In any New York deli, right next the bagels, you’ll find the bialys. Bialys are similar to bagels, but they are lighter in texture, boast a more tender crumb, and are baked straight through, not boiled. They are very similar to rolls. You’ll also find a small dip in the center which can be filled with a variety of toppings, including onions, which is the most traditional. Or, omit the goat cheese and serve toasted with cream cheese and the toppings of your choice.
About the Dough: This dough rises conveniently overnight to shape and bake in the morning. To make the most of your time, you can prepare the onion mixture up to 2 days in advance.
- Yield: 12 Small Bialys
- ¼ cup (50 g) bubbly, active starter
- 1½ cups plus 1 tbsp (375 g) cool water
- 4 cups plus 2 tbsp (500 g) all-purpose flour
- 1½ tsp (9 g) fine sea salt
- 1 tbsp (15 g) olive oil
- 1 tbsp (14 g) unsalted butter
- 1 large red or yellow onion, chopped into small pieces
- 3 thyme sprigs, leaves picked, plus extra to serve
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 oz (114 g) goat cheese, crumbled
- Mixed seeds, such as poppy, sesame, fennel, flax, and sunflower
- A few days before baking, feed your starter until bubbly and active. Store at room temperature until ready to use. Make the dough
- In the evening, whisk the starter and water together in a large bowl. Add the flour and salt. Mix to combine, then incorporate by hand until a rough dough forms. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let rest for 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on your schedule. Replenish your starter with fresh flour and water, and store according to preference.
- After the dough has rested, work the mass into a semi-smooth ball, about 15 seconds. Bulk rise
- Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let rise overnight at room temperature, 70°F (21°C), about 12 to 18 hours. The dough will double or triple in size when ready, with a few bubbles on the surface. Divide
- In the morning, line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Sprinkle heavily with flour to prevent sticking. Set aside. Remove the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide into 12 pieces, about 75 grams (2½ oz) each. Gather the ends, flip the dough over, and roll each piece into a ball. Place the dough onto your lined sheet pan, 3 pieces across and 4 down. Second rise
- Cover the dough with a damp towel and let rest for 1 to 1½ hours, or until puffy. Prepare the filling
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet, warm the olive oil and butter over low heat. Add the chopped onions and thyme, and season lightly with salt and pepper. Sauté until soft and translucent, but not yet caramelized, about 7 to 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat to cool before topping the dough.
- Preheat your oven to 450°F (230°C). Shape and assemble
- Lightly dust the tops of the dough with flour. Working with one piece of dough at a time, use three fingers to make an impression into the center. Then, using your fingertips, gently push and stretch the center indentation to about 2 to 3 inches (5 to 8 cm). If the dough starts to resist, let rest for 10 minutes and try again. Repeat this technique until you have finished with all of the dough.
- Lightly brush the outside of the dough with water. Spoon some of the cooled onions into the center and top with goat cheese. Sprinkle the outside of the dough with seeds. Bake
- Bake the bialys on the center rack for 10 to 12 minutes. They will puff up and turn light golden in color, and the onions will become caramelized. Transfer to a wire rack to cool before serving.
- Bialys are best enjoyed on the same day. Store at room temperature in a plastic bag, up to 1 day.