No visit to New York City is complete without stopping at Yonah Schimmel’s Knish Bakery on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, where they have been selling knishes since 1890. And they even have vegan ones! At one time, knisheries could be found all over the city, from Coney Island in Brooklyn to Forest Hills in Queens. Even though they never made it as big as bagels, knishes are a quintessential New York food. Try them with a schmear of brown mustard for the truly authentic New York City knish experience. And FYI, the “k” in “knish” is not silent.
New York Style Knishes [Vegan]
For the Dough:
- 1/2 cup canola oil or other neutral oil
- 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
- 3/4 cup water
- 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 medium Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon vegan butter
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Ground black pepper, to taste
- Plain unsweetened non-dairy milk, for brushing
- In a small bowl combine the canola oil, vinegar, and water. Mix well.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the oil mixture. Mix until just combined, then knead lightly into a ball for 1 minute (the dough will feel somewhat oily). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough sit for 1 hour at room temperature to relax. While the dough is relaxing, prepare the filling.
- Fill a large pot with water. Add the potatoes and bring them to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the potatoes are fork-tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and transfer the potatoes to a large bowl to cool.
- While the potatoes are cooling, heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until nicely caramelized, about 25 minutes. Add the onion, butter, salt, and pepper to the potatoes and mash them together. The mixture should be smooth with no big lumps.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 18x12-inch baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Divide the dough in half. On a floured work surface, roll one of the dough halves as thin as you can into a rectangle without tearing it.
- Use the mashed potatoes to create a 2-inch thick log across the bottom of one of the long sides of the rectangle. Carefully roll the dough once to wrap the dough around the filling log. Make two additional rolls so you end up with three layers of dough wrapped around the potato filling. Don’t roll it too tightly or else it will break open while cooking.
- To shape the knish, pinch the log of potato-filled dough off at 2 or 3-inch lengths, give it a twist and then cut it off. Pinch the ends shut to enclose the filling. Place the knish upright on the work surface and press it down with your hand to form a squat, round shape. Press the cut side down with your hand to keep it from puffing up in the oven.
- Repeat these steps until all the dough and filling are used up. You can now bake the knishes, refrigerate them for a few days, or freeze them for up to 3 months.
- To bake the knishes, place them on the prepared baking sheets, brush them with a little milk and cook them for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the crust is golden. If preparing frozen knishes, let them thaw and then bake as directed. Serve warm.