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Questions or Comments

Bialys/Pletzel - pareve

Posted by : Ruth Heiges

This is from Marcy Goldman's web site, but I'd bet the recipe is also in
her new cookbook. 

Maybe I'll try my hand at these some day. My problem is that I not only
love to bake, but also love eating the products ... ;-) "Tzibaleh
pletzlach" [the word ~pletzel~ implies it is something flat] were one of
the specialties of the Jewish bakery which used to be across the street
from the only Orthodox synagogue (long defunct) and kosher butcher (long
gone) in Erie, PA, where I grew up. In fact, when we first came to the
US, we lived above the bakery, which, when I last saw, had been razed
and turned into a parking lot.


Bialys - the bagel's first cousin

Most cultures offer some variety of flatbread - there is Indian naan,
Italian foccaccio, Armenian lavosh. Bialys seem to be the cousin of the
bagel. A baker may have scratched his head one day and said: "How about
no hole and some onions?" Where I grew up, a flat, crisp, onion-topped
roll was called an "onion pletzel". In New York, it's called a bialy (or
bialie) - a disk of dough with a slight depression in its center, topped
with diced onions and poppy seeds. Call it what you will, the result is
an enticing flatbread, which takes well to cream cheese. Bialys can be
modest in size - three to four inches across, or the size of a small
pizza. Thin, they are a good munch. A thicker bialy can be split and
filled as a sandwich. Most bialy makers rely on bagel dough for the
foundation, but permit the dough to rise and usually, the dough is
baked, not boiled. You can use the bagel recipe to make bialy at home or
try the recipe below. 


These freeze very well. I serve them toasted with yogurt or cream cheese
and fresh ground black pepper. 

1 1/2 cups warm water
5 teaspoons yeast
5 tsp. sugar
5 - 5 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour such as Hodgson Mill or Five Roses
Unbleached Bread flour
2 1/2 tsp. kosher salt


1/2 cup dehydrated minced onion (*)
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 1/2 tbsp. poppy seeds
1 tbsp. coarse sea salt for sprinkling (optional)

corn meal for baking sheet (Approximately 1/4 cup)
egg - l egg beaten with 2 tbsp. water

(*) You may substitute l cup finely minced fresh onion but the
dehydrated variety is easier to work with and it sticks to the unbaked
dough well. 

Whisk together water yeast and sugar. Then stir in one cup of the flour
and salt. Add most of remaining salt and stir with a wooden spoon to
make a soft mass. Attach dough hook or hand knead eight to ten minutes. 

Allow dough to rest, covered with a tea towel (about 45 minutes).
Meanwhile, line two large baking sheets with baking parchment and
lightly sprinkle with cornmeal. 

Preheat oven to 450 F. 

Prepare topping by covering onions with hot water and allow to soak 15
minutes. Drain, toss with oil and poppy seeds. Set aside. 

Deflate dough and divide in two. Then, divide each half section of dough
into six equal pieces. Allow dough to rest ten minutes. Then, roll or
stretch each portion into a four to five inch oval or circle. Be careful
not to overwork the dough as it will begin to retract. Place bialys on
prepared baking sheets. Lightly glaze outer perimeter of bialys with egg
wash. Spoon on about two teaspoons of prepared onion topping and a
little bit of coarse salt (optional). Cover with a floured tea towel and
allow to rise 30-40 minutes or until puffy looking. 

Bake until golden brown (25-30 minutes). If bialys brown too fast,
reduce heat to 425 F. Devour all or freeze. For thicker bialys (good for
sandwiches) allow to rise longer, for thin crisp ones, reduce rising

Copyright: Marcy Goldman

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