Bialys are a traditional Polish roll filled and topped with diced onions, bread crumbs or sometimes poppy or sesame seeds. They often seem to just be labeled as ‘bagels without a hole’ but both the dough and baking process are different. Bialys are never boiled like bagels but instead bake quickly in the span of about 10 minutes. I had so much fun making these and after taking one bite knew I would be keeping this recipe.
This recipe comes from Jeffrey Hamelman’s bookBread, which close readers will remember was the source of the grissini I made recently. The book has a wealth of sourdough recipes I’d like to try soon but with a long work week and lots to do over the weekend I opted for one of the quicker formulas.
The bialy dough was one of the easiest I have worked with in a long time. It rose quite quickly (the fact that we keep our apartment so warm helps) and was very easy to get into the final bialy shape. You take the ball of dough and create a depression in the middle using your thumb, like if you were making a pinch pot out of clay.
In a hot oven the onions bake perfectly along with the dough and create an incredible smell. Even if you don’t get onion in each bit your nose will catch the smell. These will keep for a few days but make sure you have one when it is warm and fresh out of the oven!
- 5 cups bread flour
- 1⅔ cups water
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1¼ teaspoon yeast
- 2 small or 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 3 tablespoons bread crumbs
- Mix the finely diced onion and bread crumbs together. Place in a covered container and refrigerate.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer combine bread flour, water, salt, and yeast. Mix on medium speed for 7 minutes. The dough will be quite stiff but very soft. Place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover. Let rise for 1 hour.
- Turn and fold the dough a few times, keeping it in the bowl. Cover again and let rise for another hour.
- Divide the dough into 12 pieces, each about 3 ounces. Round the dough pieces into balls and pinch to a seam. Place on lightly floured baking sheets with the seam side down. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1½ hours.
- Preheat oven to 480 F.
- Pick up a roll and press both thumbs into the center. Rotate, keeping both thumbs deep in the dough, to stretch the open space. You should not create a hole in the dough, but a deep depression. Return to the baking sheet and repeat for other dough pieces.
- Place 1 tablespoon of the onion/bread crumb mixture into the center of the bialy.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the bialys have puffed and are nicely browned.