Make Your Own Bialys At Home with Pizza Dough

By Gabi Moskowitz, The Nosher via JTA

No joke: My grandparents used to import bialys from Manhattan to Los Angeles. They would store them in zippered bags in their kitchen freezer. One of my favorite childhood memories is of sitting at their kitchen table eating a hot, toasty bialy and sneaking sips of my grandfather’s coffee.

 While often grouped together with ubiquitous bagels, bialys are very much their own thing. The word “bialy” is a shortened version of Bialystocker Kuchen, or “bread from Bialystok, Poland.” For the wealthy, kuchen was an accompaniment to meals; for the poor it was the whole meal. Today the bialy is a delicacy unto itself.

 Whereas bagels are boiled, then baked, bialys are baked in a hot oven. This means the bialy’s outside is matte, not shiny like bagels, and its edges are crunchier. The bialy’s interior is similar to a ciabatta bread, and its crust is pleasantly crisp. They are almost always filled with cooked onions, and often also with poppy seeds, as in this version.

 I once read a recipe for traditional bialys and discovered that the dough is nearly identical to my pizza dough recipe. As such, I now love to use simple, cheap pizza dough (either store-bought or homemade) to make my bialys.

 Once the dough has come to room temperature, you only have to cook the filling, spoon it into the dough rounds and pop them in the oven. Because it is so easy to prepare, this recipe is a fabulous brunch option. Throw together a frittata or scramble, set out some cream cheese, butter, whitefish and lox, then pull your hot bialys out of the oven and pop them onto a platter. Depending on where you live, it can be hard to find a decent bialy, but with this recipe, you can have a New York morning whenever you please.

 Gabi Moskowitz is the editor-in-chief of the nationally acclaimed blog BrokeAss Gourmet, and the author of The Brokeass Gourmet Cookbook (May 2012) and Pizza Dough: 100 Delicious, Unexpected Recipes (November 2013). She writes regularly for The Washington Post and The Guardian. Gabi is also the producer of “Young and Hungry,” an ABC Family comedy inspired by her life and writing. She lives in San Francisco.