Zoe’s Mom Bakes Bialys

mom’s bialys

When Jeff and I started to write Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day I sent the “master” recipe to my mom. It was, in my mind the ultimate test. Not because my mom has been baking for years and would be hyper critical, quite the opposite. You see my mother has many, many talents, but baking is not one of them. Or I should say it wasn’t until now. I sent her the recipe and waited. A couple of days later I got a hysterical call from her and she was slathering butter all over her first loaf of bread. She had just taken it out of the oven and despite our recommendation to let it cool she cut into it when it was still warm. She was talking to me between bites and was so proud of herself.At that moment I knew that Jeff and I had written a book that could turn anyone into a bread baker. My mother now bakes bread nearly every day using our method and has shared her loaves with most of central Vermont. Her favorite recipe is for bialys, which she has always had a fondness for but can’t get in Vermont. They are often called the cousin of the bagel but instead a hole in the center they are filled with sauteed onion and poppy seeds. I write about her love for bialys and how she now makes her own in the book on page 125. What is missing from that page is the picture of her creations, so here they are in all of their glory!!!

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27 thoughts on “Zoe’s Mom Bakes Bialys

  1. i read the article in the Times today (NY) and i’m ordering the book. I do bake bread quite often with my trusty kitchenaid and i have a hearthkitchen oven insert that will be perfect to cook the bread in. i can hardly wait to try the recipe in the times while i wait for the book to come.
    and my one son’s name is jeff also (did you know it means peace loving?)
    thanx for your wonderful idea.
    alice brown

  2. Hello Mrs. Brown:
    I’ve known that Jeffrey means the “peacelover” for years and years (since studying German in college– the prof called me Gottfried which is also the peacelover, or God-lover, literally). Thanks for reminding me to ask my mother whether this was on her mind when she named me. I’m so glad you like the bread. Jeff

  3. I have a question about how large a loaf of bread using one pound of dough is supposed to be. I baked one this morning (boule) and it was more like a large roll – it was beautiful tasting – the diameter never really got more than grapefruit sized – well maybe canteloup. Also, in spite of the fact I slashed it (tic tac toe) it rose up a little like a tower. My husband actually ate the whole thing for breakfast, so I have no idea how it cools. . . It tasted great. I’m so excited about your concept I almost couldn’t sleep last night after I made the dough. . .

  4. Teresa:
    The grapefruit-sized loaf is pretty small, as you’ve found. It makes a one-pound loaf, which is much smaller than most commercial loaves. If you need more, try a generous cantaloupe-sized piece and bake longer, up to 25-30% more time in the oven. And you will find it better if you let it cool, it will slice better and seem less “wet.” Jeff

  5. Hi Jeff,
    thank you so much for answering my question. I have a family of 5, so I do think the 1 lb. is too small for us. I’ll try the bigger size tomorrow. Now I just need to do the math on the time (or maybe just look in the oven) I am so excited about your book – I have already worked 2 friends up into a frenzy and they rushed to order the book. My kids loved the olive oil dough as pizza tonight. Trying brioche sticky buns tomorrow. So much fun. thanks a lot.

  6. HI,
    I just baked the bagels. They were absolutely the best I’ve ever had. A little work, not for every day (unlike the regular bread) but wow!
    Also, got a small banneton and was wondering if the banneton insulates the rising dough thus resulting in the (dramatically) longer rise time? What do you think of an overnight rise IN the banneton? The bread looks beautiful though.
    I converted a bunch of people to your method yesterday by bringing baguettes to a homeschool event. No one could believe they were homemade that morning.

  7. Hi Teresa,

    The only trouble I see with rising the dough in the banneton overnight is that the dough is so wet it might stick to it. That is why I’ve been letting it rise on parchment paper, instead of cornmeal.

    Thank you for sharing the bread!


  8. Teresa: I have more banneton/brotform experiments to do, but I suspect that you are right, event the small one’s going to need lots of rest. But Zoe’s probably right too, about the overnight concern. Let me play with it a bit and I’ll post to the brotform entry.


  9. Hi Annette, welcome to the site. While we do provide a lot of free content here on our website, we release recipes to the public Internet only occasionally… the bialy recipe is of course in our book, which is available at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0312362919?ie=UTF8&tag=arbrinfimiada-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0312362919

    But we’re always available here to answer questions about our recipes (we answer all the questions ourselves!)


  10. I found a reference to your master recipe on someone’s blog. I followed the link to your site and like many others found what I have been searching for – artisan bread recipes for the home cook. Thanks for all the Q & A s – I’ve been reading for hours today.
    Two things – Can I use an ordinary 12 inch deepsided Lodge dutch oven to bake my bread? And after receiving my book I made my first loaf of ciabatta bread. The crumb was not at all airy. Was it because I didn’t let it sit overnight or was it more likely to be the 4,500 ft altitude?
    The boule I made the second day came out perfect though the crumb was pretty dense – yum. Never made it to cool with the way my family swarmed it.

    1. Hi mjfluke,

      So glad you found us and are trying the bread. Here is a post about baking at high altitude. You may want to read that and see if any of it makes sense for what you are finding in your loaves. https://artisanbreadinfive.com/?p=144

      With our dough it is very important not to over handle the dough or it will come out too dense. The dough is very wet, so use lots of flour on your hands when handling the dough.

      Thanks, Zoë

  11. Bought your book last week. First recipe I baked was your bialys. They were the best bialys we’ve ever eaten. Can’t wait to make every recipe in the book. Thank you for maintaining this website, especially for people like me who didn’t find out about your method and cookbooks until this year. (08/2010)

  12. I made a 1 pound loaf of Boule today using your master recipe. If I want to use half your master recipe for my next loaf, do I need to adjust the baking time? The 1 pound loaf is too small for my family. I could make two 1 pound loaves but would prefer one 2 pound loaf. ty

    1. Hi Wende,

      You can make a 2-pound loaf, just let it rest for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours, this will depend on the temperature of the dough and your kitchen. If it is very cool then longer, if your kitchen is very hot then shorter. You will also want to allow the bread to bake for an additional 15 minutes.

      Thanks! Zoë

  13. I’m not clear about the rest time for your recipes: Does the dough rest the same amount of time when you use freshly made dough as when you use refrigerated dough? Thank you for your help. I’ve only made fresh dough bialys and fresh dough boule so far, both were amazing.

    1. Hi Wende,

      Each recipe suggests a resting time for both fresh dough and refrigerated dough. These times will change depending on the recipe you are using. The rest times for fresh dough is much shorter, but you should refer to the specific recipe.

      So glad you tried the bialy recipe! Enjoy, Zoë

  14. I’m sorry Zoe, I’m looking through my book and I don’t see both the rest times for fresh or refrigerated listed for all recipes. For example on page 37 the recipe for ciabatta uses refrigerated dough and a rest for 20 minutes. I don’t see mentioned the rest period for fresh dough. I do see the times for both doughs for your onion rye recipe on page 63. In the rye recipe rest time is doubled for refrigerated dough. Is that a good guideline to use for fresh versus refrigerated? Or should I poke the dough with my finger and see if the indentation stays?

    1. Hi Wende,

      My apologies, for the the flatbreads with especially short rising times it is about the same for fresh or refrigerated doughs. Because you are handling the dough while shaping it, you need to allow the dough, even when fresh, to rest for some time. If the breads are quite thick it makes a much greater difference, sometimes as much as doubled.

      I hope this clears up any confusion. Thanks, Zoë

  15. Hi Jeff & Zoe,

    Ever since I first heard you on The Splendid Table, your Artisan Bread book has changed my life. I am slowly baking my way through the whole thing. Thank you!

    I am working on bialys (page 125) at the moment and seem to be facing a funny issue. The center (with the onions and seeds) always seems to rise. Although the taste is great, my bialys essentially end up looking more like a dinner roll. I have multiple loaves and tried baked on an exposed baking stone (with baking pan) as well as in a covered cloche. What am I doing wrong?

    Many thanks,

    1. Hi Victoria,

      Sounds like you just need to let the buns rest a bit longer before baking. For whatever reason your bialys aren’t quite ready for the oven and with a little extra time, try 15 more minutes, they should behave themselves! 😉

      Thanks, Zoë

      1. Hi Zoe,

        I had the same problem. They puffed up all over. I will try to let them rest longer next time. Do I let them rest for 30 minutes after I put the onion mixture on it or I let them rest, then flatten the middle, put the onion mixture on them then put them in the oven?

      2. Good question; I have to admit I’m not certain which is more likely to be the solution. First try it by doing the rest after the onion mixture’s applied, then try it the other way if that didn’t help. Or you could do one batch both ways (just make sure you keep them straight).

  16. I understand that salt sticks are often made from bialy dough. The ones I’m familiar with are about 8 inches long and maybe about 1 1/2 inches wide at their widest, straight, and look a bit like miniature baguettes with tapered ends and one slash down the length. They are sprinkled with coarse salt and caraway seeds, but not too heavily.


    This is the closest photo I can find of how they look (forget that these are actually baguettes and they have no seeds).

    The salt sticks I can get here are made from the bialy dough, although some salt sticks in Germany include some rye flour.

    I’ve made bialys and bagels with high-gluten flour before but my 2 dough recipes are different. Might you have any directions for making and shaping salt sticks your way?

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