I’ve never had a bialy until today.  But, ever since I first saw a picture of a bialy  in cookbooks and all over the net I wanted to try one, or even better, to make one!

Many weekends I was ready to give it a go, but things came up and… bialy was postponed until next week.   And the next… and the next…and the next.  Then I saw Dan Lepard’s recipe for black olive bialy and I couldn’t wait any more.   Black olive bialy.    Three simple words that made my heart jump with joy.  I’m a Kalamata-cheerleader…

(from Dan Lepard)

1/2 tsp instant dry yeast
150 g pitted Kalamata olives, diced
25 mL olive oil
1 tsp salt
550 g bread flour
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 Tbs poppy seeds

Pour 250 mL warm water and yeast in a bowl then add the minced olives, olive oil and salt. Add the flour, mix forming a firm dough, and refrigerate for 24 hours or more (up to three days).

Dry fry the onion a few minutes on a non-stick skillet until soft but still pale, scrape into a bowl with the poppy seeds, and leave in the fridge.

Heat the oven to 450F.

Divide the dough into ten pieces (use a scale to get equal pieces) and shape into balls. Leave covered for an hour to rise at room temperature. Pat the balls out to about 4 inches diameter, and firmly indent the middle area, leaving a very thin and wide skin of dough in the center. Cover a tray with parchment paper, and lay five bialys on it, well spaced. Press 1 tsp of onion/poppy seed mixture in the center, with wet fingers.

Bake for 12 – 15 minutes until puffed and just beginning to get dark, then repeat with the remaining five pieces.


Comments: If this recipe didn’t have Dan Lepard behind it, I probably wouldn’t have tried it, because it’s essentially a no-knead bread.  Quoting Seinfeld, “not that there’s anything wrong with that,”  but I prefer recipes that involve kneading and/or folding the dough.   This was one of the easiest breads I’ve ever made, that’s perfect for a dinner party or brunch:  once the dough is in the fridge it takes just a little over 1 hour to enjoy the fruits of your labor (i.e., the bread!).

Two important remarks:
1. Use Kalamata olives  or another good quality black olive that’s high in moisture.  Avoid the black olives sold in tins, that are brine-free and have almost no olive flavor.

2.  Don’t be shy when pressing your fingers into the dough to make the depressions.  Try to leave a very thin skin in the center. My second batch was better than the first, because I was too delicate in shaping the first five.

The flavor of the olives as you bite into the soft bread, mixed with the onion filling, is just dreamy!  I’ll revisit this bread again and again.

I am submitting this post to this week’s Yeastspotting….

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27 thoughts on “BLACK OLIVE BIALY

  1. Sally, do these freeze well? How are they the 2nd day? Do you think 1/2 recipe would work as well? It sounds like something Rod and I would like at lunch with soup, but it makes so many!


  2. Thanks, everybody!

    @Jean: I don’t see why the half recipe wouldn’t work, go for it… As far as freezing, I haven’t tried it, but placed some in the fridge and we had a couple next morning, toasted – delicious still!

    I gave some to our neighbors because I thought they would be better the day I made them, and there’s a limit to how much bread a human being can enjoy without having to run a marathon… :0)


  3. I tried this one too, with good results. But you MUST follow his directions as otherwise it is very hard to incorporate all the flour into the liquid.


  4. Oh my! Black Olive Bialys! I have never made them but always wanted to. Your Seinfeld reference cracked me up! I couldn’t agree more with you about tinned black olives. Those olives have no business calling themselves olives. Your Bialys look wonderful. Thanks for the recipe link.


    • WHO buys those things???? I will never forget the first time I had one. I had just moved to the US, and happened to buy a can. I was SHOCKED. Zero olive flavor. Strange texture. Never again….


    • I liked it a lot, Elra – but it is true that it’s a departure from the classic, and maybe some people will stick to the traditional kind. I love anything with olives, though – especially kalamata 🙂


  5. Pingback: YeastSpotting April 23, 2010 | Wild Yeast

  6. I bring these to a New Years Day brunch every year. Along with traditional bialys. These get gobbled first, even by people who grew up in New York and thus know what a bialy is supposed to be (in their opinion).


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