April 2013 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.

“Born in the Polish city of Bialystok, the bialy is a round roll that has an indentation in the middle, often filled with onion and poppy seeds,” says Paul Allam. “It looks like a bagel but it’s baked, not boiled. It’s rarely made outside Jewish communities in New York City and has a history like few other foods. With a back story of persecution and genocide, this bread stands proud as a testament to human endurance, making it more than a bread roll to the people who hold it close to their hearts. The dough is overmixed deliberately, as this promotes a very elastic dough which will result in a small crumb structure and a chewy end product.”

At A Glance

  • Serves 10 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 10 people

Drink Suggestion

Murray’s Whale Ale or 2011 Nick O’Leary Riesling, Canberra District, NSW.

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