bialys are one of those things that you either have fond memories of or you have never heard of them. they aren't very common once you get out of the areas lacking large jewish communities. having grown up just outside of manhattan in northern new jersey, i knew what they were, i saw them in places that sold bagels but i never ate them. looking back, i cannot explain why i had never eaten one. perhaps it was that my mother never ate them or purchased them. still, that is a little strange since onion bagels and onion rolls made their way into our kitchen on occasion.
it wasn't until i met my husband that i became more familiar with them. his fondness for a freshly baked onion bialy made an impression on me; not enough to make me a fellow devotee, but i would at least eat one on occasion. living in nashville, tennessee has made finding a proper, freshly baked bialy nearly impossible. on the rare occasion that he encounters one, he quickly proclaims it "okay, but not a real bialy" and knowing how picky he is, i generally avoid bringing them home.
recently, he had to travel for work and was gone from home for 10 days. while he loves what he does, he did not particularly like being away for that long. no matter what hotel/motel you stay in, it just isn't the same and he missed being home. baking up a bunch of onion bialys for him seemed like it might make the perfect welcome home gift. it was also a great excuse to turn on the oven on yet another cold and dreary winter day. luckily for me, this recipe was the latest challenge chosen by my fellow tuesdays with dorie bakers as we work our way through the book, baking with julia.
they wouldn't be onion bialys without freshly sauteed onions.
now that we have a gas stove in our kitchen, i look for reasons to cook!
after an hour, it is very bubbly and ready to be added to the dough.
keep in mind that you do not need to go crazy, just a few quick swirls around the table; the longer you do it, the tighter the ball gets and the harder it is to make the final flattened round of dough needed for an authentically shaped bialy.
prick the center multiple times to prevent it from puffing up-a fork works well
fresh from the oven
they look like funky bagels but honestly, they taste completely different.
"the bialy eaters: the story of a bread and a lost world" by mimi sheraton and if you want to try a true bialy but do not want to make them, order some from kossar's, they ship!
to slice or not to slice...that is the question