Onion Bialys?

What is a bialy? Or, to be more specific, how is it different than a bagel. According to Google, a bagel (which is boiled) has a crisp outer shell; a bialy crust is soft and chewy. Apparently, good bialys used to be found in NYC, but now they are practically extinct. They didn’t make a comeback in my kitchen. My bialys weren’t that successful. I’m pretty sure it was my fault, not the recipe’s. Let’s take a look, shall we?

I’ve never made bialys, so I wasn’t sure what the dough should be like. It was softer than bagel dough, but firmer than a baguette dough. So far, so good. I followed the directions through the rising times and sautéed the onions. I even found poppy seeds in the corner of the spice cupboard (yay for me.) I divided the dough and rolled them into little balls. Using half of the dough, I flattened them into discs and used a fork to mash down the center of the dough. You can see the indents in the picture.

I put the filling on top and used a peel to load them onto the baking stone in my preheated oven. When they were finished baking they looked more like kaiser rolls. Sorry I didn’t get a shot of those. They puffed up in the middle and most of the onion mix either burned or fell off. Clearly, I was being too gentle with them. Luckily, I still had the second half of the dough to experiment on.

This time, I mashed the center down really well, shoveled the onion topping on them, and smashed them down again. The picture below was taken before I smashed them the second time. I loaded them into the oven and baked them as before.

This second try was more successful. They stayed flat, but now they looked and chewed more like bagels. They were pretty tasty, but I still don’t think I got the hang of it. I might try them again and see what happens. What did you guys think of these? Has anyone out there had bialys before? How did yours stack up?