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Bublik (also Booblik or Bublyk) (Russian and Ukrainian: бублик) is a traditional Ukrainian, Russian, Polish (obwarzanek) and Lithuanian (riestainis) bread roll, very similar to bagels; however it is somewhat bigger, has a wider hole and a much denser and 'chewier' texture.
The first documentation of the obwarzanek dates to a mention in a summary of the Polish court from the year 1394. An application to the EU for recognition as a regional food specialty notes that obwarzanek "should be between 12 and 17 centimeters in diameter, weigh 80 to 120 grams and its color should range from golden to light brown".
The beigl (or bagel) then spread across all areas with significant Jewish population, soon reaching Ukraine (Southern Russia at the time), where it was influenced by similar Russian (mainly Moscow baranki) and Greek (koulouri, κουλούρι) products and where it got its current form: a dough ring about twice as big as a common bagel with a much denser and drier texture, because similar Russian dishes are generally very dry and crisp. Its name was also heavily Russified to the current form — "бублик" (pronounced "boob-lik"). The city of Odessa is most commonly considered the birthplace of the bublik.
In Ukraine, bubliks are featured by professional bakers in their shops and at country fairs and regional markets. They are usually strung on a string by the dozen.
Bubliks as food
In Russia and Ukraine bubliks are usually treated not like bread, but like a type of pastry, eaten as a complement to tea or coffee. Therefore, bublik dough is generally sweeter and denser than that of bagel dough, and they are usually glazed with egg yolk. By far the most popular variety of bublik has a liberal amount of poppy seeds added to it.
Bubliks are usually eaten as is, but it is not uncommon to dip them into a beverage, a practice that came from eating sushki and baranki, which were very similar in taste, but rather dry and hard and not easily palatable unless moisturized. Another common way of eating bubliks is to break them into several fragments and to eat them with jam, sour cream, or other similar dips. While they often accompany tea, bubliks, again unlike modern bagels, are not considered a breakfast food.
Bubliks are made from yeast-leavened wheat dough that commonly contains milk, butter, and egg whites and is rather sweet. Poppy seeds are a popular addition to the dough, as well as several other fillings. For savory bubliks, sugar is omitted and instead grated cheese and a few drops of onion juice can be added.
There are number of similar bread products in Russian cuisine, and the main one of this type is baranka — a dough ring somewhat smaller than a bublik, but much thinner and drier. While bubliks originate from Pale of Settlement (Ukraine and Belarus), barankis are an original Russian dish, their very name, baranka or baranok, being a contraction of a word obvaranok, "scalded". They are also far harder than bubliks, thus requiring dipping them into tea or coffee before eating. Sushki are an even smaller and drier type of baranki, generally about 50 mm in size, and have the consistency of a hard cracker.
A common Ukrainian phrase is "a hole from a bublik" (Ukrainian: Ді́рка з (від) бу́блика) - which means "absolutely nothing" or "worthless".
"I worked so hard, and what did I get for it? A hole from a bublik" (Ukrainian: Що я там маю з усієї цієї праці? Дірку з бублика),
"He is not worth a hole from a bublik" (Ukrainian: Він не ва́ртий ді́рки з бу́блика).
The word Bublik is also a Ukrainian-language surname, found mostly in Ukraine and Southern Russia.
- "Obwarzanek to be protected by the EU", Krakow Post, 15th February 2008. Retrieved on 2010-08-08.
- 'Bublik' in Dahl's dictionary, retrieved on September 21, 2007 (Russian).
- Koulouri and bubliks, retrieved on September 21, 2007 (Russian).
- Stechishin, S. (1989). Traditional Ukrainian Cookery. Trident Press, Canada. ISBN 0-919490-36-0