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Hearty Bialys from Maritime Bread Co.

Hearty Bialys from Maritime Bread Co.

By: Terra Brockman (Read Bio)

Hearty Bialys from Maritime Bread Co.

This recipe for delicious, hearty, wholesome Bialys is courtesy of Kathleen Turchi, baker-owner of Maritime Bread Company in Nashville, TN. She uses her "bialy blend" of three Janie's Mill whole-kernel (100% extraction) flours for great taste and nutrition, and a rustic look.

Kathleen says, "At Maritime, we use Turkey Red in our rustico dough and bialys. I love the hearty, nutty flavor it imparts in a dough. I particularly like to use it in bialys, topped with cheese, fatty caramelized onions, or garlic and herb cream cheese -- because fats marry beautifully with this wheat.

In addition to being a passionate baker, Kathleen has a law degree from Washington & Lee, is on the board of the Nashville Food Coop, and is the Themis director for Kentucky and Tennessee.

The name of her bakery hearkens back to her childhood near the sea -- in a tiny fishing village and pirate hideaway called Atlantic, off the Core Sound in North Carolina. You can follow Kathleen's Maritime Bread Company on Instagram and visit her website to learn more.

Yield: 12 bialys  [scroll down for a bit of bialy history, as well as information about how they differ from bagels]


*At Maritime, we use a variety of toppings such as  shredded cheese, carmelized onion and poppy seed, or garlic and herb cream cheese. Be creative! This is a great opportunity to use seasonal produce, and to clean out your fridge.


  1. Blend all three flours together. We call this our “bialy blend”.
  2. Make the levain. Dissolve 10g of active starter into 250 g room temperature (75 degree) water. It is fine if there are a few larger blobs of sourdough, but it’s best to incorporate fully. Add 250 g bialy blend to the water and starter. Store in a container large enough for the mixture to double in size. Leave overnight.
  3. In the morning, mix all remaining ingredients together. [In our bakery, omit the autolyse (a scandalous practice we call “naw-tolyse”) for many reasons you probably aren't interested in here.] Start by mixing the flour and salt in one container, and remaining water and all of the levain in a larger container. Add flour and salt mixture to water and levain mixture. When you are done mixing, there should be no remaining dry ingredients.
  4. Allow the dough to rest for half an hour.
  5. Stretch and fold the dough every 15 minutes for one hour.
  6. Allow the dough to rise for another hour, or until it has risen about 35-40%. This is a whole grain dough, and we are not looking for a full doubling in size.
  7. When the dough is fully fermented, divide it into 12 equal portions, about 125 g each.
  8. Shape your pieces into taut little balls, and place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and well dredged with rice flour.
  9. Allow bialys to rest at room temperature for their final rise, about 2 hours. You also have the option to rest these at room temperature for 1 hour, and then pop these on their sheet pan in the fridge overnight. This is what we do in the bakery.
  10. In the morning, when the dough is fully proofed, stretch the balls into little mini (about 3-4 inch) “pizzas”. They should have a recessed center with a fat edge. Don’t be too precious! These are rustic.
  11. Top with your toppings of choice.
  12. Bake at 450 for 20-25 minutes.

Flour Variations

If you don't have the flours for Kathleen's "Bialy Blend" on hand, you may substitute any of our higher protein flours for either the Turkey Red or the Whole-Kernel Bread Flour, and a medium to low protein flour for the Dark Rye.

Of course, you will get a different flavor profile when you use different flours, and a different texture if you use sifted flours, but your homemade bialys will be fabulous! 

A Bit of History and Inside Info on Bialys

The name of these rolls references their origin in Bialystok, which was part of the Russian empire, and is now in Poland. Bialys (short for the Yiddish bialystok kuchen) were brought to the U.S. by Eastern European Jews immigrating in the early 1900s, and are a traditional dish of Polish Ashkenazi Jewish cuisine.

While they are often referred to in the same breath as bagels, they are not a sub-type of bagel. In fact, they are very different from bagels in three key ways:

  • They are simply baked, not boiled and then baked as bagels are.
  • They are not as chewy as bagels, and much lighter in texture.
  • Instead of a hole in the middle, the bialy has a depression. Before baking, the depression may be filled with onions, poppy seeds, or other fillings.
Although bialys may be slathered with butter or cream cheese and topped with cured/smoked fish, purists prefer them straight up. And when you use Maritime Bread Company's "bialy blend" of Janie's Mill whole-kernel flours, you get so much flavor that a filling is completely optional . . . although, as Kathleen mentions, a filling can be a clever and delicious way to use up the leftovers in your fridge!

    Posted on October 10 2022