whew, if feels like it’s been forever! how are you? i’ve been better. actually, right now i’m feeling pretty healthy, but for the past week i was feeling particularly unhealthy – the kind of unhealthy that makes you not want to go anywhere near the kitchen. the kind of unhealthy that makes you wish you had bought stock in the kleenex corporation a week ago (not to mention nyquil inc). but i have returned, and i did miss you all. i bring you wishes of good health this spring, and this recipe for bialys, because why not have breakfast all day long?
i had never even heard of bialys before (which explains why when i asked the girl about them, i kept calling them “bilays”), but the way she described them – lots of onion and lots of poppy seeds – i had to have one. i love onion bagels, and i love poppy seed bagels, so combining them and getting rid of the hole – essentially adding more bagel – is genius.
i’ve read extensively about this, but i’m pretty sure there is no fool-proof way to keep from crying when cutting onions. i’ve tried cutting next to an open flame and cutting next to a running faucet, which both work for a brief amount of time, but sure enough, 3 minutes later, i’m bawling like i’m watching that aspca commercial with sarah mclaughlin. my method has pretty much become cut, stick head in freezer to stop from tearing up, cut for another few seconds, stick head back in freezer, repeat. oddly enough, it takes me a long time to cut an onion and i always end up with a wicked brain freeze.
since the recipe is from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, it’s a cinch to make. the drawback is that the finished bialys are missing that “something” that you get from a good new york bagel dough. this can be traced back, most likely, to the absence of malt syrup, but sometimes the benefits of an easy dough can simply be too great. plus, the sauteed onions and poppy seeds give the bialys a sweet richness that makes you wish the whole thing was coated in the filling (maybe next time…).
this will definitely not be my last experience with bialys. for some reason, when it stays lighter later at night, i’m inspired to have breakfast for dinner, and bialys are a food that just begs to be experimented on and tried with different fillings. what if i cracked an egg in the middle? added bacon? sausage? bacon and sausage? and cheese? this is going to be good.
from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. makes 15-20 bialys.
3 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 Tbsp yeast
1 1/2 Tbsp salt
1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
6 1/4 cups four
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 onions, finely chopped
2 tsp poppy seeds
salt and pepper
whole wheat flour for pizza peel
1. mix the yeast, salt and sugar with the water in a large bowl. mix in the flour without kneading, using a spoon or a standing mixer. cover the bowl with a towl and allow to rest at room temperature for 2 hours. it can then be used immediately or refrigerated in a lidded container for the next 2 weeks.
2. dust the surface of the dough with flour and cut off a 3 oz piece of dough (about the size of a peach). dust the surface of the piece with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball by streching the surface of the dough around the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go. press the ball into a 3-inch disk and let rest on floured surface for 30 minutes. repeat with as many bialys as you want to bake.
3. about 20 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 450F with a baking stone on the middle rack and a broiler tray on the bottom rack.
4. while the dough is resting, saute the onions in the oil over medium heat until they are transluscent and slightly golden. remove from the heat and add the poppy seeds and salt and pepper to taste.
5. press the center of each bialy to flatten it, working your way out until there is a 1/2-inch rim of dough that is not pressed flat and the bialy is about 4 inches wide. fill the center with 1 Tbsp of the onion mixture and press it securely into the dough.
6. dust a pizza peel with whole wheat flour and put the finished bilays on it. slide the bilays directly onto the hot stone, making sure they are spaced out so they have room to expand. pour 1 cup of hot tap water into the broiler tray and quickly close the oven door. bake for about 12 minutes, until just golden brown. cool on a wire rack before serving or eating.