the michael corleone of bread

After my last bread baking fiasco I swore that I was done. I vowed to myself that I wouldn’t make anymore attempts until I finally took that baking class. I just couldn’t face one more disappointment. But the thing is, I have a sickness. An obsession. A undeniable need to fulfill my bread baking desires. I just can’t stop myself from attempting another “this might be the one” recipe. Sigh… It’s as if the very moment my latest baking disaster wound heals, there I am with yet another recipe to try. But the odds are in my favor, right? Sooner or later I’m bound to find success. I mean, you remember the pretzels don’t you!?!

Sure enough and completely true to form, a few weeks post fiasco I had my lastest bread baking blast of brilliance (say that three times fast). “Wouldn’t it be lovely if my family woke up to something freshly baked for breakfast?” I thought over coffee one morning. I’d been jonesing to try my hand at bialys, those wonderfully oniony cousins of the bagel, and (since the sting of my last disaster had dissipated nicely) this quiet Saturday morning seemed like the perfect time to give it a shot.

A little mixing, a bit of kneading. Some proofing and then sautéing. Deflate, form, spoon, bake and… “Just when I thought I was out— they pull me back in!” Yeah they were good, really good. So good that I will undoubtedly be lulled into giving “the perfect crusty loaf” another go sometime soon. And who knows (big wink), maybe this next recipe really will be THE ONE.

Bialys
These contain way more onions than traditional bialys, which is perfectly fine by me. Slather a little butter on one of these babies fresh out of the oven and— Whoo-hoo, call yourself a rock star!

bialys4

3 cups bread flour
1 tsp. instant yeast (such as SAF)
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup + 2 tsp. lukewarm water

for the filling:
2 cups onions, finely diced
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1 tbsp. poppy seeds

  1. Place the dough ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook. Allow to knead on medium for about 8 minutes, or until you have a smooth, fairly stiff dough.
  2. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover and allow it to rise in a warm spot for about 2 hours, or until it’s just about doubled in size.
  3. While the dough is rising, make the filling. Sprinkle the diced onion with salt and sauté in olive oil over medium-high heat, stirring often, until it’s a dark golden brown. Remove from the heat, stir in the poppy seeds and transfer to a small bowl to cool.
  4. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment and set aside.
  5. Gently deflate the dough and divide it into 8-10 pieces (depending on how large you want your bialys). Shape each piece into a disc, place the discs on a prepared cookie sheet and use your thumb to flatten out the center and give the bialy it’s classic bowl shape. (Be sure to keep the remaining dough covered until you’re ready to use it.)
  6. Spread the onion filling into the center of each bialy.
  7. Top the prepared bialys with a sheet of parchment paper; then with another cookie sheet. (You want to weigh them down so they don’t puff up too much.)
  8. Bake the bialys for 5 minutes. Remove the top cookie sheet and parchment paper and continuing baking for another 8-10 minutes, or until they’re a dappled golden brown.
  9. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack. Repeat with the remaining dough, slather with butter and enjoy the adulations.

*adapted from king arthur flour

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