Monday, 3 June 2013

Bialys-Chewy rolls

Bialys(bee-ah-lee) was our bake for the month of May from the 'We Knead to Bake' group. This yeasted bake was unheard to almost all the members. Bialy, a Yiddish word short for bialystoker kuchen, from Bialystok(a city in Poland) is traditional to Polish cuisine. A traditional Bialy is a chewy yeast roll similar to a Bagel. Unlike A Bagel, which is boiled before baking and has a hole in the middle, Bialy is simply baked and has a depression in the middle filled with cooked onions and poppy seeds.
Bialys gets its signature chewiness from the use of bread flour which is high in gluten. Alternatively, vital wheat gluten may be added to all purpose flour. Since, I had neither I went ahead with just all purpose flour and the result was good. 
I was in the mood to experiment with a different filling so I used some leftover Keema matar from my fridge. I added some soya sauce to the caramelized onions to give that distinct colour and sprinkled white sesame seeds which gave an amazing slight crunchiness.

Recipe SourceKing Arthur Flour
Ingredients:I halved the recipe to get 4 Bialys

  • 1/2 tsp Instant yeast
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup+2 tbsp lukewarm water
  • 1 1/2 cup All purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Milk for brushing 
Caramelized Onions Filling:

  • 2 small onions, sliced
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • few drops of soya sauce
  • 1/2 tsp Vinegar
  • salt to taste
Keema matar Filling:

  • 50 gms Mutton mince/keema
  • a handful Peas
  • 1 clove
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1/2" cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 dried red chilly
  • 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 medium sized onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • a pinch of turmeric powder
  • a pinch of coriander powder
  • a pinch of garam masala powder
  • salt to taste


Put yeast, sugar, salt and flour in a bowl and mix. Add lukewarm water little by little and knead the dough till it comes together as a mass. 
Allow to rest for 10 mins.
Knead again till dough becomes smooth. If required add more flour/water.
Shape into a ball and place in a well oiled bowl, turning dough till coated properly. 
Cover with a damp muslin cloth and allow to rise till doubled in size for about 2 hrs.

Meanwhile make your filling

Caramelized Onion Filling:
Heat oil in a pan and add sliced onions with a pinch of salt. Lower the flame and let the onions cook stirring occasionally till they attain a brown colour. This is Caramelization where the sugar in the onions oxidizes resulting in a golden brown colour.
Add vinegar, soy sauce, sugar and stir well. 
Allow to cool.

Keema Matar Filling:
Take 1 tbsp oil in a pressure cooker and add clove, bay leaf, cumin seeds, dry red chilly, cinnamon stick. Add chopped onions and let it cook till they tun pink. Add ginger garlic paste, turmeric powder, salt, coriander powder and garam masala. Let it cook for some time and then add the washed and strained Keema. Cook for 5 mins on low flame. At this stage, if there is any water, dry it on medium high flame.
Add tomato puree and cook for another 5 mins on low flame. 
Add little water(2 tbsp) and close the lid of the pressure cooker. Cook for 2 whistles on medium high flame and then reduce the flame to low and cook for 10-15 mins.
Boil peas separately and add to the keema. Close the lid and let it absorb the flavours.
I like to boil peas separately to preserve their colour. You may add them to the keema before closing the lid too.

Bialy Dough: Sprinkle work surface lightly with flour and place the dough. 
Divide dough in 4 equal parts  and shape in a ball. 
Place them on a baking tray lined with aluminium foil and lightly greased.

Cover with a damp muslin cloth and allow to rise for an hour.

Work on one piece at a time, while others are covered. 
Pick them up one at a time and using your fingers, form the depression in the middle. 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.
Remember not to press on the edges, or they will flatten out. Once shaped, you should have a depression 3" in diameter with 1" of puffy dough all around.
The Bialy should be 4" in diameter.
Prick center of Bialy with a fork all over.

Put filling in each depression. I put caramelized onions in 2 and keema matar in the other 2. I sprinkled white Sesame seeds on the caramelized onion filling Bialy.
Brush outside circle with milk.

Bake at 230 degree celsius for 15-20 mins or till the Bialy browns well.
Allow to cool and serve.

They are best eaten on the same day. If eaten later, consider warming them up in the microwave.

Happy Bialy Eating


  1. Really happy bialy eating. Looks delicious n awesome.

  2. I haven't heard of Bialys either before I read your post. Now, I really wanted some because they look and sound amazing. I love the caramelized onion fillings, I adore onion like this and can never get enough. :) Thank you so much for sharing.

  3. Hi Amrita,
    Your Bialys look beautiful with sesame sprinkled all over. You've experimented with filling and that gives me ideas to try out bialys with different kinds of fillings though it may be differ from its traditional recipe.

  4. just great. never have tried it before...but, just can imagine how great it wud taste,esp with the caramalized onions.

  5. They look so perfectly done Amrita... spot on

  6. Wow!! wonderful fusion, I love the peas version of bialys!!

  7. sounds interesting...looks inviting

  8. Hi Amrita, that's new to me. It look inviting and delicious. The caramelized onions look awesome. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

    Have a wonderful week ahead.

  9. Wow wow... Perfdcy made bialys... Bookmarked to try it out

  10. Seriously am in love with ur toping,bialys looks fantabulous.

  11. Perfect bialys. They look wonderfully yummy!



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