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Onion & Poppy Seed Bialys

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.

onion & poppy seed bialys

Born and raised in the New Jersey suburbs of New York City, I grew up enjoying New York specialties like Rye Bread, bagels, and the bagel’s lesser-known cousin, the Bialy.

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:

Onion & Poppy Seed Bialys

The bialy dough will start out “shaggy”.

Onion & Poppy Seed Bialys

The bialy dough should cling to the dough hook and clear the sides of the bowl.

Onion & Poppy Seed Bialys, before rising

The bialy dough before rising.

Onion & Poppy Seed Bialys, risen dough

The bialy dough after rising.

Sauteed onions and poppy seeds for the bialy filling.

Onion & Poppy Seed Bialys

Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces.

Onion & Poppy Seed Bialys, before rising & shaping

Set the dough aside to proof.

Onion & Poppy Seed Bialys, ready for shaping

The bialys are reading for shaping and baking.

Onion & Poppy Seed Bialys, shaping

Use your thumbs to make a well for the filling.

Onion & Poppy Seed Bialys

The bialys are ready for filling.

Onion & Poppy Seed Bialys, pop large air bubbles

Deflate any very large air bubbles that form of the surface.

Onion & Poppy Seed Bialys

Place a teaspoon of filling into each bialy

Onion & Poppy Seed Bialys, ready for the oven

The filled bialys go right into a 450°F oven.

Onion & Poppy Seed Bialys, hot from the oven

Bialys hot from the oven.

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. 

Onion & Poppy Seed Bialy

Onion & Poppy Seed Bialy

 
 

If you’ve got a Sourdough Starter, you make can Sourdough Bialys, Sourdough Rye Bread or Sourdough Bagels.

If you love this recipe as much as I do, I’d really appreciate a 5-star review.

Onion & Poppy Seed Bialy

Onion & Poppyseed Bialys

Yield: 12 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Rising Time: 2 hours
Bake Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 40 minutes

If you've ever had a true Bialy, you know it's not just a bagel without the 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 filling in the middle.

Ingredients

Dough

  • 1 3/4 cups (14 oz, 415 ml) warm water (110F)
  • 1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons, 7g) instant yeast
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 4 cups (20 oz, 566g) bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons table salt

Filling

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons poppy seeds
  • pepper to taste

Instructions

For the Dough

  1. Combine the water, yeast and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl. Add 2 cups of the bread flour and mix to form a thick batter.
  2. Switch to the dough hook if using a mixer. Add the 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.
  3. 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

  1. Melt the butter in a sauté pan. Add the minced onion and salt and sauté until the onions are soft and translucent, but not browned.
  2. Remove from the heat and add the poppy seeds. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Set aside to cool.

Shape the Bialys

  1. Generously flour a baking sheet.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Preheat the oven to 450°F. If you have a baking stone put it in the oven to preheat.
  5. Generously sprinkle a baking sheet with corn meal. If you are using the baking stone sprinkle a wooden peel with corn meal.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Bake until lightly browned, about 8-10 minutes.
  9. Cool before serving.

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