Sourdough Bialys (with Video)

Sourdough Bialys get a boost of flavor and special texture from active sourdough starter.

a sourdough bialy on a white plate

If you’ve ever had a true Bialy, you know it’s not just a bagel without the hole in the middle. Bialys are not boiled, so the crust is crisper than the crust of a bagel. Onion and poppy seed filling is the classic topping for a great bialy.

If you don’t already have one, I can show you how to make a sourdough starter and how to feed a sourdough starter.

A timeline for making Sourdough Bialys

  • If your starter needs feeding, do that the night before or early in the morning of the day you want to make the dough.
  • Mix the dough in the afternoon. Allow it to ferment at room temperature all day.
  • While the dough ferments, make the filling and refrigerate.
  • In the evening, shape the bialys. Place them on a sheet pan and refrigerate before going to bed.
  • Take the bialys out first thing in the morning.
  • While they’re still cold, reshape the bialys, if needed, and transfer to sheet pans sprinkled with cornmeal.
  • Cover the bialys and leave them at room temperature to rise for 1 – 1 1/2 hours. Meanwhile, preheat the oven.
  • Spoon the filling onto the bialys and bake.

Watch the recipe video to see exactly how to make Sourdough Bialys

a basket of sourdough bialys

FAQs about Sourdough Bialys:

Can I bake the bialys the same day I make the dough?

Yes, start the dough early in the morning and skip the refrigeration step.

How do I serve sourdough bialys?

For breakfast I like to slice a fresh bialy and spread with butter or cream cheese. If the bialy is not fresh I toast it (you may loose a little filling in the toaster). For lunch, bialys make the best tuna sandwiches

How long do Sourdough Bialys stay fresh?

Sourdough bialys keep for 1-2 days at room temperature, but they’re best the day they’re baked.

Can I freeze Sourdough Bialys?

Yes! Slice each bialy almost all the way through. Store in a freezer bag for up to 3 months.

How do I re-heat the bialys?

You can toast the sliced bialys or defrost then rewarm briefly in the oven.

a slice sourdough bialy on a plate showing the interior crumb

You might also like these similar recipes: Bialys made with yeast, Sourdough Bagels, and New York Style Bagels.

I know you hate to throw away that sourdough discard. Check out these recipes that use sourdough discard.

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

a sourdough bialy on a white plate
Print Recipe
4.85 from 13 reviews

Sourdough Bialy Recipe

If you've ever had a true Bialy, you know it's not just a bagel without the hole in the middle. Bialys are not boiled, so the crust is crisper than the crust of a bagel. Best of all, a Sourdough Bialys gets a boost of flavor and a special texture from the sourdough starter
Prep Time30 minutes
Bake Time10 minutes
Rising Time12 hours
Total Time12 hours 40 minutes
10 servings
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  • 8 oz active sourdough starter (1 cup, 100% hydration)
  • 10 oz warm water (1 ¼ cups)
  • 17 ½ oz bread flour (3 ½ cups, see note)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons table salt


  • 1 oz unsalted butter
  • ½ cup minced onion
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • pepper to taste


For the Dough

  • Combine 8 oz active sourdough starter with 10 oz warm water and 2 cups of the flour in the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl. Mix to form a thick batter. Cover the bowl and set aside for 30-60 minutes.
  • Add 2 teaspoons sugar and 2 teaspoons table salt. Switch to the dough hook. Add the remaining flour and mix to combine. The dough should eventually cling to the hook and start to clear the sides of the bowl. If the dough is still a little sticky sprinkle in a little more flour, just a tablespoon at a time.
  • Knead 5 minutes on medium speed. If working by hand, stir in as much of the flour as you can, then turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead in the remaining flour. Knead 5 minutes. Form the dough into a smooth ball.
  • Put the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat the dough. Cover the bowl and set it aside at room temperature.
  • After 60 minutes uncover the bowl, lift one side of the dough and fold it into the middle of the dough. Repeat with the other three sides of the dough then flip the dough over. You're basically turning the dough inside-out to redistribute the yeast. Cover the bowl after 60 minutes repeat the procedure again. Cover the bowl and after 60 minutes the dough should be ready to shape. Total fermentation time is about 3 hours. By now the dough should be lively, elastic and airy. If the dough is still sluggish give it another hour or two at room temperature. 
  • Meanwhile, make the filling.

For the filling

  • Melt1 oz 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 1 tablespoon poppy seeds. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside to cool. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Shape the Bialys

  • Generously flour a parchment-lined baking sheet. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface without kneading. Divide the dough into 10 equal portions. Roll each portion to a ball.
  • Pick up a piece of dough. Pinch the dough and gently pull to form a 4" disc. Set each bialy onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving 2" between for room to rise. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and place the pan in the refrigerator overnight.
  • In the morning, take the pan out of the refrigerator. Generously sprinkle two baking sheets with corn meal. (see note)
  • Working carefully not to deflate the dough, pick up a bialy and gently re-stretch to about 4" around. Use your fingers to form a depression in the middle of each bialy. Set each bialy onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving 2" between them. Place 5 bialys onto each pan,
  • Cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap and set aside to rise for about 1 hour. The bialys will not double in size, but they should be noticeably lighter and increase about 50%. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450 °F.
  • Spoon a teaspoon of filling into the middle of each bialy and gently push to reform the dimple in the middle. Bake until lightly browned, about 20 minutes.
  • Serve slightly warm or room temperature.

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If measuring the flour by volume use the “dip & sweep” method. That is, dip the measuring cup into the flour bin, overfill it, then sweep away the excess.
If you only have 1 baking sheet you can put all the bialys onto the same pan. They edges may bake together a little, but they should be ok. They tend to rise more up than out.


Serving: 1bialy | Calories: 231kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 6mg | Sodium: 585mg | Potassium: 69mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 72IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 24mg | Iron: 1mg
Have you tried this recipe?Mention @eileen.bakingsense or tag #bakingsense!

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Recipe Rating


  1. I’m revving up to make these a second time because they came out terrific the first time. The onion-poppy seed mix in the center makes them extra special and delicious.

  2. Love this recipe. My bialy turned out a little more puffy that’s those you’d find in NYC, but the flavour was spot on.

    Quick question, what is the purpose of making the thick batter at the start? Is that equivalent of an autolysis step? I’ve make these both with and without that step and didn’t notice a difference in dough strength.

    Anyway, super happy to have found this. Bialy in Ireland is a real treat.

  3. You bialy video and the recipe above are different. In the recipe 10 balls (not12) are made and they are shaped BEFORE refrigerating. Which do you suggest as making them? Thanks

    1. Not sure why you think there were 12 balls made in the video. You can see the sheet pan with 5 bialys (there were 2 pans). In the recipe it says to shape them BEFORE refrigerating. Then in the morning you stretch them a bit before putting in the filling. The video accurately reflects the recipe.

    2. @Eileen Gray, my apologies. Because of you I am a star!! Water boiled SOURDOUGH bagels AND real SOURDOUGH bialys. What could be better?!?!?
      And your recipe for starter work s like a charm

  4. Great recipe. I flubbed the first part and added everything (sugar, salt, starter, and all the flour) in the first step. Still turned out great. This will probably work as a pizza dough too!

  5. OK, this recipe is FANTASTIC, but I did make one small change – I added 1/2 tsp onion powder when I added the sugar and salt. I was looking at 2 recipes at the same time and the other recipe called for it. Its addition makes these even more sublime. ALSO, the 2nd time I made them I made 1/2 of them with the filling that’s in this and the other 1/2 I stirred in about 1 tsp of everything bagel seasoning. Delish. XO

    1. If you are running an ad blocker the video won’t play. Turn off your ad blocker and you should see the video.

  6. The dough was wet and sticky even though I kept to the measurements – using grams instead of cups where grams were indicated. Even after the initial stretch and fold steps the dough never gathered strength, nevertheless I persisted. No visible rising after the overnight proof in refrigerator and dough stuck to the floured parchment paper. Slight rise in the oven, but finished product can be used as a doorstop. Very disappointing.

    1. Do you use a 100% hydration starter? Was it well fed and active? The condition of the starter can make all the difference.

  7. I just made those. Very good! This is the first time ever when my dough shaped nicely, wasn’t too runny, it rose beautifully and was billowy just like it is supposed to be. It also didn’t take long time at all!
    I made a mistake and did not flatten those before baking. So, in the oven they rose right in the middle, pushing the onions away. They don’t look like bialys, but, hey – still delicious and we’ll eat them anyway!
    Thanks for the great recipe!

  8. hi, you say to add 490 g of bread flour, or 3.5 cups. but 3.5 cups of bread flour is actually equal to 420 grams of bread flour! how much should it be?

    1. The weight of a cup of flour is not an absolute. The weight depends on how you fill the cup. I use the “dip and sweep” method to fill the cup and get 5oz per cup. Multiplied out 3.5 cups = 17.5 oz x 28g per ounce = 490g. If you fill the cup by spooning in the flour you will have more air in the cup and so it will weigh less. So the amount of flour in this recipe should be 490g.

      1. Appreciate this question…especially since I ran out of BF and am supplementing with KA AP. Going for a total of 488 grams combined. Let’s see how it goes!

      2. @Lisa Espenshade, How much KAAP did you use? I don’t have bread flour, and wonder how the substitution went. Thanks!

    1. I put pesto and Parmesan cheese on a few. I also made a few with shredded Gouda and a little pepperoni.

  9. This recipe is incredible! We moved from NY to Colorado 5 years ago and thought we’d never eat bialys again. I was so excited to find this recipe and absolutely thrilled with the results. I followed the recipe with no adjustments and the bialys were just like the ones I loved in NY. They were perfect…even at our altitude of 7500ft! Thank you