Although nothing compares to fresh homemade pizza dough, when people have good bread at the ready, we haven’t hesitated to make it pizza. Pizza pretzels, French bread pizzas, pita pizzas. We love our pizza, and, quite often, we love convenience—pizza done in minutes and on sturdier bread, which can sometimes make it easier to eat on the go. Not that eating and walking is a good thing, but sometimes it must be done. For me, I think there’s a perfect Jewish bread for pizza. And it’s not bagels—though they are good, they are often more bread than topping, and then, of course, there’s that pesky hole in the middle. I’m talking bialys, bagel-like round breads brought to the United States from Poland by Jewish immigrants. Rather than a hole, they have an indented center classically filled with onion and poppy seeds.
Now, the proper thickness and chewiness of pizza is something to argue about. But to me bialys work perfectly, with the thin-almost-crunchy-center creating a perfect cradle for pizza toppings and the puffy outer ring giving just the right amount of bread flavor and chewiness. Beyond on all that, turning a bialy into a pizza warmly and playfully combines some favorite Jewish and Italian elements. What’s not to love?
Here’s pure Jewish-Italian fun. I keep my pizzas super simple here, but there’s ample room for experimenting with toppings (and I sometimes substitute shredded mozzarella for the whole slices). I’ve used these several times whole or in halves or quarters for parties, and kids can easily help in the assembly. Find bialys in some bagel shops or larger supermarket bakeries. Or, if you enjoy making breads, bialys are absolutely worth making from scratch, and my favorite recipe for them is in my cookbook "Meatballs and Matzah Balls."
- 6 bialys
- 1 cup marinara sauce
- 6 small slices fresh mozzarella cheese patted dry
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the bialys on the sheet. Drop approximately 1 tablespoon of sauce into the center and top with a slice of fresh mozzarella.
- Bake until the cheese is melted, about 15 minutes.