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Naive question about knishes


planojim
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Please excuse a somewhat naive question. I'm coming to Manhattan for the first time and after reading through all of your great posts, I've decided that I need to try a knish. Yonnah Schimmels will be my place to get them. Before reading this board, I'd never really heard of a knish, and for sure I've never seen one in person(consider it a sheltered life growing up in rural western Michigan and then moving to Dallas, not exactly the Jewish food capital).

The question is this.........when are these things made? Are they made in the morning, and then served throughout the day, or are they made to be served fresh during the lunch hour? In some of your earlier posts people have mentioned the fact that a knish is ruined when taken and tossed into the microwave to warm. What would be my best plan of attack, what time, should I be able to go and get one fresh out of the oven with no nuking?

Thanks in advance for your answers, and thanks a lot for all of the great, informative posts on this board.

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The soft ball-sized knishes, filled with everything from potato to cheese-and-fruit mixtures, are all-natural, hand-shaped, and baked in old-fashioned brick ovens
more details on Yonah Schimmel's knishes

The reason for not microwaving is pretty much as with other items which need to be warmed: you will love the texture of the original when freshly baked... when microwaved, they get too soft ...

As to when? If/when you are in NYC, call them and ask what you have asked here. I assume that they bake for much of the morning and will give you more specific details.

In any event, warming in a regular oven is preferable.

Enjoy yourself as you bite into them and remember that a knish is a little bit of heaven wrapped in dough! :wink:

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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The soft ball-sized knishes, filled with everything from potato to cheese-and-fruit mixtures, are all-natural, hand-shaped, and baked in old-fashioned brick ovens
more details on Yonah Schimmel's knishes

I've only had a knish in New York once ... and how should I put this? Knishes are not the same throughout the world! Intead of going to NY, head straight north, cross the border and try a Winnipeg Knish. We use a stratch dough that is flaky and crispy and is completely different from what I tried at a deli in NY.

Having said that, I assume the freshness factor is the same. We actually make knishes at work and freeze them raw. Then our customers take them home and bake them when they want them so they have the freshest possible product.

So follow GG's plan and call them - see if you can be there when they are fresh out of the ovens (and see if they have kasha knishes - they're my favorite)

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I've only had a knish in New York once ... and how should I put this?  Knishes are not the same throughout the world! 

Indeed, knishes are not the same throughout N.Y. let alone the world.

I would also suggest that in addition you try a Gabila's knish off of a street cart. I am not suggesting that it will be in any way superior to Yonah Schimmel's - simply a contrast and what most people consider the typical ifnot the ultimate N.Y. knish. Try it with a little mustard inside.

The problem with microwaving them is that the crispy, crusty exterior gets lost.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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A bit of New York knish dogmatism (all true, but appropriately tongue-in-cheek):

Get a square one. I don't even know why they make the round ones, no one eats them, so they'll definitely be stale. (At least no New Yorkers eat them.) :wink:

Knishes are filled with potato. A cheese-and-fruit-filled knish? What the hell is that, an avante-garde knish? Maybe it belongs on that other thread? Who invented it? Where did it come from? And when? Stick it with the blueberry bagels and run as far and fast as you can. :wacko:

I never had a knish at Yona Schimmels, so I can't say anything about them. But the fact that they even make something called a cheese-and-fruit-filled knish makes me very, very suspicious.

I do like 2nd Ave. Deli's potato knishes (the square ones!), although in truth I haven't had one in a couple of years. (They tend to stay with you.)

No microwave-warming! The crusty outside and mushy inside is what does it. And potato knishes should be made with tons of pepper.

Have a good time.

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I think that "real" knishes look like sections cut from strudel. What I mean is no dough on the short ends, and the top is curved. Like the strudel sold by Zabar's. My grandmother used to make kasha and potato knishes this way, and her dough was similar to strudel dough. There was a place on Coney Island that used to make them this way, although the health department closed them down about 25 years ago. My grandparents were of the opinion that you can't get a decent knish in NY, and they've thought that for about 50 years. They think Yonah Schimmal might have been good before WWII. I think Katz's has a decent round knish. I think the square kind that looks fried is not good. I'm generally disappointed with knishes. I suspect that knishes evolved from some sort of strudel, as a way to use leftover kasha or potatos, and turn them into something portable. A sweet knish is basically strudel.

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  I suspect that knishes evolved from some sort of strudel, as a way to use leftover kasha or potatos, and turn them into something portable.  A sweet knish is basically strudel.

That's how we make them at work - we make a strudel-stretch dough - we actually have a 'knish table' on which we strech the dough as thin as possible - lay down a row of filling on one end and roll the whole thing up. Then using the side of my hand, cut through the dough, making individual knishes and pretty much closing them up on both sides (if we left them open, the filling would go flying out while baking). This is the only way I've seen knishes made here, but outside of Winnipeg I've never seen them like this.

I wonder if this is a Polish knish vs. a ... german, russian, etc. knish?

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Get a square one. I don't even know why they make the round ones, no one eats them, so they'll definitely be stale. (At least no New Yorkers eat them.)  :wink:

Hold on! The square ones are not homemade, the round ones are. GOOD, fresh, round homemade knishes cannot be compared to the packaged square ones - no contest!

My favorite knishes came from Knish Nosh in Forest Hills, Queens. Used to go there when I was a kid and my grandparents lived nearby. Anyone know if it's still there?

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That's how we make them at work - we make a strudel-stretch dough - we actually have a 'knish table' on which we strech the dough as thin as possible - lay down a row of filling on one end and roll the whole thing up. Then using the side of my hand, cut through the dough, making individual knishes and pretty much closing them up on both sides (if we left them open, the filling would go flying out while baking). This is the only way I've seen knishes made here, but outside of Winnipeg I've never seen them like this.

I wonder if this is a Polish knish vs. a ... german, russian, etc. knish?

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Get a square one. I don't even know why they make the round ones, no one eats them, so they'll definitely be stale. (At least no New Yorkers eat them.)  :wink:

Hold on! The square ones are not homemade, the round ones are. GOOD, fresh, round homemade knishes cannot be compared to the packaged square ones - no contest!

PACKAGED??!?! :shock: Where'd ya get that one from? I'm sure you can buy packaged ones, but you can buy packaged bagels too, y'know?

I don't know anything about the history of knishes. :sad: I tried looking it up on google, but the only thing I discovered is that there's a publication called knish.com that seems to be Judaism's answer to The Onion.

I think the square ones are fried, which is what gives them that distinctive and delicious crust. I have no idea how that crust is made, or what it's made of. (I'm not sure I want to know.) And I don't know which came first, the circle or the square. (Does anyone?) It seems to me that the round ones would be easier to make, especially in quantity.

But as a kid (and even now as an adult), a knish meant a square knish! I really have no recollection of ever seeing anyone buy a round knish! I've always thought they were two completely different things, and still can't understand why they both have the same name! :raz:

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I have had and like both, but I love the square more. When I was growing up in Brooklyn, a nearby deli would take a hot square knish, slice it down the middle and fill it with lunchmeat and call it a knishwich. I loved them with roast beef and mustard.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Mrs. Stahl's knishes were in Brighton Beach in Brooklyn. We used to go visit my grandfather every Sunday and walk around the corner for a knish. My favorite was cabbage.

Zabar's has delicious knishes too. Just heat them in your oven.

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I don't know anything about the history of knishes. :sad:

Either do I .. all I know is that my grandmother (born in Poland in 1900) and my great-aunt (on the other side of the family, born in Canada but to Russian-born parents) both made them the same way - round, in a stretch dough. I think it's just a case of potatoes being inexpensive and plentiful - and trying to come up with different ways to eat them .... that's why we have verenekes, blintzes and burekes as well....

Like most ethnic foods, cheap ingredients form the base of many of our foods. (Back in the old days, I am told, briskets were very inexpensive... that's one of the reasons why every Jewish family has a brisket recipe that appears on every holiday table and why you have so much corned beef, smoked meat and pastrami in jewish delis)

I'm not an expert on the square knishes - I've only had them twice, once in NY and once in Toronto - as I said before, I've never seen them here nor do I know anybody who makes them.

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