They get their name from where they originated in the city of Białystok in north-eastern Poland. They are best eaten the day they are baked (even better warm) and spread with cream cheese or butter.
These deliciously chewy flat round rolls topped with salted onion and poppy seeds are completely addictive.
- 500 ml (2 cups) lukewarm water
- 7 g (1 sachet) instant dried yeast
- 2 tsp caster sugar
- 450 g (3 cups) strong bread or pizza flour, plus extra to dust
- 340 g (2¼ cups) plain flour
- 3 tsp fine salt
- olive oil, to grease
Onion and poppy seed topping
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium brown onion, finely diced
- ½ tsp fine salt
- 2 tbsp poppy seeds
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Proving time: 3¼ hours
1. Combine 60 ml (¼ cup) of the lukewarm water with the yeast, sugar and 2 tablespoons of the bread flour in a small bowl and use a fork to whisk to combine. Set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 5 minutes or until the mixture is frothy.
2. Combine the remaining bread flour, plain flour and salt in a large bowl. Combine the yeast mixture with the remaining water, add to the flour mixture and use a wooden spoon and then your hands to mix to a soft dough.
3. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes or until it is smooth and elastic and springs back when you push your finger into it (see Baker’s tips).
4. Brush a large bowl with olive oil to grease. Add the dough turning it to coat lightly with olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm, draught-free place for 1½ hours or until doubled in size.
5. When the dough has doubled in size knock it back by punching it in the centre with your fist. Recover with plastic wrap and place in a warm, draught-free place for 60 minutes or until doubled in size again.
6. Line 2 large oven trays with non-stick baking paper. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly to bring the dough together. Divide the dough evenly into 8 equal portions and shape each into a ball. Use your hands to press, pinch and stretch a ball of dough into a disc about 12 cm in diameter and 1 cm thick. Repeat with the remaining balls of dough, placing them on the lined oven trays about 4 cm apart. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm, draft-free place for 30 minutes or until risen by about half their volume.
7. Preheat the oven to 210°C (190°C fan-forced). Meanwhile, to make the onion and poppy seed topping, place the olive oil, onion and salt in a small frying pan over medium heat and cook for 8-10 minutes until the onion is soft and starts to become golden. Remove from the heat.
8. Use lightly floured fingertips to make an indent in the centre of the dough discs, leaving a 2 cm border around the outside. Spoon the onion mixture into the indents, dividing evenly, and then sprinkle with the poppy seeds. Cover with a slightly damp tea towel and set aside in a warm draught-free place for 15 minutes or until slightly puffed.
9. Bake in preheated oven for 12-14 minutes or until lightly golden and cooked through (see Baker’s tips). Serve warm or at room temperature, spread with cream cheese or butter.
• You can also knead the bread dough in step 2 in an electric stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Knead on lowest possible speed for 5-6 minutes or until smooth, elastic and the dough has come away from the sides of the bowl and the bowl is clean.
• Over-baking the bialy will cause them to become dry, so make sure you remove them from the oven as soon as they are baked through.
• These Bialy are best eaten the day they are made however they do freeze well. Seal in a freezer-proof plastic bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature and reheat by wrapping individually in foil and placing in an oven preheated to 160°C (140°C fan-forced) for 10 minutes or until heated through. Serve warm.
Photography by Alan Benson. Styling by Sarah O'Brien. Food preparation by Nick Banbury. Creative concept by Belinda So.
This recipe is part of our Bakeproof: Jewish column. Read tips on how to bake the perfect Bundt cake in her column.
View previous Bakeproof columns and recipes here.
Anneka's mission is to connect home cooks with the magic of baking, and through this, with those they love. For hands-on baking classes and baking tips, visit her at BakeClub. Don't miss what's coming out of her oven via Facebook,Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.