bialy [bee-ah-lee] is a small roll that is a traditional dish in Polish Ashkenazi cuisine. A traditional bialy has a diameter of up to 15 cm (6 inches) and is a chewy yeast roll similar to a bagel. Unlike a bagel, which is boiled before baking, a bialy is simply baked, and instead of a hole in the middle it has a depression. Before baking, this depression is filled with diced onions and other ingredients, including garlic, poppy seeds, or bread crumbs. The name bialy is Yiddish and short for ‘bialystoker kuchen’ (Bialystok Cake). Białystok is a city in Poland. The bialy was formerly little known outside of New York City, but has started to move into the larger market. They were originally brought into the United States by Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The bialy was first marketed in the United States during the early 1900s in the state of New York by Harry Cohen, a proprietor of a bagel (and later bialy) establishment. In 2002, former New York Times food writer Mimi Sheraton wrote a book dedicated to the bialy, called The Bialy Eaters: The Story of a Bread and a Lost World. She examined bialy making and used Kossar’s Bialys as the background, and its long-time union bakers as key references for her research that took her to Poland in search of the original bialy bakers.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.