The Bialy maybe thought of as a cousin to a Bagel but is quite different from it. For one thing, a Bialy is baked whereas a Bagel is boiled and then baked. A Bialy is round with a depressed middle, not a hole, and typically filled with cooked onions and sometimes poppy seeds. So it is not shiny on the outside with largish puffy bubbles on the inside. A good Bialy should have a springy soft crumb and a chewy and floury crust. A lot of people slather Bialys with butter or cream cheese but they are also nice as they are. Bialys are best when eaten within 5 to 6 hours of making them.
The name Bialy comes from Bialystocker Kuchen which translates as “bread from Bialystok” which is in Poland. Apparently, Bialys are rarely seen or made in Bialystock these days. In the days when there used to be Bialys in Bialystock, it seems the rich Jews ate Bialys with their meals, while the Bialys were the whole meal for the poorer Jews.
In the early 1900s, many Eastern Eurpoeans, including the Polish, immigrated to the US and settled down in New York. Naturally, they also brought their Bialy making skills with them and that is how the New York Bialy became famous.
Bake the Bialys at 230°C (450°F) for about 15 minutes till they’re golden brown in colour. Cool them on a rack. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.
They keep well in an airtight container for a day or two and just need to be warmed up slightly before serving.