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Seeking Babka - non-chocolate

rcooperman Nov 27, 2013 02:41 PM

Growing up in Brooklyn I got hooked on freshly made buttery Babka laced with cinnamon. Years ago I moved to the Washington, DC area, a Babka desert, but I still crave that Babka. I will be spending some time in NYC this January and will have a car. Is there an old time bakery that still does Babka?

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  1. j
    Just Visiting RE: rcooperman Nov 27, 2013 03:27 PM


    According to this article, it is all coming from Green's. I am not sure I believe it, having had Green's and having had the babka at Russ and Daughter's. The latter is much moister but that could be because Green's is packaged and probably sits for a while.

    Which, by the way, you can buy at Whole Foods here in DC. I am 99% sure they have both chocolate and cinnamon.

    I would guess that you can get good babka at the Woodmoor Bakery in Silver Spring, too. Also the Snider's Grocery Store in Silver Spring. Also New York Bakery in the Strosnider's shopping center on Arlington Rd. in Bethesda.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Just Visiting
      foodwhisperer RE: Just Visiting Nov 27, 2013 10:52 PM

      It's not all coming from Green's.
      15th Ave Bakery in Boro Park, sells it to over 100 smaller bakeries, including the one next door to the factory.
      Teresa's restaurant in Brooklyn Heights has babka.
      In Greenpoint Northside Bakery( formerly Old Poland Bakery) has fresh babka.

      1. re: foodwhisperer
        rcooperman RE: foodwhisperer Nov 29, 2013 06:49 AM

        Foodwhisperer - thank you. When I come to NYC I will sample Teresa's and Greenpoint Northside.

        The Search goes on ...

      2. re: Just Visiting
        rcooperman RE: Just Visiting Nov 29, 2013 06:46 AM

        First, thank you ever so much for taking the interest to reply, it is sincerely appreciated. Alas Green's Babka is not what I seek. I am looking for artisanal, small batch babka, one not intended to survive for weeks on a market shelf wrapped in plastic.

        From your posting you seem to be familiar with the Washington area - perhaps you rmember such long gone bakeries as Deluxe, Bernstein's and Posin's. IMHO they had very good babka but they are but a memory. As is my last go to place - Rigo on the upper east side.

        My search will continue.

        1. re: rcooperman
          Mike R. RE: rcooperman Nov 29, 2013 07:14 AM

          Is Rigo still in business?

          In Brooklyn, there's Ostrovitsky's on Avenue J around East 12th Street. Not sure if and what flavor profile it has.

          Greenpoint's Polish bakery babka tends to be light and yeasty.

          Is Green's the cinnamon-y, chocolate-y stuff you are referring to that's sold at Zabar's and Barney Greengrass? You can also check Fairway in Red Hook, Douglaston or Manhattan.

          1. re: Mike R.
            rcooperman RE: Mike R. Nov 29, 2013 09:47 PM

            Alas Rigo is but a fond memory. Although It has been closed for several years now I still fondly remember the Hungarian accented women that ran the place and their wonderful Babka, Dobos, strudels, etc. Sigh.

            I plan on exploring Greenpoint bakeries.

          2. re: rcooperman
            Just Visiting RE: rcooperman Nov 29, 2013 01:44 PM

            I agree re: Green's and yet we swooned over the babka at Russ & Daughters. Still trying to puzzle that one out.

            I have a very vague memory of Posin's. I moved here in 1981. I think it closed in 1999 but I hadn't been there in quite a while prior to the closure. I don't remember Deluxe or Bernstein's at all. Have you tried Kosher Mart? Maybe they have something worthwhile?

            Meanwhile, please report back on the babkas you try in Brooklyn as we'll be in the city in a couple of weeks and can take a trip out to Brooklyn before heading home.


            1. re: Just Visiting
              rcooperman RE: Just Visiting Nov 29, 2013 09:52 PM

              Posin's, Bernstein's and Deluxe were all active in 1981. Too bad you missed them. I lived nearby the last two and was a solid customer. Kosher Mart's baked good are mediocre at best.

              I will be in NYC around New Year's and will report on my Babka quest.

        2. a
          Amy Mintzer RE: rcooperman Nov 29, 2013 01:34 PM

          Sadly, I recommend against Ostrovitzky's and most of the other bakeries in the flourishing Brooklyn kosher bakery scene: there's hardly a dairy cookie in the house, the clientele being ultra-Orthodox and apparently caring more about kashrut than cake. At most bakeries, everything is made with vegetable shortening to make it parve, and that's a crying shame.

          There are good babkas to be found in Polish places. Teresa's is classic. So is everything else there. What a diner should be.

          1. meatme RE: rcooperman Nov 30, 2013 09:41 AM

            I've had it only once, but the babka at Strauss's, 5115 13th Ave, in Brooklyn, reminded me two years ago of the babka of my youth.

            1 Reply
            1. re: meatme
              janie RE: meatme Nov 30, 2013 11:09 AM

              Walls in Hewlett long island 5 towns area has the real deal, also miami rolls too, and killer black and whites--and this amazing fluff cake

            2. j
              Just Visiting RE: rcooperman Dec 1, 2013 04:10 PM

              Just stumbled on a book called The Chowhound's Guide to the Tri-state Area. Published in 2005. It recommends a place on the UES called Orwasher's. I checked and it is still in business: http://www.orwashers.com/

              It is a bread bakery and doesn't list babka on the website. So I'd call before schlepping up there.

              Other options:

              Breads Bakery, near Union Square
              Scheft has tweaked his recipe only slightly, using cultured butter from France and spreading his laminated dough with a mixture of Nutella and Belgian dark-chocolate chips. As soon as the babkas emerge from the oven, which they do at least three times a day, Scheft’s team bathes them in sugar syrup, ensuring a crisp, burnished crust and a rich, chocolate-veined interior that remains tantalizingly moist for days ($9.95).

              Most reviews talk only about the chocolate, though.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Just Visiting
                rcooperman RE: Just Visiting Dec 1, 2013 09:11 PM

                I have been to Orwasher's numerous times. They are located about few doors west of where Rigo (gone) baked GREAT babka. BTW Orwashers still produces great bread and rolls. Alas they do not do any babka.

                As to Bread's Bakery - that's a no go as it appears they lace their babka with chocolate.

                Thanks ever so much for your interest, my search goes on.

                1. re: Just Visiting
                  GoodGravy RE: Just Visiting Dec 3, 2013 12:45 PM

                  Orwashers was bought out by some artisanal bakery group a few years ago so they're not the original Orwashers anymore. And as pointed out, they don't do babkas.

                  Glasers does babkas, but you have to order them a few days in advance, preferably after the holidays. William Greenberg also does babkas, although I don't know if you have to order them in advance.

                  1. re: GoodGravy
                    rcooperman RE: GoodGravy Dec 3, 2013 02:29 PM

                    I have tried to order babka from Glaser's bakery twice now. The first time I called about a week before coming to NYC.. They said they needed two week's notice and to call them again. The next trip I called three weeks ahead and they said "not now."

                    Being perseverent I shall call them again before my trip. ...

                2. r
                  round2 RE: rcooperman Dec 2, 2013 09:39 PM

                  Not Outer Boroughs, but Moishe's Bakery on 2nd Avenue at 7th Street in Manhattan has a cinnamon babka that is very good when fresh. I once happened by there when it had just come out of the oven, and it was pretty wonderful. I've learned to ask what is and isn't fresh there - which is necessary.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: round2
                    rcooperman RE: round2 Dec 3, 2013 02:33 PM

                    I brought home two of Moishe's babka on my last trip to NYC. They were OK, but being pareve they lacked the taste of butter. My search goes on.

                    BTW, I too have taken to asking what is fresh in EVERY bakery. Sad one has to do that.

                    1. re: rcooperman
                      janie RE: rcooperman Dec 5, 2013 10:51 AM

                      seriously I don't know why your search is going on still, I gave you the answer, Wall's in Hewlett..I've been to them all, and it's at Wall's, and all the brooklyn places in boro park, they all stink, sorry---http://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/walls-...

                      1. re: janie
                        rcooperman RE: janie Dec 5, 2013 09:00 PM

                        Janie - My search goes on 'cause I do not currently live in NYC and will not be in NYC until early January. Wall's is on my short list.

                        1. re: rcooperman
                          janie RE: rcooperman Dec 8, 2013 11:24 AM

                          ok try to go there first and when you're out on the island swing over to Malverne bakery, phenomenal place----if you love 7 layer chocolate cake they've got it there for only $10 and it's killer--everything there great from mini pastries to black and whites mini carrot cake cupcakes--the best strawberry shortcake--fine ingredients european butter...

                  2. j
                    jns7 RE: rcooperman Dec 3, 2013 12:07 PM

                    Eli's makes wonderful non-chocolate babka.

                    1. Peter RE: rcooperman Dec 6, 2013 08:36 AM

                      There's a new bakery in Manhattan on 16th(?) street directly across from the Union Square Cafe. It has a very simple name -- I think it might be "Bread".

                      The owner is either an Israeli trained in the Nethlands or he's from the Nethlands and trained in Israel. Either way, the babka there is AMAZING. Give it a try.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: Peter
                        jen kalb RE: Peter Dec 6, 2013 02:58 PM

                        according to their advertising this one uses butter, but their website does not show a plain cinnamon babka, only one with chocolate - have you or anybody checked whether they have other types?

                        1. re: jen kalb
                          meatme RE: jen kalb Dec 6, 2013 04:38 PM

                          No cinnamon. The current special is pumpkin.

                          1. re: jen kalb
                            janie RE: jen kalb Dec 8, 2013 11:25 AM

                            their prices are insane at bread and I didn't think it was that great at all

                            1. re: janie
                              rcooperman RE: janie Dec 10, 2013 07:13 PM

                              Pumpkin Babka ???? And I thought choolate is bad enough. Looks like I will skip Breads Bakery.

                            2. re: jen kalb
                              meatme RE: jen kalb Dec 14, 2013 01:34 PM

                              Yesterday's special was cinnamon-raisin.

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