Bagels are well-known in this country, but their second-cousins-once-removed, bialys, are less so. Bialys are soft rolls topped with a tasty onion-breadcrumb mixture, that were the speciality of Bialystok in what is now Poland. Though both are Eastern European and Jewish in origin, they have a broader appeal. Both are relatively cheap to make, and can be sold for a premium price as a stand-alone speciality product, or split and used with any number of fillings for sandwiches.

When we had our shop in London, we sold both products every day. Now that we have moved to East Sussex, we continue to sell them wholesale, and teach students how to make them on the Jewish Baking course at our Bakery School.

Bagels (makes 12 large bagels or 24 mini bagels)

Ingredients g %

Organic strong

white flour 680g 100

Salt 15g 6

Sugar 40g 2

Milk powder 45g 7

Barley malt syrup 20g 3

Fresh yeast 12g 2

Batter-style sourdough starter 290g 40

Water 325g 47


1. Mix all the ingredients together to form a stiff dough - adjust consistency as necessary.

2. Scale pieces at 120g for large or 60g for minis. A

3. Form doughpieces into thick ropes of around 20cm (8 inches) or half that size for minis.

4. Wrap each large rope around the widest part of your hand, overlapping the ends in your palm, and roll on the work surface to seal. For mini-bagels, wrap the rope around the first three fingers of your hand. B

5. Place on a tray and retard overnight. Allow the bagels to come to cool room temperature the next day.

6. Boil the bagels for 10-20 seconds, pressing down on the tops to ensure they are immersed. If well-proved, the bagels will float to the surface of the water. C

7. Return the boiled bagels to the tray, dress with seeds of your choice (or leave plain) and bake at 220°C for 20-25 minutes or until mahogany brown. D

Bialy Dough (makes 9 bialys)

Ingredients g %

Organic strong white flour 500g 100

Coarse salt 13g 2.6

Fresh yeast 8g 1.5

Water 325g 65

Onion Topping


Medium onion 1

Dried breadcrumbs 20g

Poppy seeds for sprinkling


1. Mix ingredients together to form a stiff dough.

2. Bulk-ferment for 3 hours, folding back after 1.5 hours.

3. While the dough is bulk-fermenting, make the onion topping: mince the onion finely and add the breadcrumbs*. Mix thoroughly to combine and leave the topping to mellow at room temperature until ready to use.

4. Scale pieces at 90g and mould round.

5. Prove ambient for 30 minutes or until puffy. E

6. Take each round in both hands, and pull apart slightly to form a thin well in the middle. F

7. Place on a tray, or semolina-dusted peel.

8. Smear a small amount of onion topping in the central well, spray the whole with water, and sprinkle with poppy seeds. G

9. Bake at 220°C for 20 minutes or until golden. H

l Tip: Breadcrumbs are a great way to use up any left-over bread


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Contact Elizabeth Weisberg by email on

Lighthouse Bakery is a small artisan wholesale bakery and school, based in East Sussex