Classic Bialys

Recipe by Emily Teel

This recipe comes to us courtesy of Philadelphia-based food writer, Emily Teel. She shared that when she thinks of her dad's early adventures in baking, these bialys are what first comes to mind. Chewy, with just the right amount of onion filling, they freeze and reheat well, too.

45 mins
8 to 10 mins
10 hrs
12 bialys
Classic Bialys


Prevent your screen from going dark as you follow along.
  1. To make the dough: Weigh your flour; or measure it by gently spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess. Combine the flour, salt, yeast, and onion powder in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a beater attachment. Switch to a dough hook, add the water and mix until just combined, 1 or 2 minutes at low speed. Stop the mixer, cover the bowl, and let sit for 20 minutes.

  2. After this rest, uncover the bowl and continue kneading at medium speed for 8 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic.

  3. Cover and refrigerate the dough (in an oiled bowl if desired) overnight for a slow, cool rise that will develop the dough's flavor.

  4. Next day, divide the dough into 12 pieces (they'll weigh just under 4 ounces each) and round each into a ball. Place on a lightly oiled baking sheet, cover with greased plastic, and let rise at room temperature for 1 hour, or until puffy.

  5. Preheat the oven to 475°F.

  6. To make the filling: Pulse the onion in a food processor until very finely chopped, but not liquid. Mix in the poppy seed, salt, and pepper. Heat the oil in a saucepan and cook the onion mixture for a few minutes over medium-low heat until the liquid cooks off and the onion is very slightly caramelized. Remove from the heat and cool.

  7. To shape and bake: Lightly sprinkle 2 baking sheets with farina or cornmeal. Take each dough ball and stretch it into a bagel shape about 6" to 7" in diameter, without puncturing the center, and leaving a wide, flat indentation where the hole would be. Place a few inches apart on the prepared baking sheets, 6 per pan. Place a scant teaspoon of the onion filling in the indentation and spread it out with your fingers. Don't overfill; a little goes a long way.

  8. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until light golden brown. Remove the bialys from the oven and serve warm; or cool on a rack and save for toasting later.

Tips from our Bakers

  • Resist the temptation to be generous with the onions: the moisture in them can keep the center of the bialy from cooking at the same speed as the edges, causing the center to puff up like a topknot.