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Kossar's Bialys



Grind the onion to a puree in the food processor with the steel blade. Remove the onion and reserve it. Without washing out the workbowl, add the flour, yeast and salt. Process them for a few seconds to combine them. With the machine running, pour the water through the feed tube. Process the dough until it is cohesive, soft and probably hot, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the dough and knead it on your work surface for a few seconds to redistribute the heat. The dough will feel very hot at first but will quickly cool, tightening into a very stiff dough as it does so. Process the dough for 1 minute, then knead it by hand to cool it down and redistribute the heat. Repeat this process 3 or 4 times, until the dough is very smooth and strong.

Place the dough in a container at least 3 times in size and cover it tightly with plastic wrap. Let the dough ferment until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours.

Heap the ground onion into a mound in a small nonstick baking pan or in a foil-lined and oiled pan. Bake it in a 350 oven until light brown, about 1 hour, stirring it once or twice. The onion should be a moist, lightly carmelized paste. Let the onion cool.

Cut the dough into 12 equal pieces. Found the pieces into smooth balls, cover them with plastic wrap and let proof until they are puffy, very light and deflate slightly when gently pressed, about 2 1/2 hours.

About 45 minutes before the breads are fully proofed, arrange a rack on the oven's second to top shelf and place a baking stone on it. Clear away all racks above the one being used. Preheat the oven to 475.

Stretch each dough round out to look like a pizza, 5 to 6 inches in diameter. Lightly pull out the center until it is very thin, leaving only a narrow membrane of dough at the center. You may have to push the center down with your thumbs to convince this not very extensible dough. Try to pull the dough rounds out as far as possible. Arrange 6 shaped rounds on a piece of parchment. Smear about 1/4 tsp of browned onion puree in the center of each round. It's just a tiny bit to give it a little flavor. Don't overdo it. (I choose to overdo it and use at least double this amount) Slide the parchment onto the hot stone and bake the bialys until just spotted brown, 6 to 8 minutes, rotating them halfway into the bake for even browning. Transfer to a rack to cook and bake the remaining bialys. (I cook mine directly on the stone)