I enjoy baking bread as it allows me to make fresh, natural bread without any questionable ingredients. There are few pleasures in life as delightful as warm, fresh baked bread. I am going to make a batch of roasted tomato-pepper-garlic soup for dinner and football watching. What would go better with that than an onion bialys and some sharp cheddar cheese? I discovered if you use the back of the spoon to depress the bialys after scoping the onion-poppy seeds onto the dough, you get a better well. I am fortunate to have two ovens so I could bake all 12 at the same time. This would not be a bread to bake in the summer but when it is 36F outside, having the ovens heating the central part of the house is simply perfect. I also roasted tomatoes, red peppers and two dozen cloves of garlic for an hour and they will get pureed in the food processor and turned into tomato soup using the recipe from Smitten Kitchen here.
2 ¼ c warm water (105-115F)
2 ¼ tsp yeast
2 tsp sugar
2 Tbsp shortening
1/3 c onion, minced
1 tsp black pepper
3 c bread flour
Mix yeast, pinch of sugar and ¼ cup of the warm water in a glass bowl. Set aside and let froth, about 5 minutes.
Melt shortening in a small skillet and sauté the onion until soft. Place the onions into the mixer bowl with the paddle attachment. Add the remaining 2 cups warm water, the sugar and the black pepper. Add the yeast mixture and the 3 cups of flour. Once mixed, beat for another 3-5 minutes. . Scrape bowl and paddle, cover mixing bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 1 hour.
2 TBsp oil
1 c onion, minced
2 tsp poppy seeds
Heat the oil in a pan, add the onions and the poppy seeds and cook for 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat, add pepper to taste and set aside to cool.
1 Tbsp salt
3 cups bread flour
2 Tbsp butter melted
Brush inside of large bowl with butter. Reserve the remaining butter. Add salt and the remaining 3 cups of flour to the mixing bowl. With a dough hook attachment, mix for 5 minutes. Turn out onto a floured surface and swiftly knead the bowl. Place dough in the large buttered bowl and brush the top with the remaining butter. Cover bowl with plastic and a towel and set to rise for 1 ½ hours.
Preheat oven to 500F. Set to lowest rack in the oven. You will need 4 ice cubes for steaming the dough as it bakes. You will bake each half of the dough separately.
Divide dough in half and keep the half you are not working with covered with a towel. Divide the half of the dough into 6 equal pieces. Shape into balls and place on a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray and dusted with corn meal. Press the center of each ball to create a deep dimple. Spoon some of the onion-poppy seed mixture into the center and set pan aside.
Repeat for the second half of the dough while the 1st half is baking.
Place pan onto the lowest rack in the oven, toss 4 ice cubes into the bottom of the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Lower heat to 450F and bake an additional 5 minutes. Remove from oven and return heat to 500F for next pan.