Last weekend, we did a small trip to our beloved hometown, Montréal. We passed the time travelling along the long and slightly boring 401 listening to S-Town, the new podcast from This American Life and Serial. We stopped for brunch Lili.Co Sunday morning, which I recommend by the way, and decided to stretch our legs a little before hitting the road. The bakery Hof Kelsten, which I heard so much about, was just down the road and I’ve never been. Perfect! We would fill up with pastries to snack on for the long drive back. We got a few pastries, including their bialys, which are this perfect match between a pizza and a bagel with caramelized onions on top. If you want their original recipe, you can find it in the cookbook Montreal Cooks.

Jon also made me discover a store that’s way too dangerous for me because it makes me want to spend all my money, called Les Touilleurs, where you can find the highest quality selection of kitchen supplies. To make up for the fact that he’s never brought me to or even mentioned this place in years, he got me a book from there that I’ve been meaning to get for a long time titled The Nordic Cookbook. This cookbook features a serious collection of recipes and food stories from the Nordic countries. It is also a beauty to flip through.

Anyway, one day I’ll make a guide of all my favorite places in Montréal. In the mean time, here’s a recipe inspired by our last visit.


makes 8 bialys


1 1/2 cups of water
1 tbsp honey
425 g (3 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
1 tsp sea salt or kosher salt
1/4 tsp instant yeast
oil to grease a bowl

2 tbsp butter
1 medium or 2 small yellow onions
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup of beer

zaatar spices
poppy seeds
olive oil
sea salt


Place the water and honey in a small pot over medium heat, stirring until the honey is dissolved and the water is warm to the touch, but not too hot that it would hurt. If its too hot, it will kill the yeast in the dough. In the bowl of a mixer, measure the flour and salt. Stir with a whisk before adding the instant yeast. Mixing the salt in the flour first is too make sure that the yeast and salt do not come in direct contact, which can influence how the yeast behaves. Mix the yeast in the flour. Add the water and honey mixture to the bowl and, with a dough hook, mix on medium-low speed (3 or 4) for about 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth, elastic and pulls away from the side of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for an hour or until doubled in size.

Meanwhile, let’s prepare the caramelized onions. I like to use beer to caramelize onions because it sweetens them and reduces the chance of burning them by adding liquid to the cooking process. Oh, and obviously, beer makes everything better! Anyway, in a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and salt and cook for 10 minutes or until they become light golden in colour, stirring often so that they don’t burn. Add the beer and cook for another 15-20 minutes, reducing the heat to medium-low so that the liquid simmers. You want the liquid to fully evaporate and the onions to be a nice dark golden colour. Let cool fully.

When the dough has doubled, transfer to a working surface dusted with flour and press it down gently with your fingers to release the bigger air bubbles. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Shape them into little balls with your hands (here’s a video to demonstrate the technique) and place on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Cover them loosely with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled again, about 45 minutes.

Heat the oven to 425°F. Use your fingers to push and stretch the dough to make a crater in the center of each ball of about 2 inches in diameter. My bialys need a bit of perfecting because the centers ended puffing a bit, but honestly they ended just as delicious so don’t worry if the same happens to you! Fill the craters with a spoonful of the beer caramelized onions and sprinkle the zaatar and poppy seeds over the bialys. Bake until golden brown or about 15 minutes. Make sure to check after 10 minutes though, because every oven in different.

Right after your take them out of the oven, brush them with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.


If you want to double the beer caramelized onions recipe, they keep for one week in the fridge and are also delish in salads, pastas or on a juicy burger!

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Hi! I’m Steph. Originally from Montréal, I moved to Toronto in 2015. I spend my days working at the most quaint Swedish coffee shop making cinnamon buns and adding cardamom to everything I bake. In this blog, I want to share with you recipes that remind me of home, travel stories filled with new food discoveries and the restaurants, coffee shops and bakeries I love to visit most in my new city.