Brought to the US by Polish Jewish immigrants in the 1800s, the bialy is now a Northeastern Jewish bakery staple most often compared to bagels. But unlike the bagel, bialys are round with an indent, not rings, and baked without boiling. We kept things classic with a seasoned Caramelized Onion Filling surrounded by pillowy-soft dough sprinkled with sesame and poppy seeds in these Onion-Poppy Seed Bialys. Though these beauties are delicious slathered with butter or cream cheese, they’re an absolute treat served fresh from the oven, too.
- 6 cups (762 grams) bread flour, divided
- 1¼ teaspoons (3 grams) instant yeast*, divided
- 1 cup (240 grams) water, room temperature (70°F/21°C to 75°F/24°C)
- 5 teaspoons (15 grams) kosher salt
- 1 cup (240 grams) warm water (120°F/49°C to 130°F/54°C)
- 1 teaspoon (3 grams) black sesame seeds
- 1 teaspoon (3 grams) sesame seeds
- 1 teaspoon (3 grams) poppy seeds
- 1 teaspoon (3 grams) flaked sea salt
- Caramelized Onion Filling (recipe follows)
- 1 large egg (50 grams), lightly beaten
- In a medium bowl, whisk together 2 cups (254 grams) flour and ¼ teaspoon yeast. Add 1 cup (240 grams) room temperature water; stir and fold until well combined. (Mixture will start out very thick but will loosen as it sits.) Cover with plastic wrap, and let stand at room temperature for 8 to 12 hours.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat kosher salt, remaining 4 cups (508 grams) flour, and remaining 1 teaspoon (3 grams) yeast at low speed until combined. Add flour-yeast mixture and 1 cup (240 grams) warm water; carefully pulse mixer between lowest speed and “off” setting until mixture is just combined. Beat at low speed until a rough, sticky dough forms, 1 to 2 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl.
- Switch to the dough hook attachment. Beat at low speed until a soft, tacky dough forms and cleans sides of bowl, 10 to 12 minutes. (Dough should pass the windowpane test; see Note.)
- Spray a large bowl with cooking spray. Place dough in bowl, turning to grease top. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Punch dough down; cover and let stand for 10 minutes. On a clean surface, divide dough into 12 portions (about 100 grams each). Gently shape each portion into a ball; cover and let stand for 15 minutes. Press each ball into a 4-inch-wide round; place 1½ to 2 inches apart on prepared pans, reshaping rounds as needed. Using your fingers, press a 2-inch-wide well in center of each round until bottom of well is completely flattened. Cover with greased sheets of plastic wrap; let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until puffed, 30 to 40 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C).
- In a small bowl, combine all seeds and sea salt.
- Using your fingers, press and reshape wells again. Using the tines of a fork, dock bottom and sides of wells 5 to 6 times; fill each well with 1 tablespoon (20 grams) Caramelized Onion Filling, spreading into an even layer. Brush exposed dough edges with egg, and sprinkle with seed mixture.
- Bake until lightly golden, 12 to 15 minutes, loosely covering with foil during final 2 to 3 minutes of baking to prevent excess browning. Let cool on pan for 15 minutes; serve warm.
Note: To use the windowpane test to check dough for proper gluten development, pinch off (don’t tear) a small piece of dough. Slowly pull the dough out from the center. If the dough is ready, you will be able to stretch it until it’s thin and translucent like a windowpane. If the dough tears, it’s not quite ready. Beat for 1 minute, and test again.
PRO TIP: If needed, use a measuring cup to check how much your onions have reduced in volume.
- 2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter
- 4 cups (620 grams) ¼-inch-chopped sweet onion
- ¼ cup (60 grams) dry sherry
- 1 teaspoon (3 grams) poppy seeds
- ½ teaspoon (1.5 grams) kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon (1 gram) granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- In a large nonstick skillet, heat butter over medium-high until melted and bubbling. Add onions, and reduce heat to medium; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add sherry and all remaining ingredients; cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are lightly golden and have cooked down to about one-fourth of their original volume, 25 to 30 minutes, adjusting heat as needed. (See PRO TIP.) Let cool completely before using.
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