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Are you making a specialty food? Share your adventure


rworange 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.

  1. j
    judybird Jan 3, 2007 11:52 PM

    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.

    1. r
      RicRios Dec 30, 2006 03:04 AM

      Just an etymological note:

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

      1 Reply
      1. re: RicRios
        ChowFun_derek Jan 3, 2007 03:53 PM

        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. SIMIHOUND Dec 30, 2006 03:02 AM

        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
          omotosando Dec 30, 2006 05:07 AM

          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
            Das Ubergeek Dec 30, 2006 11:56 PM

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

            1. re: Das Ubergeek
              omotosando Dec 31, 2006 12:12 AM

              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
                Mike R. Jan 2, 2007 02:35 PM

                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.
                  omotosando Jan 3, 2007 12:13 AM

                  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
                    Mike R. Jan 3, 2007 12:02 PM

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

                    1. re: omotosando
                      Pan Jan 3, 2007 02:03 PM

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

                      1. re: omotosando
                        Steve Jan 3, 2007 03:11 PM

                        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
                          Mike R. Jan 3, 2007 05:37 PM

                          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
                            Pan Jan 3, 2007 10:48 PM

                            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
                              omotosando Jan 4, 2007 06:36 AM

                              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
                                rworange Jan 4, 2007 04:20 PM

                                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
                                  Mike R. Jan 4, 2007 05:33 PM

                                  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.

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