Bialy | Bialy Recipe | Eat the Love (2024)

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It’s time for the bialy, the cousin to the bagel, to get some glory. This easy bialy recipe, with a secret baking tip, will impress your jaded NY friends!

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True confession time, though I absolutely adore making chewy yeasted pretzel buns, crumpets, and English muffins, but I’ve never made a bialy before making this recipe. The under-appreciated sibling to the ubiquitious bagel, I was unaware of it’s existence until I came across an article on Bon Appetit’s site praising it as the new King of Carbs in their article on Restaurant trends of 2014. I’m not one to jump on trends but once I started digging into what they were, I was sold. I needed to get ahold of one, or better yet make one myself. Turns out they’re easier to make than bagels because you don’t need to boil them ahead of time, and when filled with onions and seeds, just as good (if not slightly better, depending on your point of view). So it look like my bialy recipe is now going to be in regular rotation here in our home!

What’s the difference between a bialy and bagel?

If you never had a bialy, or aren’t familiar with them, most bialys look and are described as a bagel but without the familiar hole in the middle, instead a depression filled with onions. Of course hardcore bialy fans will disagree and say they are nothing like the bagel, which are boiled and have a shiny crust and dense crumb. My friend Pat claims that as a purist the bialy only has onions and nothing else, but all the recipes I found online, also had poppy seeds and a few sesame seeds as well. I’m a maximalist when it comes to food so I made sure to load mine up with lots of onions, sesame seeds and poppy seeds as well as a generous sprinkling of salt. I may or may not have added a dash of ground black pepper – but don’t tell anyone, as that’s OBVIOUSLY stepping over the line there.

Once my partner AJ Instagrammed & Facebooked the resulting bialys, our friends seemed to approve. My brother-in-law specifically stated “they look pretty good” which is high praise coming from a native New Yorker. Pat quibbled about the seeds but otherwise was jealous of them. And David, author of the book The Culture of Tough Jews exclaimed that he loved them! Well actually he wrote that he loved bialys but I’m going to go with it and say he loved mine. Excuse me while I go have another…

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5 from 2 votes

Bialy Recipe

The neglected bialy is getting it’s heyday recently with appearances in places outside their usual NYC residence like San Francisco’s Wise Son’s Deli as well as showing up on articles about new restaurant food trends. But a bialy isn’t just a bagel with some onions thrown into it, it’s a delicious creature all it’s own. With a center depression (but no hole) and a direct bake in the oven (without boiling them first like you do with bagels), bialys make a great savory breakfast or pretty much any time of day snack option. Traditionalists will probably quibble with the poppy and sesame seeds and be slightly horrified that I add a dash of black pepper as well. Feel free to use whole wheat or white whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose flour to give the bialy a little more bite of flavor, but these will be awesome with just plain all-purpose.

One more thing about my recipe, traditional bialys are made in commercial kitchens where ovens can be cranked really high. The resulting steam released and trapped in the commercial ovens helps to form a crust. Chef Elizabeth Falkner actually prefers to make hers with a wood-fired oven which can get even higher in temperature. Being a mere mortal at home with my cheap-o oven that came with my rental apartment, I resorted to a simple home baking trick. Take a metal 9 x 13 inch baking pan (the sort you make brownies in) and turn it upside down and place a brick, cast iron skillet or heavy oven-proof pot on top. The weight of the brick or skillet traps the steam from the dough inside the pan, which in turn makes for a great chewy crust. It’s a similar trick to using the Dutch oven to make artisan bread (which is what inspired me to come up with this method). However if you find the baking pan and brick too fussy, you can just skip it, but I think it really does make a difference in the final product. We’re talking bakery style bialy results folks with this method! To make this recipe you need to create a poolish starter the day before you make the bialys. Keep this in mind when planning.

Course Appetizer, Breakfast

Cuisine American, Jewish

Keyword bagel, baking, bialy, jewish, yeast

Prep Time 35 minutes minutes

Cook Time 25 minutes minutes

Resting Time 10 hours hours

Total Time 1 hour hour

Servings 16

Calories 120kcal

Author Irvin


Poolish Starter

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 70 g
  • 1/3 cup water room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon active yeast not fast acting

Bialy Dough

  • 1/2 teaspoon active yeast not fast acting
  • 1/4 cup warm water between 105°-110°F
  • 3 cups bread flour 480 g
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour 280 g (you can also substitute the same amount whole wheat or white whole wheat flour if you’d like)
  • 2 cups water room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt Diamond brand preferred, if using other brand, use 1/2 tablespoon


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil extra virgin
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped about 1 cup
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds optional
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds optional
  • additional salt and pepper to taste

To Bake

  • cornmeal, semolina flour or extra all-purpose flour to dust bottom of pan


  • Make the poolish starter by mixing all three of those ingredients together in medium bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature overnight (anywhere from 8 – 24 hours).

  • 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). 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. 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. 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.

  • 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. Line three 13 x 18 baking pans with parchment paper and dust with cornmeal, semolina flour or all-purpose flour. 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 (think large golf ball or small baseball). 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.

    Bialy | Bialy Recipe | Eat the Love (5)

  • Once you’ve formed all the bialys, cover the dough with plastic wrap and let rise for an hour at room temperature. In the 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. 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. Move the bialys close to the center of the pan and to each other.

    Bialy | Bialy Recipe | Eat the Love (6)

  • Place the 9 x 13 baking pan upside down over the bialys, covering them completely and then put a heavy brick, cast iron skillet or heavy oven proof pot on top of the pan.

    Bialy | Bialy Recipe | Eat the Love (7)

  • 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. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes before moving bialys to the wire cooling rack. Repeat with the remaining uncooked bialys. Eat immediately or within a day. Freeze any remaining bialys as they don’t keep well at room temperature past the first day.



Calories: 120kcal

Reader Interactions


  1. Lindsey @ American Heritage Cooking says

    I will definitely be showing the Bialy some love! It actually sounds even easier to make than a bagel. I love your trick with the baking pan for getting a chewy crust! I’m sold! Now where to find a brick…


    • Irvin says

      You can use a cast iron skillet or another heavy oven proof pan if you want! I just used a brick because I had one in the kitchen (and it’s kind of cool looking to use). Basically you just need something to weight down the pan so the moisture gets trapped in it…


      • Lindsey @ American Heritage Cooking says

        Duh! I use my cast iron skillet instead of a brick to press down grilled chicken, why not a pan in the oven!? Thanks!


  2. claudia harris says

    As a kid in Chicago, Kauffman’s Bagel Bakery, right behind the Catholic church, was always packed on sunday mornings. Fasting before communion in those days, occasionally we splurged on a treat after mass. My pick was always the onion bialy–with poppy seeds!


  3. Amy @ What Jew Wanna Eat says

    Irvin, as an East Coaster and I Jew, I have to say these look great! I’ve got a bialy recipe going up on my blog in the next few weeks. I topped mine with cream cheese and lox of course!


  4. Ariel says

    They have pretty good bialys at beauty’s bagels in Oakland. (They are the bagels that are supplied to wise sons deli)


  5. Holly says

    I am so glad that you are a maximalist. That’s why I love your recipes so much! And thank you for introducing me to the bialy.


  6. Marisa Franca @ All Our Way says

    Au contraire mon ami!! Nothing could beat a bagel for breakfast — we love the chew and the tough crumb. BUT!! we’ve never made a homemade bialy. We had one from a bagel store in Venice Florida and it was nothing to brag about. SO! I am printing out your recipe and we’ll be taking the challenge to see what we like better. The think is we have natural peanut butter with our bagel — I can’t see us putting peanut butter on a bialy first thing in the morning. I better so rinse off the garden snails off the brick I’m going to use 🙂


    • Irvin says

      Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE a good bagel for breakfast. Smeared with cream cheese and a little jam, it’s awesome. But the bialy is nice changed of pace. It’s pretty chewy as well, with the use of the bread flour, so don’t worry about not having your jaw ache. It’ll give you a good work out too!


  7. Christine at Cook the Story says

    Relative of the bagel or not, I just think these look downright delicious!


  8. Patricia Shea says

    I love bialy’s – thanks so much for the recipe and brick trick – I’ll be making them soon!


    • Anne says

      I love bialys but I can’t find them often, even in delis. Thanks for the recipe. I don’t think my kids have even tasted one!


  9. Scott_D says

    Every trip to NYC it seems it’s harder and harder to find bialys. My last trip I never did find a good one. So, I’ve been collecting recipes. Still haven’t made them, but I’ll get around to it. It’s good to see this post, might prompt me to get it done.


  10. Jennifer says

    I really love bagels for their chewiness. However, I do have a partial bag of white whole wheat flour I’d like to use up.


    • Irvin says

      These are pretty chewy as well. Just not as dense as a bagel. The bread flour really gives is a chew factor though! Feel free to come back and let me know what you think if you do make them!


  11. Miss Kim @ behgopa says

    I love bagels, but I seem to eat them like maybe twice a year. I don’t know why. These look tempting. Do you like to use any dipping sauce/spread for this? I want to try this recipe! But what if I don’t really want onions? It may be a standard item for this, but hmm…I wonder what would be a good substitute.


  12. Carla says

    Never heard of a bialy until this post, but anything with onions like this is a must-make in my book.


  13. Arthur in the Garden! says

    Yummy! I have always wanted to make these but was a afraid I would be come an addict~


  14. Nutmeg Nanny says

    Yes! It’s about time someone give some love to the bialy. It’s sorta weird the first time you see one – is it a bagel? Is it a roll? Is it a bagel pretending to be a roll because it’s confused about what it wants to be when it grows up? This recipe looks fantastic and I’m pumped to give it a try. Lord knows I need a reason to get some carby goodness in my house 🙂


  15. Shikha Kaiwar says

    I had DEF never heard about this til I read your post, and honestly, having a bread without a hole in the middle means more bread and I AM DOWN FOR THAT.


  16. Ken says

    Anyone knowledgeable in bialy making kindly email me as I have a few questions
    about it.



  17. Margi says

    This is the 2nd recipe today for these. I have questions as I have never eaten a Bialy but love breads. Are these soft, are they tough and chewy like a bagel do you cut them in half as someone said then what about the filling. They look wonderful but I am not a lover of bagels. Thanks for any answers you can give me. I have talked to at least 5 friends today both in my area and out and not one of us have heard of this but we are all interested.


    • Irvin says

      I’d say they are somewhere in between a bagel and a bread roll. Not quite as chewy and tough as a bagel (your jaw won’t ache like after you eat a bagel) but not quite as soft and fluffy as a bread roll.

      I usually eat them just as they are, but my partner does slice them lengthwise and makes them into sandwiches sometimes. They are kind of thin though so keep that in mind…


  18. Laura says

    I made these today. The taste just like real bialys! I have always loved bialys way more than bagels. The best ones are onion. I can’t believe these are so good, thanks for sharing.


  19. lyn says

    Happy to tell you that you can find wonderful bialy in Berkeley at the Cheese Board off University–call first as they make different goodies seemingly at whim everyday, each treat more wonderful than the last. We used to go every Saturday morning but my car died so that’s why I needed your recipe. Thank you and akin to Tartain, I know you’ll love the Cheese Board. Lyn


  20. elias altenberg says

    Good recipe, I noticed some people were questioning the brick. Could use something like this Norpro Ceramic Pie Bird, or another type of oven proof ceramic weight. I have a series of weights in my kitchen for weighing down meat and fish in brines and marinades as well as some for baking projects like this on. PS I don’t own the bird it was the just one of the searches that came up on amazon.


  21. Cuppie says

    I love a Mote Bialy. They are very small tasty treat. I sneak a few in my lunch box each day to take to work.


    • Anna says

      I find that if you have my Bialy motor-boated, or nuzzled aggressively, while curing that it lends itself to a much firmer dough.


  22. Carol Maendel says

    Hello and thank you for this recipe! I recently watched a cooking show I love and was intrigued by the bialy. I have never had one before and intend to make this recipe. I have a question, though. I know this is intended to be a savory treat, but would it be possible to do a sweet filling instead of the onions?


  23. janice laforest says

    oh My I have never had a bialy before and I ate one for the first time and I love them and I am going to make them today , I make homemade bread all the time but I am hooked on these . love love them..


  24. jamie davis says

    I just made this recipe, it came out fantastic. Way better than just placing dough in the oven, and better than the place I can get them locally. Awesome recipe.


    • Irvin says

      Yay! I’m so glad you liked them!


  25. Daniel says

    Hi – will bake times be the same if I forego the flipped over pan method? The bialy recipes I’ve seen across the internet call for shorter baking times, somewhere in the realm of 8-15 minutes, whereas your recipe is a few minutes longer. Do your extended bake times account for the bialys being covered for the 15 minutes ?
    I have been baking high-hydration, natural leaven bread in the cast iron combo cooker so have some experience with the effects of covering the item for the initial part of the bake. Just not too familiar with smaller, commercially yeasted items. Thank you for your help!


    • Irvin says

      Hi! You know I haven’t tested it without the flipped over pan method. But my guess is you might need less time. I liked flipping the pan over because it helps created a more caramelized crust, much like bread in the cast iron combo cooker. But since you aren’t baking with the flipped over pan, it should pretty easy to check. Bake them a little shorter in time total – say 15 to 20 minutes then test for doneness, the outside should be crusty and golden brown. If you have a instant read thermometer, the internal temperature should be around 190°F. Come back and let me know if it turns out for you and how you like it!


  26. Ri says

    Hi, Irvin,

    Can I use heavy cast iron frying pan instead of brick?


    • Irvin says

      Yes! Absolutely. You just want a heavy weight on top. So a cast iron frying pan would be perfect.


  27. MONICA says

    I have made these once and they were delicious! Learned about the bialy and grew a love for them in El Paso, TX at a bagel shop of all places. Go figure! My question today is, can I take this recipe all the way to forming them but then put them in the fridge overnight? Thought I could bring them to room temp, fill with onion mixture then bake. Has anyone tried this?


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Hey there! Thanks for visiting my blog. I'm Irvin Lin, a critically acclaimed cookbook author, IACP-Award winning photographer, IACP-nominated blogger, award winning baker, award winning former graphic designer, storyteller, recipe developer, writer and average joe bon vivant. I currently reside in San Francisco a block from Dolores Park and right near Tartine Bakery, Bi Rite Market & Creamery, and Delfina.

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