These soft and chewy cousins of bagels are a stalwart of Polish bakeries, where their hole-less centers are filled with caramelized onions and poppy seeds. This recipe first appeared in our November 2011 issue along with Dana Bowen's story Roots of Flavor.
- 1 tbsp. barley malt syrup (available from iherb.com)
- 1 (1/4-oz.) package active dry yeast
- 5 cups bread flour
- 2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 2 tbsp. canola oil
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 small yellow onions, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp. poppy seeds
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Make the dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a hook, stir together syrup, yeast, and 1 ½ cups water heated to 115°; let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add flour and salt, and mix on low speed until dough forms; increase speed to medium, and knead dough until smooth, about 8 minutes. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, and let sit until doubled in size, about 1 ½ hours.
Meanwhile, make the filling: Heat oil in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat; add garlic and onions, and cook, stirring occasionally, until deeply caramelized, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in poppy seeds and salt and pepper; set aside to cool.
Uncover and punch down dough; cover again and let sit until doubled in size again, about 1 hour. Uncover dough and transfer to a clean work surface; portion and shape into about eighteen 2-oz. balls. Place 6 balls each on 3 parchment paper-lined baking sheets, spaced evenly apart; cover with plastic wrap and let sit until puffed, about 30 minutes. Uncover balls, and using the palm of your hand, gently flatten each into a disk; cover again and let sit until puffed, about 30 minutes.
Heat oven to 450°. Uncover balls, and, using your fingers, press the center of each to indent; continue pressing and stretching center of each dough ball until you're left with a thin center membrane surrounded by a thick ring of dough on the outer edge. Fill centers of each dough round with about 1 tsp. onion-poppy seed filling. Working with one baking sheet at a time, place in oven, and spray bialys with water until completely coated. Bake until lightly browned and still soft, about 16 minutes.