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"What, you've never had a bialy? OMG, they're the best! Kind of like a bagel, but not. Bagels are boiled and then baked, but bialy's are simply baked. They aren't donut shaped, instead they're flat with a depression in the center, that's filled with golden sauteed onions. Now I'm drooling. Over the top, they sprinkle poppy sees, sesame seeds, kosher salt & pepper. Pass the lox, please! Know in advance that these are a labor of love, as they do take a little bit of time and preparation. But you won't be sorry! And if you live outside of New York City or Palm Beach, Florida - you're unlikely to find these at your corporate bagel chain. This recipe has an interesting technique for achieving a chewy crust, but an option is given for doing this the ho-hum boring way, too. NOTE: TIME DOES NOT INCLUDE OVERNIGHT RISING AND OTHER RESTING TIME!!!"

Original recipe yields 16 servings


  • Serving Size: 1 (94.3 g)
  • Calories 173.2
  • Total Fat - 3.7 g
  • Saturated Fat - 0.5 g
  • Cholesterol - 0 mg
  • Sodium - 458.2 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate - 31.5 g
  • Dietary Fiber - 4.7 g
  • Sugars - 0.6 g
  • Protein - 5.9 g
  • Calcium - 43.8 mg
  • Iron - 1.7 mg
  • Vitamin C - 0.7 mg
  • Thiamin - 0.2 mg

Step 1

Make the poolish starter: Mix the three ingredients together in medium bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature overnight (anywhere from 8 – 24 hours).

Step 2

Make the bialy dough by dissolving the yeast and warm water in a bowl or glass measuring cup. Stir and let set until it starts to foam (about 5 minutes).

Step 3

While the yeast proofs, place both flours in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Stir the two ingredients together for a minute to blend.

Step 4

Add the room temperature water, the proofed yeast water and all of the poolish starter to the flour and turn the mixer on to low. Stir until all the ingredients start to form a dough.

Step 5

Turn the mixer up to medium high and knead the dough for 5 minutes. Add the salt and knead for 1 more minute to incorporate.

Step 6

Remove the bowl from the mixer and cover it with plastic wrap. At this point you can either let it sit at room temperature for 2 hours to rise, or you can refrigerate the dough overnight for a slow rise.

Step 7

Line three 13 x 18 baking pans with parchment paper and dust with cornmeal, semolina flour or all-purpose flour.

Step 8

Once the dough has risen (either method) remove it from the bowl and roll it out into a log on a clean floured surface. Using well-floured hands, pinch off an 85 g (3 oz) piece of dough, roughly the size of a large tangerine. Flatten the piece of dough and pinch the center of the disk so the middle has a depression. Place on the baking sheet and continue with the remaining dough, five or six to a sheet.

Step 9

Once you’ve formed all the bialys, cover the dough with plastic wrap and let rise for an hour at room temperature.

Step 10

Meanwhile, place the olive oil in a medium pan and heat the oil until it starts to shimmer. Add the onions and cook until they soften and they turn golden. Remove from heat and let cool.

Step 11

Once the bialys have risen, preheat the oven to 450˚F. Remove the plastic wrap and spoon roughly 1 tablespoon of onions into the middle of each bialy. Sprinkle each bialy with a pinch of kosher salt as well as poppy and sesame seeds, if using. Sprinkle each with a pinch of fresh ground pepper as well if using.

Step 12

Move the bialys close to the center of the pan and to each other. Place the 9 x 13 baking pan upside down over the bialys, covering them completely and then put a heavy brick on top of the pan. (see the optional baking method at the end of these instructions).

Step 13

Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and remove the brick and 9 x 13 baking pan. Place the bialys back in the oven and bake an additional 5-8 minutes or until the edges of the bialys turn golden brown.

Step 14

Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes before moving bialys to a wire cooling rack. Repeat with the remaining uncooked bialys.

Step 15

Eat immediately or within a day. Freeze any remaining bialys as they don’t keep well at room temperature past the first day.

Step 16

*OPTIONAL BAKING INSTRUCTIONS: Heat a pizza stone in the oven. Place the prepared bialys on the stone and bake for 12-15 minutes at 450 degrees.

Tips & Variations

  • Stand mixer with dough hook
  • 13 x 18 shallow baking pan
  • Parchment paper
  • 9 x 13 baking pan
  • Brick