Recipe slightly adapted from Paul Krebs of Schenectady County Community College. Method adapted from Jim Lahey.
Notes: You don’t have to make these bialys using the no-knead, long, slow rise method. If you want to make them in the same day, increase the yeast to 2 teaspoons, and decrease the water to 2¾ cups. Knead the dough by hand or in a mixer until smooth and elastic. Let it rise for two hours, then proceed with the recipe. Also, Krebs recommends using a high-protein flour. For the Lahey dough and for these bialys, I am partial to tipo 00 flour.
for the bialys:
- 1000 g (7.5 cups) bread, all-purpose or tipo 00 flour
- 20 g (5 teaspoons) kosher salt
- 4 g (1 teaspoon) instant yeast* (see notes above)
- 3 cups water** (see notes above)
for the filling:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or neutral oil (grapeseed, canola, etc.)
- 2 small onions, diced
- kosher salt
- ¼ cup fresh bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon poppy seeds plus more for sprinkling
- Whisk the flour, salt and yeast together. Add the water. Stir with a wooden spoon until combined, then knead gently with your hands to make sure all of the flour is incorporated. The dough should stick to your hands.
- Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for at least 12 hours. When dough has risen, remove plastic wrap, and turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Portion dough into 90 g pieces.
- Using lightly floured hands or enough flour to keep dough from sticking to you and your work surface, shape each portion into a ball. Cover balls with plastic wrap, then let rest for 45 minutes.
- Meanwhile, place a baking stone or Baking Steel in your oven. It’s OK if you don’t have one. Preheat oven to 450ºF if you’re using a stone or Steel, otherwise, preheat to 500ºF.
- Make the filling: Heat the oil over medium or low heat. Add onion and sauté slowly until translucent. Add a pinch of salt. Continue to cook until onion is only slightly brown — I always overdo it…better to err on the side of underdone because the onions burn quickly once they are in the oven. Add breadcrumbs and poppy seeds to the pan. Stir to combine. Set aside.
- Shape your bialys into 5-inch rounds with a raised rim and thin center: I do this by first punching down in the center of each dough ball when it is resting on my work surface. Then I lift up the round and with my thumbs in the center of the dough, I gently stretch the dough out so that the center begins looking paper thin, while the rim stays ballooned. It will take a little practice getting your shaping technique/method down, but the truth is that it doesn’t really matter unless you are looking for that really traditional bialy shape — they will taste delicious regardless of the shape.
- After shaping each one, place it on a parchment-lined baking peel. When you have five or six on your peel, brush each ball lightly with water. Sprinkle sides with extra poppy seeds. Spoon filling into center or scatter it over the top of each. Bake for 8 to 12 minutes depending on oven, baking vessel, etc.
- When lightly golden, remove bialys from oven, let cool on wire rack and repeat baking process with remaining dough balls.