Bialys

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Dough Yield:

    72

    bialys at 3 oz each

Appears in

Bread

By Jeffrey Hamelman

Published 2004

  • About

I Have Heard Bialys Described as “bagels without the holes.” With bad press like that, it’s unlikely that people will go out of their way to find one. Bialys, originally made by Jewish bakers in Bialystok, Poland, came to New York about one hundred years ago. For many of the years I owned a bakery in southern Vermont, we made bialys each Saturday, and I can’t remember a time that there was ever an unsold bialy at the end of the day. They are delightful little rolls, with just a whisper of onion flavor permeating the dough. The dough is stretched out just before baking, leaving a thin indentation in the center that is surrounded by a circular ridge of dough, and is finished with a dollop of onion filling placed into the central cavity. With a hot oven and a quick bake, the result is a chewy and delicious treat.

Ingredients

Overall Formula

U.S. Metric Home Baker’s %
High-Gluten Flour 8.38 lb 3.81 kg 1 lb, 6.4 oz (5⅛ cups) 100%
Water 4.86 lb 2.21 kg 13 oz (1⅝ cups) 58%
Salt .16 lb .073 kg .4 oz (2 tsp) 1.9 %
Yeast .13 lb, fresh .061 kg, fresh .12 oz, instant dry (1⅛ tsp) 1.6 %
Total Yield 13.53 lb 6.154 kg 2 lb, 3.9 oz 161.5 %

Onion Filling

Medium Onion, Finely Chopped 1 Per 12 to 16 Bialys
Bread Crumbs Fresh, From A White Loaf About 10% Of the Onion Weight

Method

  1. Onion Filling: Mix the finely chopped onion and the bread crumbs together. Place in a covered container and let them visit, in the refrigerator or at room temperature, for a couple of hours. The onion mix can also be made a day or more ahead. Refrigerate until needed.
  2. Mixing: Bialy dough is quite stiff. Place all the dough ingredients in the mixing bowl. In a planetary mixer, mix on first speed for about 3 minutes to incorporate the ingredients. Turn the mixer to second speed, and mix for an additional 5 to 6 minutes, until the gluten is well developed. Desired dough temperature: 76°F.
  3. Bulk Fermentation: 2 hours, with a fold after 1 hour.
  4. Dividing and Shaping: Divide the dough into 3-ounce pieces—in a 36-part dough divider, the press weight is 6.75 pounds (3.06 kg). Round the dough tightly (illustration A). Place, seams down, on sheet pans sprinkled with ¼ inch of flour. Place in a draft-free location, or cover with baker’s linen and then a sheet of plastic. Proof the rolls fully, about 1½ hours.
  5. Filling and Baking: Pick up a roll and press both thumbs into the center of it, creating a hollow (illustration B). Rotate the roll, keeping both thumbs deep in the dough as you do so, and stretch the hollow outward as the roll rotates (C). The bialy should have a circular wall of dough that surrounds a thin membrane in the center. The center indentation should be about inches in diameter. Place the bialy on a baker’s peel or loading conveyor. When all the rolls have been shaped, put 1 rounded teaspoon of the onion filling in the central cavity (D). Bake at 480°F for 8 to 10 minutes. The bialys should be nicely browned, but the outer wall of dough should be moist and supple and not dried out. The fragrance of the onions will mingle alluringly with the rich smell of baked dough as you go get some butter. Try one warm; I think you will be a believer.

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Variations

Use chopped garlic in place of (or along with) the onions. Poppy or sesame seeds, alone or mixed together, can also be sprinkled onto the bialys before baking.