Onion Bialys

June  9, 2016
4 Ratings
Photo by Linda Xiao
  • Prep time 30 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour
  • Makes 12 bialys
Author Notes

I had never had a bialy until I was about 18 years old—and then I ate enough to make up for the 18 years I'd been missing out. Soft and chewy dough stuffed with plenty of caramelized onions and a hefty layer of melty cheese—they're crazy-super-good. —Erin Jeanne McDowell

What You'll Need
  • 1 Sponge:
  • 2 cups (8.50 ounces) bread flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1 g) active dry yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups (10.00 ounces) room-temperature water
  • 1 Caramelized Onions:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large sweet onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 dash Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 Bialy Dough:
  • 5 1/2 cups (23.50 ounces) bread flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1 g) active dry yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2 g) kosher salt
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (9.00 ounces) warm water
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp white cheddar
  1. First, make the sponge: In a medium bowl, stir the flour and yeast to combine. Make a well in the center, add the water, and mix with a wooden spoon until it's homogenous—it may look a bit shaggy, but should be fully combined. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to ferment at room temperature for 1 hour. There should be plenty of bubbles on the surface when it's done!
  2. While the sponge ferments, start to caramelize the onions for the filling: Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions to the pan and reduce the heat to low. Cook slowly, stirring occasionally, until the onions become golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside to cool.
  3. While the onions cook, make the dough: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, mix the bread flour, yeast, and salt to combine, 15 seconds.
  4. Add the sponge and the water and mix on low speed for 2 minutes. Raise speed to medium and mix for 7 minutes more. Transfer the dough to a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise until nearly doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  5. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide the dough into 12 even pieces. Gently stretch each piece into an oval shape, then transfer to the prepared baking sheets—6 on each sheet. Use your fingers to press the center of each piece of dough to flatten it; you're trying to make a cavity for the filling, with the outsides being a little thicker, kind of like pizza crust!
  6. Cover the trays with greased plastic wrap and let rise for 30 to 45 minutes. Preheat the oven to 475° Fahrenheit.
  7. Scoop 2 to 3 tablespoons of caramelized onions into the center of each piece of dough. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of cheese on top of each piece.
  8. Bake the bialys until they're golden at the base and around the edges—the cheese should be melty and golden too—about 16 to 20 minutes. Cool at least 15 minutes before serving.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Nicole Otis
    Nicole Otis
  • Erin Jeanne McDowell
    Erin Jeanne McDowell
I always have three kinds of hot sauce in my purse. I have a soft spot for making people their favorite dessert, especially if it's wrapped in a pastry crust. My newest cookbook, Savory Baking, came out in Fall of 2022 - is full of recipes to translate a love of baking into recipes for breakfast, dinner, and everything in between!

2 Reviews

Nicole O. June 13, 2016
I've never had one of these before making the recipe yesterday. I followed the recipe with the exception of using AP flour. Everything rose however the texture of the roll is heavy and dense. Any ideas on how I could improve? What is the texture of the roll supposed to be like? I appreciate it!
Erin J. June 14, 2016
Using all purpose flour instead of bread flour will make a big difference - the two flours hydrate differently and also have different protein contents, which contribute to the final texture of the bialy. A good bialy will have texture a bit like a bagel, but without the chewy exterior - the outside will be lightly crusty, but the whole thing will be pretty soft!