Saturday, October 8, 2011

Knish 4.0: Knishnaut

Well, THAT was educational! I paid closer attention to each one, each step of the way, and here's what I discovered:
  • Potato: This is the first time I used russets rather than Eastern. Easterns are good because they're potentially local, but they're like the AP flour of potato -- good for most things, but not if you're making pastries or hearty bread. Russets milled a lot lighter and flakier, but developed a nice smoothness when worked in with the other ingredients. For the basic potato, it was caramelized onions, eggs, some vegetable shortening, several grinds of black pepper, and salt -- nothing more. Had to go back and add salt and taste a few times before it started singing.
  • Sweet Potato: This was supposed be sweet potato curry, but realized at the last minute I threw out my curry powder last week because it didn't smell fresh. Since the sweet potato mash alone is very moist, I mixed about 2/3 sweet potato with 1/3 plain potato to get it firm, along with onion, egg, a little vegetable shortening, and salt. For this round, instead of curry, I added a bit of cayenne (not so much for spice as to round out the flavor). Due to moisture, they spread a little more than others.
  • Broccoli Cheddar: This is like the little twerp you think will be a drain on your baseball team but, in order to be fair, have no choice but to include...only to watch him turn out to be a strong member. Broccoli, shredded mild cheddar, potato, egg, and pepper (no shortening or salt needed due to the cheese). They baked up nice and firm, no problems.
  • Spinach: As with the sweet potato, added about 1/3 plain potato to the garlic-soaked spinach for firmness, along with some egg. No need for shortening as the spinach was already cooked in it, salt to make it hollah like yo momma.
  • Kasha: Problematic. I was hoping I might make this a "vegan" entry to the menu but the grain was just too....grainy, crumbly, loose. So egg and potato had to go in to firm it up, along with some shortening plus a bigger black pepper grind than the others. I had to trash a few with the original mix because they would just flop open when sealed.
  • Chocolate Hazelnut Cheese: Interesting. This is essentially V 1.0 of this knish. Lined cupcake tin with dough, scooped in the filling, folded flaps over the tops. They came out goonish, the filling expanded and burst, the bottoms burned. Despite these setbacks, the filling was firm, sweet, chocolate-cheesy in just the right balancce. Needs some cocoa powder, maybe some hazelnut extract, lower temp, less filling to account for expansion...but a solid first step.
  • Misc: Found out that adding scraps of dough to fill out the square pieces cut out of round sheets works well without harming quality -- good efficiency saving. Oven ran at 425 convection mode. First round I did the cupcake tray on the bottom, elevated by another cupcake tray which was fine, but on the second round put knishes on a broiler pan on top of tray; they burned. I added another protective pan and that did the trick. But! Doing so prevented the two trays above from browning. If I'm going to run three sheets per batch in my home oven instead of the standard two, I gotta figure this out.


  1. Hi,
    It just so happens that I was recently working on a modern version of the potato knish. If you want to take a look at the result: