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Dec 30, 2006 02:36 AM


So I'm obviously not Jewish. I saw and bought my first kichel today. It was a bowtie shaped hard biscuit. It sort of reminded me of Stella Dora's egg biscuits which I haven't seen in a zillion years.

So can you tell me a little more about kichel and what they are eaten with?

This is a lousy picture, but they sort of looked like this.

They do not look like the round Manischewitz version or this turnover-like version.

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  1. Kichel is eaten with beverages like tea or coffee, maybe milk but never eaten with solid foods. Also if at all possible buy kichel in a Jewish bakery. Dunk in beverage for best results.

    13 Replies
    1. re: SIMIHOUND

      I don't know if it is still there, but there used to be a little bakery forgot the name) on Houston Street in NYC (north side of the street, really far east near the river) that made the best kichel I have ever eaten. To me, kichel are like Proust's madeleines.

      1. re: omotosando

        You're not thinking of Yonah Schimmel's Knishery, are you?

        1. re: Das Ubergeek

          No, this is a bakery with baked goods only, not a place that sells knishes. It might have been called Moishe's, but I'm not sure. I haven't been there in 5 years. The Lower East Side is getting so yuppified that who knows if it is still there. It was very far east, almost at the river. I still remember the kichel to this day.

          1. re: omotosando

            Perhaps it was the Moishe's on Grand Street near the co-ops.

            There was also a bakery on Columbia Street (Masaryk Cake Box, IIRC) that made lots of heimishe stuff.

            1. re: Mike R.

              I think you are right and that I was confused about Moishe's being on Houston. It was definitely near the co-ops. Anyone know if it is still there?

              1. re: omotosando

                Same old sign, still there...although I haven't stepped inside for at least 15 years.

                1. re: omotosando

                  I'm not sure. The Moishe's I know is on 7th St. and 1st Av. And they sell kichels.

                  1. re: omotosando

                    Moishe's was on Houston. Calvin Trillin mentions Moishe's in his chapter about Houston St. I saw that they had a location (or moved) to the East Village, as Pan replies below. Though I thought I saw their sign on 2nd.

                    1. re: Steve

                      More than one "Moishe's"...the one on Grand Street is the closest to the East River - at the point where East Broadway joins in.

                      1. re: Steve

                        Whoops! Yes, 7th and 2nd, of course, not 1st. Just a typo. I go there on average 4-5 days a week!

                        1. re: Pan

                          I searched my files and I found this phone number for the Moishe's where I remember the kichel being ridiculously good. (212) 673-5832. I didn't write down the address. Is Moishe's a chain of bakeries or is everyone just using the same name? The original post has now triggered a craving to find the Moishe's of my memory.

                          1. re: omotosando

                            Well, goggling on the number there's

                            Moishe's Kosher Bakery
                            504 Grand St.
                            New York, NY, 10002
                            Cross street: East Broadway
                            Phone: (212) 673-5832

                            Maybe asking about it on the NY board will get some feedback on if it is as good as your memory ... LOHO ... does that sound like a name a neighborhood would want to call itself?

                            1. re: rworange

                              LOHO - you gotta be kidding?...It's the good ol' Lower East Side and that's what happens when upscalers inhabit cockroach tenements (some may still have a bathtub in the kitchen, toilet in the hallway) and rent for $2,500 a month.

                              Anyway, it is the Moishe's I referred to earlier - simple stuff and I suspect they still offer kichel.

          2. Just an etymological note:

            Kichel (Yiddish from Poland) => Kuchel (Yiddish from Lithuania)=> Koch (German) => Cook (English) = Cookie

            1 Reply
            1. re: RicRios

              To add to your etymology...
              We say "cookie" rather than the English 'biscuit' because of the linguistic influence of the Dutch Colony of Nieuw Amsterdam (New York",)....where the Dutch word "koeckje" was the word for our little cake..
              All of the above languages are ofcourse "Germanic", hence.. similar root.

            2. My grandmother used to bake her own kichel, but it was very different from the store-bought stuff. Each piece was square, about 3" on a side (it curled up slightly when baked). The dough was not sweet, but it was sprinkled lightly with cinnamon and sugar before baking. My dad ate it with chopped herring on top, the way his father had - a combo nobody else in the family ever liked. Everyone else ate it plain with tea or coffee.