What is a Bialy? The definition in the Merriam-Webster online dictionary states a bialy is "a flat breakfast roll that has a depressed center and is usually covered with onion flakes", and originated in Bialystok, a city in Poland, in 1965. (For interesting info on Bialystok, Poland, click here. No mention of the origin of Bialys though. Perhaps it is not a claim to fame?)
The first time I heard of bialys was at Einstein's, on those runs to pick up bagels and coffee for the people in the office. I don't recall them being topped with only onions, I seem to recall they had all kinds of flavors! Curiously, I don't see bialys on the Einstein's menu anymore. Anyway, I remember asking my boss what a bialy was. His response? "They're just bagels without the hole."
I suppose for the most part, he was right. I found a recipe in Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day for bialys that uses the bagel dough. (Click here for a picture of bialys from their site - to see what they are supposed to look like! - along with a cute story.) So, after my struggle with the bagels, I decided to try bialys. I still had plenty of bagel dough left, but I was NOT going to attempt them again. Like I said, I'll leave bagels to the experts, thank you!
The recipe for bialys is much simpler. There is no broiling and no boiling. Since we are not onion fans, I decided to skip that whole part, so my bialys were just plain. It was a lot like baking bread rolls, really. So, here they are - a picture for you to see my finished product.
Yeah, the ones on the right are not exactly round per se, they are more . . . oblong. That is because I had trouble removing them from my board and staying in the same shape. I'm supposed to have a pizza peel and just slide these babies off the peel onto the hot baking stone in the oven. But, I have not yet invested in a pizza peel or a baking stone. You know, priorities and money. So, I used my largest baking sheet as a baking stone and used my medium sized baking sheet as a pizza peel. I thought it would be a great substitute, but, . . . well, obviously, it didn't turn out so pretty!
But, yet again, they may not be pretty, but they certainly were DELICIOUS! My husband says he doesn't care what it looks like, he just cares what it tastes like. (Isn't he sweet? Told ya he's awesome!) He certainly is enjoying my baking attempts. He is reaping the reward for such a cool Christmas present.
I will definitely bake these again. They were easy, and tasty. I'll have to work on my form, but that takes practice. (haha) But, I will get more creative with toppings. Some parmesan cheese, maybe some spinach, mmmm . . . mushrooms perhaps . . . . olives . . . oooh, so excited!