While the bagel is boiled and baked, its lesser known cousin, the bialy, is just baked. The other big difference is that the bialy only has a hollow in the middle while the bagel has a hole.
Mix together the flour, yeast and salt. In a bowl, beat the lukewarm water and olive oil. Incorporate the first mixture into the second and knead vigorously by hand or using an electric mixer for 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. Form a smooth ball of dough. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let it rest at room temperature for about 1½ hours until the dough has doubled in size.
Divide the dough into six equal portions. Shape into small balls and flatten them between the palms of your hands. Place the rounds of dough on a buttered and floured sheet of baking paper. Fold the opposite edges of each dough portion towards the middle and pinch together to make irregular balls. Sprinkle with flour, then cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let them rise at room temperature for at least 1 hour. Using the palm of your hand, flatten the risen balls of dough, then press the middle of each bialy to make a large hollow.
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and sauté the onions and poppy seeds over medium heat. Season with the salt. Put a little of the onion–poppy seed mixture in the middle of each bialy and brush the surface of the bialys with more olive oil. Don’t worry if the onion mixture spills out, bialys should be imperfect!
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