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A lighter, thinner cousin of the bagel, bialys are a classic Jewish staple. This recipe was adapted from Mimi Sheraton’s The Bialy Eaters (Broadway Books, 2002); it first appeared in our December 2014 issue with the story The Return of the Bialy.

MAKES 16 SMALL BIALYS

  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 1 small Vidalia onion, minced
  • 2 tbsp. coarse bread crumbs, lightly toasted
  • 3 cups ice cold water
  • ½ oz. fresh yeast
  • 5¾ cups bread flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 tbsp. kosher salt
  • 3 tbsp. poppy seeds

1. Heat oil and onion in a 12″ skillet over medium; cook until onion is golden, 12-14 minutes. Stir in bread crumbs; let cool.

2. Stir ½ cup water and the yeast in a bowl until smooth; add remaining water. Combine flour and salt in a stand mixer fitted with a hook. With the motor running, slowly add yeast mixture until a sticky dough forms. At medium-high speed, knead dough until smooth but still sticky, 3-4 minutes. Cover bowl with a dish towel; let sit in a warm place until dough has doubled in size, 1-1 ½ hours.

3. Uncover and return dough to stand mixer with hook; knead 10 minutes. Return dough to bowl and cover; let sit until doubled in size once more, about 1 hour. On a floured surface and with floured hands, divide dough into 16 balls. Place 2″ apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets and cover with dish towels; let sit until slightly puffed, 40–45 minutes.

4. Place a pizza stone on a rack in lower third of the oven; heat to 450°. Wet the bottom of a small glass (about 3″ in diameter) with water and dip in flour; press glass into center of each dough ball and twist glass back and forth to produce a thin, flat well surrounded by a thick ring of dough on the outer edge. Brush a little water over top of dough rings and sprinkle with poppy seeds; spread 1-2 tsp. onion mixture in well and top edges of dough. Working in batches, place baking sheet on pizza stone; bake until bialys are golden, about 10 minutes. Transfer baking sheet to the middle rack; bake until bialys are browned and onions are slightly caramelized, 6-8 minutes. Let bialys cool before serving.

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