If you’ve ever had a true Bialy, you know it’s not just a bagel without a hole in the middle. Bialys are lighter than a bagel with an open crumb. Bialys are not boiled, so the crust is crisper than the crust of a bagel.
Best of all, a Bialy gets a boost of flavor from the onion & poppy seed filling in the middle.
I’ve never made Bialys at home, so I researched a number of Bialy recipes and created a dough that I was happy with. While the basic ingredients of a Bialy are similar to the ingredients in bagel dough, there is one key difference that make this a totally different bread than a bagel.
As soon as a bagel is shaped, it’s boiled, and then it’s baked. Since the bagel goes right into the water after shaping, it doesn’t get a big rise. A good bagel has a tight crumb and a dense texture. Also, the boiling step creates a shiny and chewy crust.
Bialys are not boiled and the shaping process maintains most of the air in the dough. So a Bialy has a lighter crumb and a matte, crisp crust.
Scroll through the step by step process photos to see how to make Bialys:
Since Bialys have a light crumb, I think they make a much better sandwich than a bagel does.
I like to slice a fresh-from-the-oven Bialy in half and eat it with lots of butter. You can spread the onion filling over the bottom half of the bialy before spreading on the butter.
Left over Bialys can be frozen. Unless eaten the same day, Bialys are best served toasted or briefly reheated in the oven.
If you love this recipe as much as I do, I’d really appreciate a 5-star review.
Onion & Poppyseed Bialys
- 14 oz warm water (1 ¾ cups)
- 2 ¼ teaspoons dry yeast
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 20 oz bread flour (4 cups, see note)
- 2 teaspoons table salt
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- ½ cup minced onion
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons poppy seeds
- pepper to taste
For the Dough
- Combine 14 oz warm water, 2 ¼ teaspoons dry yeast and 2 teaspoons granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl. Add 2 cups (10 oz) of the bread flour and mix to form a thick batter. Cover the bowl and set it aside for 30-60 minutes.
- Switch to the dough hook if using a mixer. Add 2 teaspoons table salt and remaining flour and mix until the dough clings to the hook and clears the sides of the bowl. If mixing by hand add flour until you can no longer stir, then turn the dough out onto a floured surface to finish by hand. Knead for 3-4 minutes to develop the dough.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead into a smooth ball. Set in a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat the surface of the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to rise until doubled in volume (1–1 ½ hours).
For the filling
- Melt 1 tablespoon unsalted butter in a sauté pan. Add ½ cup minced onion and ½ teaspoon salt and sauté until the onions are soft and translucent, but not browned.
- Remove from the heat and add 2 teaspoons poppy seeds. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside to cool.
Shape the Bialys
- Generously flour a baking sheet. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead to form a smooth ball. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions. Roll each portion to a ball.
- Line the dough balls up on the floured baking sheet, leaving 2″ between for room to rise. Cover the dough and set aside until almost doubled in volume, about 1 hour. When you poke the middle of the dough it should spring back slowly. If it bounces right back it’s not ready.
- Preheat the oven to 450 °F. If you have a baking stone put it in the oven to preheat.
- Generously sprinkle a baking sheet with corn meal. If you are using the baking stone sprinkle a wooden peel with corn meal.
- Working carefully not to deflate the dough, pick up a piece of dough. Use your thumbs to pinch the dough to form a depression in the middle of the ball and gently pull to form a 5" round. Set each bialy onto the prepared baking sheet or peel, leaving 1" between them.
- Spoon a teaspoon of filling into the middle of each bialy. If a large air bubble forms on the surface of the dough, poke or pinch to deflate.
- Bake until lightly browned, about 8-10 minutes. Cool before serving.
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