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May 10, 2016

Mini Cheddar Bialys

Mini Cheddar Bialys from Karen's Kitchen Stories

These Mini Cheese Bialys take traditional bialys and turn them into a tasty little cheesy snack!

What are bialys you ask? They are a delicious traditional bread that originated in the Jewish quarter of Bialystok, Poland. You can read more about their history and how they disappeared from Poland but survived in New York city in this post.

They are often compared with bagels, but that is only because of their Jewish heritage (and they're both round). Bagels are boiled and baked, bialys are just baked. Bagels are dense, while bialys have large airy pockets. Bagels have holes in the middle, while bialys are traditionally filled with an onion mixture. Bagels are ubiquitous, while bialys are nearly extinct... save for a few bakeries in New York City and those of us who extoll their amazing tastiness.

Bread geek talk alert:

The dough for these bialys begins with a pâte fermentée, which is often used in lean doughs (doughs that are essentially flour, water, salt, and yeast) to develop flavor over time. The pâte fermentée is made the day before and allowed to rise in the refrigerator. It's then cut into pieces and added into the final dough.

The recipe also uses the autolyse method, which involves mixing the flour and water without adding the yeast and salt, and letting it sit for 20 to 30 minutes. This improves the flavor of the bread and the texture of the dough.

Mini Cheddar Bialys from Karen's Kitchen Stories

I had a lot of trouble the last time I made bialys with being able to maintain the "wading pool" flat center of the rolls with the filling. As flat as I got the centers, they closed up. Now I realize it is likely because I shaped and filled the rolls and then let them rise. This time with these rolls, the dough is flattened into disks and allowed to rise prior to adding the filling. The wells are then pressed into the dough and filled once the dough has risen. The dough is much more relaxed and easier to work with.

The filling in these bialys consists of sautéed onions, poppy seeds, and bread crumbs, and then, veering from tradition, topped with sharp cheddar cheese. If you squint your eyes, they are almost like mini pizzas (my apologies to Mimi Sheraton). Oh, the possibilities!

With such a crispy crust and an airy interior, they are an amazing treat straight from the oven. They are also fantastic split, toasted, and spread with a schmear of Boursin or softened cream cheese.

Mini Cheddar Bialys from Karen's Kitchen Stories

After the recipe, check out rest of the rolls that my fellow #BreadBakers created for this month's theme! This month, Deepti of Baking Yummies is our host.

Mini Cheddar Bialys Recipe

To make the Pâte Fermentée


120 grams lukewarm water
2/3 teaspoon active dry yeast, I used Red Star
180 grams bread flour
1 tsp Kosher salt, preferably Diamond Crystal


  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the water and yeast.
  2. Add the flour and yeast, and mix on low for about 2 minutes, until just combined. 
  3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let rest for 30 minutes. 
  4. Place the dough into an oiled container (with room to grow), cover, and place in the refrigerator for 8 to 24 hours.
This recipe makes more pâte fermentée than needed. Add the rest to your favorite bread or pizza dough recipe for added flavor. 

To Made the Bialys

Dough Ingredients

320 grams lukewarm water
465 grams bread flour
150 grams of the pâte fermentée, cut into walnut sized pieces
3/4 teaspoons active dry yeast, I used Red Star
1 tablespoon Kosher salt, preferably Diamond Crystal

Filling Ingredients

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 to 4 yellow onions (900 grams) finely diced
60 grams (about 1/2 cup) fine dried breadcrumbs
1 1/2 tablespoons poppy seeds
1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
95 grams (2 cups) coarsely grated sharp cheddar cheese

  1. Add the flour and water to the bowl of a stand mixer and mix with the dough hook until just combined, about 2 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes. 
  2. Add the pâte fermentée pieces, yeast, and salt, and mix on low until combined, about 2 minutes. 
  3. Increase the speed to medium to medium high, and mix with the dough hook for 5 to 7 minutes, until you have a smooth shiny dough that clears the sides of the bowl. 
  4. Place the dough into an oiled dough rising bucket or bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled, about 60 to 90 minutes. 
  5. While the dough is rising, prepare the filling. Saute the onions in the olive oil over medium low heat for about 20 minutes, stirring every few minutes, until slightly golden and tender, and reduced to about 1/3 its original size. Add the poppy seeds, bread crumbs, and salt. Stir and allow to cool. 
  6. Place a baking stone on the center rack of your oven and preheat it to 500 degrees F. Line the backs of two upside down baking sheets with parchment paper. 
  7. Divide the dough into 24 equal pieces, about 40 grams each. Form each piece into a ball, and then flatten it into a 2 inch wide disk. Place the disks on the parchment paper, about 1 inch apart. You should be able to fit 12 disks on each piece of parchment. Cover each baking sheet loosely with oiled plastic wrap.
  8. Let the dough rise until puffy, about 60 to 90 minutes. 
  9. With oiled fingers, press the center of the dough to make a well. Place a loose tablespoon of the filling into the depression, and top with some of the cheddar. 
  10. When you are done preparing the first baking sheet of bialys, carefully slide the bialys filled parchment onto the hot baking stone. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden. 
  11. Cool the baked bialys on a wire rack, removing the parchment paper. 
  12. While the first group of bialys is baking, prepare the second sheet and bake while the first sheet of rolls is cooling. 
  13. Serve immediately. Keep leftovers in an airtight container, or individually wrap them and freeze for up to 30 days. 
Recipe adapted from The Hot Bread Kitchen Cookbook. I absolutely love this book. 


#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

Would you like to comment?

  1. I wish I lived next door to you so I could taste your bread. It's always such perfection, even when you don't think so. Now you have me dreaming about these cheesy bialys...

  2. I have said that to Karen, I whish too that we were close so we could bake along, Karen they lovely, with cheese on them they must be really delicious, I have to give these a try, thank you for sharing the recipe.😎

    1. Thanks Rosa! I'm sure you will love them.

  3. Karen its always interesting to read your posts as they always introduce me to a new technique or new product. Cute little bialys, feel like picking one from the screen.

  4. Delicious Karen! I so would want to try this one <3

  5. I fell in love with Bialys when I lived in Vegas and found them at New York Bagel Boys. I don't think I've found one since I left there in 1978

    1. Unless you are in NYC, you pretty much have to make them yourself, from what I understand.

  6. You need to open up a bakery. Everything you make is so beautifully done and made with such care!

  7. These are so tempting and beautifully done, I want to have one of these.

  8. Thanks for the intro to two new baking methods. Well, I have used the autolyse method but had no idea there was a name for it LOL

    1. Ha ha Wendy. It's much better with the "fancy" name isn't it?

  9. Karen , I had made bialys before , it was the most delicious one i had still. It must be more delicious with the cheddar.......

    1. Kind of like a "complete" meal Sharanya =)

  10. Hi Karen, I learned so much in this post. Great history, tips and information. These bialys truly look amazing.

  11. Anything with cheese in is a winner for me, these rolls are delightful.

  12. I'm so excited about this recipe Karen. Our whole family loves bialys and they're not easy to find! My husband is the bread baker in the family and I'm giving him your recipe and hoping he gets baking immediately!

  13. What tasty looking little gems!

  14. I've heard and seen bialys before but didn't know about the history behind them. Learnt something new today :-)
    Love that cheesy center and the crispy crust -- perfect made bialys.

  15. I want to bake these too. Looks very delicious


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