Onion Poppyseed Rolls


By Rose Zawid

I have always wanted to find this recipe. It used to be served in bakeries on the Lower East Side. Now each Friday I try to make it with half my challah dough.

Yield: 12 onion poppyseed rolls



  • 1 package active dry yeast (1 scant tablespoon)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons plus ½ cup sugar
  • 3/4 cups lukewarm water (about)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 4 to 4½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 medium onion diced
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil


  1. In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast and 1½ teaspoons of the sugar in the warm water.
  2. Whisk the oil into the yeast, then beat 2 of the eggs, one at a time, with the remaining sugar and salt. Gradually add the flour. When the dough holds together, it is ready for kneading. (You can also use a mixer with a dough hook both for the mixing and kneading.)
  3. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth. Clean out the bowl and grease it, then return the dough to the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place for 1 hour, until almost doubled in size. The dough may also rise in an oven that has been warmed to 150 degrees then turned off.
  4. Punch down the dough, cover, and let rise again in a warm place for another half hour. Roll out the challah dough to a rectangle about 12 by 18 inches or as thin as you can.
  5. Sprinkle the onions, the poppy seeds, and the coarse salt over the dough, leaving a one-inch border. Using a pastry brush, brush the border of the dough with the vegetable oil. Then, roll the dough up from the long side into a jelly roll. The dough will be very malleable. Pinch the ends closed.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease 12 muffin tins with the remaining tablespoon vegetable oil. Using a dough cutter, cut the dough into at least 12 rounds and place the rolls into the tins, cut side on top. Mix the remaining egg with a little water and brush over the rolls. Let rise another half hour. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven and serve warm.