I like to think of bialys as the bagel's under-appreciated cousin. Both bialys and bagels were brought to the US by Jewish Polish immigrants in the 19th century, but bagels have of course developed into an extremely popular breakfast food around the country, while bialys have maintained a lower profile.
I personally enjoy the simplicity of a bialy: unlike bagels, they are an unboiled bread with an indentation in the center filled with a filling, usually of onions and often poppyseeds. Because of the delicious filling, I usually eat them with no toppings, making them the perfect on-the-go, one-handed breakfast food. Despite growing up Jewish in the suburbs of NYC, I never even had a bialy until college, but once I had my first one, this carb-ivore was hooked.
My version is sourdough (of course), made with 50% whole grain spelt flour for a little extra fiber and nutrition to start your day. I filled it with seasonal spring onions from the Farmer's market, poppy seeds, and a touch of vegan parmesan, but you could use regular onions, scallions, or even leeks if you can't get your hands on spring onions.
For the dough:
100g fed sourdough starter
15g maple syrup
15g neutral oil
300g spelt flour
300g bread flour
For the filling:
1 tsp neutral oil
1 1/2 cups finely chopped spring onions (about 4 spring onions)
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp poppy seeds
1 1/2 tbsp vegan parmesan (I like Follow Your Heart brand)
Whisk the sourdough starter, water, maple syrup, and oil together in a large bowl.
Add the spelt flour, bread flour, and salt. Mix until the dough comes together, then use your hands to knead the dough for 5-7 minutes until smooth and supple.
Leave the dough in the bowl overnight (or 8-12 hours) to rise.
After the bulk rise, divide the dough into 8 equal pieces (my pieces came out to 130g each). Form each piece into a round ball and set aside, covered, at room temperature to rise for 90 minutes.
After 1 hour, preheat the oven with a pizza stone inside to 450 F. If you do not have a pizza stone, preheat a large baking sheet.
While the oven preheats and the dough continues to proof, heat the 1 tsp of oil over medium heat for the filling in a small saucepan. Add the chopped spring onions and salt. Saute the onions for 6-8 minutes, until they have lost most of their moisture and are translucent but not browned.
Add the onions to a separate bowl. Mix in the poppy seeds and vegan parmesan, stirring well to incorporate.
When the dough is done proofing, pick up one ball of dough. Pinch the center of the ball of dough and use your fingers to flatten the center, working towards the outside, until it has an indentation in the middle of about 3 inches in diameter with about a 1 inch ring diameter taller ring around the outside. Make the center indentation larger than you think it needs to be: as the dough bakes, the taller outside portion will puff up and make the indentation in the middle smaller.
After each bialy is shaped, fill the center with about 1 tbsp of filling. Flour the bottom of a pizza peel, and slide each bialy onto the pizza stone in the oven. If you are using a baking sheet, remove the baking sheet from the oven and place each bialy onto the preheated baking sheet.
Bake the bialys at 450 F for 12-15 minutes, until they are puffed up and just barely start to turn golden.
Cool the bialys on a wire rack and enjoy once cooled.
I hope you enjoy these! If you've never had a bialy, you're in for a treat.