Everybody knows what a bagel is, but what about a biyali? Biyalis are like a bagel without the hole, but rather a slight indent. Bialy is short for bialystoker kuchen, and is a kind of bun hailing from Białystok, Poland. The dough for biyali is best when the dough is left to age/prove overnight in the fridge; the flavour becomes more complex and the texture of the dough will have a better chew to it. The chew is essential to a good biyali. The traditional topping combo is poppy seeds and onions but I have opted to add goat’s cheese. If you want to make a biyali that is strictly authentic, skip the chevre. These freeze well, and I strongly recommend making a double batch so you can stash the other half away for your next biyali craving.
7 cups Bread Flour
4 tsp salt
1 ¼ tsp instant yeast
2 ¼ cups warm water
1 large onion, peeled and quartered
1 Tbsp poppy seeds
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 to 4 grinds coarsely ground black pepper
1 ½ cups goat’s cheese, crumbled
Whisk the flour, salt and yeast together in a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment and mix for a few seconds.
Add the water and mix until it forms an elastic dough for about 5 minutes. By the end of it the dough should come away from the walls of your mixing bowl.
Cover with a plastic wrap and let it rise and mature in the fridge overnight or for 8 hours. Once the dough has proved for 8 hours, turn your dough out on a floured surface and form it into a ball.
With a sharp knife portion your dough into 12 portions; spray with cooking spray, cover, and let rest for 1 hour.
Meanwhile make the filling: Pulse the onion in a food processor until very finely chopped, but do not make it liquidy. Mix in the poppy seed, salt, and pepper. Heat the oil in a saucepan and cook the onion
mixture for a few minutes over medium-low heat until the liquid cooks off and the onion is slightly caramelized. Remove from the heat and cool.
Preheat the oven to 475F
Put a dough ball on your floured surface and make an indent in the middle with your thumb, then gently pull the opposite sides of ball to stretch; you are making a little bed for the onion filling to live. Fill the indentations with onion filling and then top with goat’s cheese.
Transfer bialys on parchment lined baking sheets and sprinkle with more poppy seeds.
Place the baking sheet with bialys on a rack positioned in the middle of the oven, and bake for 10-12 minutes.
Chef ILona Daniel is Harrowsmith’s Food Editor and the founder of Tribe Fresh Events and Consulting, a purpose-driven insights consultancy accelerated by modern approaches to the hospitality industry, immersive experiences, and community and culture development. She has worked on projects around the world and is on the Board of Directors for the Tourism Association of PEI. Chef Ilona is a media personality, and a Culinary Instructor at the Culinary Institute of Canada.