Food & dining

Bialys, cousins to the bagel, but without a hole

Bialys, like bagels without the hole, now offered at Finagle a Bagle in Chestnut Hill.
Michele McDonald for The Boston Globe
Bialys, like bagels without the hole, are now offered at Finagle a Bagle in Chestnut Hill.

Michele McDonald for The Boston Globe
Marcelo Mathias prepares bialys at Finagle a Bagle in Chestnut Hill.

A bialy (pronounced bee-AH-lee) is a chewy, yeasty roll that is well known in New York City, but only spottily represented in Boston. The original recipe comes from Bialystok, Poland. Now Finagle a Bagel’s six cafes are offering freshly baked bialys (92 cents each). Unlike their bagel cousins, which have a hole through the middle, bialys have an indentation, which is filled with diced onions and poppy seeds. The rounds have a lightly golden, crisp top and a pleasantly chewy, doughy center.

“Toasting is what brings out their character,” says Laura Trust, co-owner of the Newton-based chain. For bialy novices, here’s how to eat one: Holding a knife parallel to the board, slice it in half; you’ll get a top with the hole and a solid bottom, onions clinging mostly to the bottom. Toast until lightly crisp, then spread with butter or cream cheese. Place the top over the bottom, if you like. Bialys can also be spread with mustard or mayo and stacked with turkey, roast beef, or salami. They contain no preservatives and are best eaten or frozen the day they’re made. “They’re not meant to last,” says Trust. Finagle a Bagel locations include 535 Boylston St., Boston, 617-266-2500;
1 Center Plaza, Boston, 617-523-6500; and 1240 Boylston St., Chestnut Hill, 617-738-0800, or go to www.finagle
abagel.com
LISA ZWIRN

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