Bialys are round piece-breads distinguished by a central dimple that is traditionally filled with chopped onion. A product of Jewish cuisine, they are named after the Polish city of Białystok and are often compared to the bagel. Although relatively obscure in most parts of the world, bialys have achieved popularity in New York, where many Jewish emigrants settled in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This recipe is a heavily modified version of one from Jeffrey Hamelman's book Bread

  • 400g strong white flour
  • 232g water
  • 7g easy blend or dried yeast/15g fresh yeast
  • 4g salt
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • Poppyseeds
  1. Combine the flour, water, yeast and salt and knead for 10-15 minutes, by hand or in a mixer, until it is smooth and elastic. Leave to rise for an hour or until doubled in size.
  2. Divide the dough into six pieces and place them on a floured baking tray or linen couche covered with a tea towel to prove, again for an hour or so.
  3. In the meantime, fry the onion in a little butter or oil, over a medium heat, until turning transparent and soft. Set aside until the dough is ready for shaping.
  4. Once the dough pieces have doubled in size, shape the bialys. Lift a ball of dough using the fingertips of both hands, press your thumbs firmly into it and gently move them apart, stretching the dough. Repeat the stretching with your thumbs while rotating the dough with your fingers; this makes more sense when you actually try doing it. The aim is to create a fairly thin membrane surrounded by a thicker ring of dough 5-6 inches across.
  5. Once shaped, place a spoonful of the fried onions into the dimple and scatter some poppyseeds over the bialy. Place in the oven and bake for about 10 minutes at 210°c.

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