Named for the Polish city of Bialystok, the 'bialy' of Jewish-Americans is descended from the ‘kuchen’ of Bialystok, Poland. A Bialy is a fairly large (about 6 inches across) chewy round yeast roll. Somewhat similar to a bagel, it has a depression rather than a hole in the center, and is sprinkled with chopped sauteed onion before baking.
The bialy is eaten as an alternative to the bagel and both are associated with Jewish American culinary traditions. Unlike the bagle, bialys are just baked, whereas bagels are boiled and then baked. Also, the bagel has a hole in the center but bialys have a depression in the center. The original bialys were also larger, about 6 to 9 inches in diameter.
In Poland today the bialy is a lost bread. It is no longer made or even known there.
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