Joe’s Kentucky Knishes

As I’ve been saying, I don’t make “authentic” knishes most of the time (I think I’ve cast reasonable doubt as to whether such a thing even exists). My little ones turn their noses up at traditional pocket pie crusts. I don’t know if it’s the color, the texture or what. Who can fathom the depths of a toddler’s tastes? However they love brioche. And while brioche isn’t as easy as a simple stir-and-roll pie dough, it tastes a lot better. It’s also a very handy thing to have in your baking repertoire. There’s a tutorial for it under Pastry Components.

Begin by generously flouring a pastry board.

Apply a lump of brioche dough, straight from the fridge (about half of your standard recipe)…

…and rolling it out very thin, about 1/8 inch

Apply a round cutter to the dough. Here I’m using a 3 5/8″ ring, but you can go bigger if you like a bigger knish.

Apply a heaping tablespoon of your choice of filling. To go traditional, combine about two cups of cooked red potato with half a cup of finely chopped caramelized onions. Salt and pepper to taste. (Take it uptown by stirring in a couple of ounces of goat cheese.)

If meat is your thing, you can go that way, too. Sauté one small chopped yellow onion in a tablespoon of butter. Add half a pound of ground beef, lamb or — steady purists — pork. When the meat is fully cooked, drain off the fat. Lastly, add about a cup of diced potato that you’ve sautéed in butter until browned. Cool.

As I mentioned previously, my girls love country ham and cheese, which I guess makes this a true Kentucky knish.

However you decide fill them, apply another circle of dough to the top.

Press the edges down lightly to get the air out.

You can skip this next step if you like, though I find it useful for keeping the filling from spreading and/or leaking. Take a circle cutter just big enough to encircle the dough, turn it so the lip is facing down…

..and lightly press to seal the filling in.

Fold the edges in and press to crimp. I don’t worry about form too much…

…because I flip them when I put them on the baking sheet. This gives me a smooth top without a seam.

Proof these for half an hour while you preheat your oven to 350. Apply egg wash and bake for 25-30 minutes until golden.

6 thoughts on “Joe’s Kentucky Knishes”

  1. 11 oz of flour – I figure that’s about a cup and a third but I’ve had to add at least 2/3 cup of flour more to form a ball of dough like you have shown in the picture. I’m worried I’ve done something wrong. Please advise. Thank you.

    1. Hey Linda! 11 ounces is two cups. Don’t I indicate that? Then shame on me. I’ll fix it. Thanks!

      – Joe

  2. Dear Joe;

    Thank you for your dough recipe and Knish forming technique. I have totally adopted your approach. As a Jewish kid in Brooklyn growing up eating Knishes, I have vivid memories of going to Brighton Beach Baths on Brighton Beach Avenue and stopping in for Knishes on the way to the D train (back to Kings Highway). These references probably don’t mean much to you Joe, but your readers from Brooklyn will appreciate them. Oh btw, I’ve been researching Knishes (don’t ask me why) and have come to agree with your assessment that there IS no standard. You’re doing a great job and I love your web site.


    1. Well what a great thing to find in my in-box! Thanks so much, David! I grew up in Chicago were knishes weren’t as common, but managed to find a few of the real deal when I finally made it to New York in the 90’s. In those days it seemed like you really had to go out of your way to find them. I’m impressed that so many people are interested in making them at home these days. My tra-dish knishes are modeled on some that I bought at Barney Greengrass on Amsterdam one day. These brioche versions are more of an improvisation, but my girls like them almost as much.

      So nice to meet you and please com back often!


      – Joe

  3. Please where are the ingredients great seeing the steps for rolling out the dough. My dough wasn’t smoothi was afraid kneading would make it tough.

    1. Hey Maxine!

      I added a link to the brioche dough, the rest of the ingredients are talked about in the text of the recipe (it’s a little improvisational). Remember, just about any good leftovers make a terrific knish!



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *