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Bialys in San Francisco Area

sharkfin Jul 2, 2008 07:20 AM

Anyone know where to get good bialys in San Francisco area.? Grew up in New York and crave Kossars so when I go back, I always buy a bunch and bring some back to SF.
Can't afford the delivery charges from Kossars. I searched the Board and someone mentioned Berkeley Bagel in Albany, I believe.... anyone try their bialys ? Thanks.

  1. c
    chemchef Jul 2, 2008 08:03 AM

    Berkeley Bagel's got the only decent bialys that I've found. If you go in the morning, you can get them warm out of the oven.

    5 Replies
    1. re: chemchef
      rccola Jul 2, 2008 10:04 PM

      Berkeley Bagel's "bialys" are NOT bialys. They are bagels with onion on top. When the Cheeseboard makes bialys, then they're real bialys--poor dough, thin and crispy crust, chewy, onions in a well. My grandfather was a bagel baker and made bialys, too. Fresh off the boat from Bialystock.

      1. re: rccola
        hyperbowler Nov 10, 2011 08:58 AM

        The Cheeseboard does have excellent "bialys," and they're far fresher tasting than anything I've gotten from Kossars in recent years. They typically sell out before lunchtime.

        Do note that they're not exactly what's popular in NY--- their ingredients include a sourdough starter, olive oil, and sea salt, and instead of that grayish garbage paste Kossars puts on top, the Cheeseboard has recognizable pieces of onion. Cheeseboard and Arizmendi are related, but not identical to one another, so it's possible that Arizmendi's bialy's are equally good.

        1. re: hyperbowler
          wolfe Nov 10, 2011 09:56 AM

          I have a lovely bialy recipe from "The Secrets of a Jewish Baker." The only problem is he advises 3 tablespoons of onion for 18 bialys. I prepare about 2+ medium to large onions to supply at least 1 tablespoon of onions and poppy seeds per bialy. Left over can be used for dipping.

          1. re: wolfe
            sharkfin Nov 10, 2011 01:09 PM

            Just visited my sister in New York and we made bialys from a recipe in from Maggie Glezer's book "Artisan Bread" uses 1 medium onion, pureed in a food processor. Great recipe, the "chew" was just the way I remember from New York. Like Kossar's but better as far as I am concerned.

          2. re: hyperbowler
            rccola Nov 12, 2011 12:27 PM

            My god, if Cheeseboard uses sourdough starter in their bialys, then I've lost my sense of taste for sure. Didn't pick up sourdough flavor.

            Note: my grandfather the bagel baker had a Russian guy who used to wipe the sweat off his brow and fling it into the dough he was working by hand. "Adds flavor," he'd say. Prolly the old-country equivalent of SF "sourdough."

            Up into the 1960s they worked the dough by hand. Made a big difference.

      2. wolfe Jul 2, 2008 08:04 AM

        Noah's use to have something they called a bialy. It was OK if you got a chance to finish cooking it. Flat, with no hole and filled with varying amounts of onion.

        1. wolfe Jul 2, 2008 08:06 AM


          Berkeley Bagel
          1281 Gilman St, Albany, CA

          1. p
            papa Jul 2, 2008 02:32 PM

            I remember seeing bialys at Arizmendi (9th & Irving, Inner Sunset) in the past. And it looks like they still make them according to their website:

            Can't vouch for them though, since I only ate the scones and pizza when I lived near that bakery.

            1 Reply
            1. re: papa
              sharkfin Jul 2, 2008 07:09 PM

              Thanks everyone. I will check out Berkeley Bagels and Arizmendi. Ages ago I had a bialys from the House of Bagels in SF. it was okay... I have tried the bialys recipe from the book "Better than Store Bought" that was ...gluten flour, etc...not bad but not Kossar's.... . never tried the recipe from Mimi Sheraton's "the Bialy Eaters"...

            2. a
              abstractpoet Nov 21, 2011 12:17 AM

              The guys at the Wise Sons pop-up make an outstanding bialy. Don't know if they're available every Saturday, or at their Tuesday Ferry Building stand.

              I only tried their bialy once, but it was very good and more or less authentic (not just a piece of bread with some onions on top) -- if not quite as good as the ones at my favorite Jersey bagel shop.


              Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen
              San Francisco, San Francisco, CA

              1. r
                richardc Nov 21, 2011 07:00 AM

                Home Grown Bakery in Sonoma has great Bialys and bagels too. The owner is originally from NYC and has been baking in Sonoma for about 30 years.

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