There is one gluten-free baking bible out there: Against the Grain. You’ll never have to shell out eight bucks for a terrible loaf of frozen bread ever again. Bid farewell to the rubbery, flavorless, additive-filled gluten-free goods of yesteryear and embrace your diet with delicious, wholesome, home-baked favorites. These bialys are a labor of love worth taking on. Just look at them.
The bialy, a beloved round bread that is great for breakfast or pretty much anytime you want a doughy, oniony snack, is holding onto its prized position in the canon of Jewish baked goods with all of its might. In 2012, Lauren Bloomberg wrote about the onion-stuffed “not-a-bagel” for us, voicing our shared concern about its slow slide towards extinction. Thankfully, the bialy is still occuping its place in our hearts and in at least a few New York bakeries: Bialys can be found at Zabar’s on the Upper West Side, at Kossar’s on the Lower East Side, and among the offerings of a few smaller bakeries, such as Hot Bread Kitchen, which you can find at greenmarkets around New York. Finally, we have a gluten-free recipe for this delicious bagel alternative. Hold onto hope that the bialy sticks around, and bake these to enjoy at home and keep the tradition alive!
- 1 medium onion
- 1 tablespoon salted butter
- pinch baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds
- 2 cups tapioca starch
- 1 cup light buckwheat flour
- 1 3/4 tablespoons salt
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 large egg whites
- Make the filling: Chop the onion in a food processor until it is minced well. In a small skillet, heat the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring constantly. As the onion begins to soften, add the baking soda to speed up the caramelization process. Cook until the onion is soft and lightly browned. Stir in the poppy seeds and set the filling aside.
- Make the dough: Without washing the food-processor bowl, combine the 2 cups of tapioca starch, the buckwheat flour, and the salt, and pulse until they are fully mixed.
- In a medium saucepan, bring the oil and one cup of water to a boil, stirring constantly and vigorously. Immediately pour the hot mixture into the flour mixture in the food-processor bowl, and process until it is moist with a sand-like texture. Allow the dough to cool for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the yeast, sugar, and 1/3 cup warm water and allow it to proof for 15 minutes.
- Add the yeast mixture and egg whites to the dough and pulse to blend it thoroughly. It will be shaggy, not yet smooth. Transfer the dough to a medium bowl, cover the dough with plastic wrap, and allow it to rest for 15 minutes. While the dough is resting, position an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 500° Fahrenheit.
- While the oven is preheating, knead up to 1/3 cup of tapioca starch into the dough until the dough is smooth, elastic, and just moist enough to handle without it sticking to your hands.
- Divide the dough into 8 equal portions and roll each piece into a smooth ball. Dust a piece of plastic wrap with tapioca starch and place the balls on the plastic wrap. Press down on each ball and massage it into a 4- to 5-inch disk as if you were making an individual pizza crust. Place the disks on a well-greased baking sheet. Cover the dough and allow it to rise for at least 30 minutes.
- After it is done rising, gently create a 2- to 3-inch-wide depression in the center of each disk. Spoon the onion filling into the depression in each disk and smear it from side to side.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 475° Fahrenheit and bake the bialys for about 20 minutes, or until the bottoms are lightly browned.
- Remove the bialys from the oven and transfer them to a cooling rack.
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