Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Bialys | bee-AH-lee (chewy rolls topped with caramelized onions)

Say hello to Bagel's cousin, The Bialy (pronounced bee-AH-lee)! Isn't the name cute? :) Oh I loved the name, the first time I read it!! Though these fellows look like a bagel (or a doughnut too!), it is quite different from them. A Bialy is round chewy baked yeast roll with a depressed middle, not a hole, and typically filled with cooked onions and sometimes poppy seeds. Bialys are originally created by the Polish, who migrated to New York and settled there popularising it as the New York Bialys. 

It really amazes me how there are like a zillion different techniques out there in bread baking across the world! Each bread has its own unique shaping and baking process and that's what makes bread baking absolutely fun! :)
Yes, the process of shaping these bialys was a joy. And as always, its a feeling of absolute bliss seeing a bread rise as they bake in the oven and finally digging into the freshly baked goodie... oh my my! :D These make for a great meal, as is. You could slather on some butter on them, if you like. Or you could also top up your bialys with paneer or cheese. I loved them the way they are... you can figure, I couldn't resist them as I clicked away these pictures :D :D

Adapted from: King Arthur Flour and My Diverse Kitchen
Makes: 8 large Bialys
Prep Time: 2-3 hrs
  • Dough preparation: 10 minutes
  • First rise: 1 - 1.5 hrs
  • Second rise: 1 - 1.5 hrs
Shaping and baking: 30 mins


For the dough:
Instant yeast - 1 tsp
Sugar - 1tbsp
Water - 1 1/4 cup
All-purpose flour - 3 cups
Salt - 1 tsp
Milk for brushing the dough

For the Onion Filling:
Oil - 1 tbsp
Onions - 3 medium, finely chopped
Cumin seeds - 1 1/2 tsp
Garam masala - 3/4 tsp
Salt to taste


Making the dough:
  • Proof the yeast by putting the yeast in a glass along with sugar and warm water. Allow it to rest for a couple of minutes until it turns frothy.
  • Now, in a large mixing bowl, take flour, salt and the yeast mixture and knead to a fine dough, until it is smooth and elastic but not sticky.
  • Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a well-oiled bowl. Cover and let it rise till about double. This should take about 1 hour.
Note: If you’re not making the Bialys right away, you can refrigerate the dough overnight at this point. When ready to make them, keep the dough at room temperature for about half an hour and then proceed with the rest of the recipe.
Preparing the filling:
  • In the meanwhile, make the filling. Heat the oil in a pan, and add the cumin seeds. When the crackle, add the onions, and saute over low to medium heat. Sprinkle a little salt and continue sauteing until they become soft and turn golden brown in colour. Add the garam masala and stir well. Keep the caramelised onions aside to cool.
Rolling the dough:
  • Once the dough has risen to double its volume, punch out the air bubble.
  • Sprinkle your work surface lightly with flour and place the risen dough on it. Make a rough log out of the dough and divide it into 8 equal pieces.
  • Roughly flatten out each piece with your hands and form a dough ball by pinching the ends together.
  • Now turn the ball over and using your palm, roll it into a smooth ball by working it into rounds by on your work floor. (Here is a video to help you understand this better)
  • Place these smooth rolls on a lightly greased baking tray and cover them with a towel. Let them rise for about one hour (about  1 1/2 to 2 hours for refrigerated dough)  till pressing with a finger on the top leaves a dent.
Shaping  and baking the Bialys:
  • When the rolls are ready, pick them up one at a time and using your fingers, form the depression in the middle taking care not to press the edges, or they will flatten out.
  • Hold the roll like a steering wheel with your thumbs in the middle and your fingers around the edges. Pinch the dough between your thumb and fingers, rotating as you go and gradually making the depression wider without actually poking a hole through.
  • Prick the centre of the Bialy with a fork so the centre doesn’t rise when baking.  
  • Place the shaped dough on a greased baking tray leaving about 2 inches space between them.
  • Place the caramelised onion filling in the depressions of each Bialy.
  • Brush the outer dough circle with milk.
  • Bake the Bialys at 200C for about 10-15 minutes till they’re golden brown in colour.
  • Cool them on a rack. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.
Bialys taste best the same day that they are made. If eating the next day, warm it up in the microwave for a few seconds and then enjoy them. Traditional bialys call for caramelised onion filling, but there is no stopping you from going creative with the filling of your choice :)


  1. Yummy yummy...Love to taste this!

  2. Ah! The Bialys look really lovely, well baked with a pocket of caramelized onions. I loved your baking glove and the black and white picture with a coloured bialy

  3. looks like a wonderful snack :) its been ages since i visited u, hope all is good

  4. Looks yum and tempting..love the caramelised onion topping

  5. That looks super yum and perfectly made!!!

  6. Such a lovely batch of Bialys, love the onion filling

  7. Truly delicious...Such tempting clicks :)

  8. Wow, that looks simply too good. Very well done...I loved mine as well ;-)