The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Tzitzle Rye

littlejay's picture
littlejay

Tzitzle Rye

Growing up in St. Louis in the early 60's we bought a rye bread with a coating of corm meal (maybe) called tzitzle rye. Does anyone know exactly what the crust is rolled in to make it "tzitzle?"

arlo's picture
arlo

Last time I had tzitzle rye, the crust was not rolled in anything at all. But cornmeal does sound correct for what rye is typically rolled in to get a nice crunch from each bite.

varda's picture
varda

and used to buy Tzitzel from Pratzel's.   I actually have tried really hard to recreate that Tzitzel and have posted about it several times http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/21310/authentic-tzitzel-i-can-make on TFL.   Since my last post on the subject, I got in touch with one of the Pratzel family and she shared information about what flour they use.   She told me that Pratzel's uses medium rye and regular bread flour (not First Clear flour.)    I have been meaning to buy medium rye and try it but have been distracted with other things.   My sister, however, tried it, and said it was very close to what she remembered.   -Varda

varda's picture
varda

I didn't answer your question - it is rolled in cornmeal.  

littlejay's picture
littlejay

Wow! The memories I have of that place.    Pulling up to the back entrance late at night and buying them not right from the baker? Good times!

What are your memories of the place? And tell more about your interviews.

Meanwhile, I'm wondering what grind of corn meal and how did they get it to stick?

varda's picture
varda

I just remember the bread.    I don't recall much about the bakery itself, other than its old location on Delmar.   I think it has since moved to Olive Blvd (in Creve Coeur?)   But my father used to buy the Tzitzel, and if I saw a loaf on the counter, look out.   I assumed that the world was full of Tzitzel bread, but when I moved away from St. Louis, I only found it once - at a now defunct (and fabulous) sandwich shop in Harvard Square (Cambridge Mass).   A year and a half ago when I started making bread I became interested (ok, obsessed) with trying to recreate the bread.   The problem was I didn't have much experience with making bread of any kind, and rye isn't the easiest thing to start with.   I emailed Pratzels to see if they could give me any pointers, and got a brief reply from Elaine Pratzel saying it was just a Jewish Rye wrapped in cornmeal.   Eventually (with a lot of help from people on TFL and Greenstein's Secrets of a Jewish Baker) I figured out how to put together a passable Jewish Rye, but it still didn't taste like I remembered.   Finally it occured to me that the rye mattered.   After trying a variety of things, I finally mixed whole rye and white rye, and got something very close.  I emailed Elaine Pratzel again and begged her to tell me what kind of flour they used.   She answered Medium Rye (which I never thought to try) and a regular bread flour (not even high gluten and definitely not First Clear.)  Armed with this information I....  passed it along to my sister who had gotten interested.... as my obsessions had moved on.   She made it a few times with medium rye and said it was a dead ringer for Pratzel's Tzitzel.  One of the things she was unsatisfied with was the cornmeal.   She had tried Albers (I've never seen it around here) and didn't think that was right, so she was going to try Arrowhead and/or Bob's Red Mill next.   Meanwhile the Pratzels were retiring and the younger generation wasn't interested in taking over the bakery, and they were about to close it down.   This seemed to create something of a crisis in St. Louis both from foodies and Orthodox Jews who relied on them.   The last I heard is they found a buyer and the bakery was going to stay open.    Anyhow, that's probably more than you want to know.   Have you been making Tzitzel?   How is it going?  -Varda

littlejay's picture
littlejay

Fascinating. Thanks.

I don't remember much about the bread, just the crust.

If you have the recipe, please post.

I'm not obsessed about baking bread - more like a pleasant insanity.

2 years ago I baked and gave away close to 1500 loaves - to good people, friends, daughter's HS teachers, women's shelters, firemen and even guys begging quarters on the street. Have plans to expand the movement but I've had to work harder these past few years gathering the shekls! I'll get back to the grass roots baking effort in the future with some help.

Speaking of gathering shekls....

 

varda's picture
varda

1500 loaves?   That's a huge amount.   How did you bake so much?   Did you have help?   A bakery to work in?   That's amazing.   Pleasant insanity, obsession, what's the diff?   It's the engine that makes us do things.   I guess in my case (and baking much, much less than you) I just got interested in so many different breads that I couldn't maintain my focus on just one.   But I'm still planning to get back to tzitzel.  

littlejay's picture
littlejay

If you do a search on Jay Kaiser in TFL you can see the thread I started in 2009.

The original goal was 1000 loaves. It grew.

I baked them all myself in my kitchen and in the WFO.

My kitchen oven can actually bake 16 loaves at a time just have to move the racks once.

I developed a recipe that included malt, oats, 3 kinds of flour and it was fab.  I guess I got bored with that and transitioned to rye. Now I've got a repeatable rye loaf that I'm baking. This weekend my goal is to bake 12 loaves (2.5 lb each) in the WFO and take them around on Monday to delis and ethnic butcher shops where they speak with a heavy accent. German, Polish. I'll give them a loaf each and ask how my bread stacks up to the ones they are using.

If they love my bread and want to buy it I'm in real trouble! I love to bake but...how to make any money at it is another story.

varda's picture
varda

Hope this works out.  -Varda

Elagins's picture
Elagins

The recipe for tzitzelbroyt will be in Inside the Jewish Bakery as a variation of Old School Jewish Deli Rye.  It's too important to ignore.

Stan Ginsberg
www.nybakers.com

varda's picture
varda

I'm looking forward to that.  -Varda

littlejay's picture
littlejay

Finally have a recipe that works consistantly with a crust that is getting close.

Instead of using cornmeal, I've been using a polenta grind that seems right.

The Pratzle's rye I remember must have had white corn meal instead of yellow.

And of course mine doesn't have the paper union baker's stamp I remember on the bottom of the load.

At any rate I've got it down and if anyone's interested I'll post the recipe.

varda's picture
varda

picking up a conversation after 2 years as if no time had gone by whatsoever.   But this is TFL.   You don't have to ask about posting a recipe.   Yes, let's see it.    In the meantime I have used the recipe in Inside the Jewish Bakery, and have been very happy with it.    But just recently I baked a deli rye at a King Arthur class and no matter what I remember, I don't think I've ever tasted anything better.   That's my next Jewish Rye.   -Varda

mgbetz's picture
mgbetz

Please post the recipe!  

Me and my rye bread obsessed son will be very happy to try it. 

 

He loves the taste of rye, will buy me the ingredients to make it. Sigh. He is not interested in making bread.

 

Stuart Borken's picture
Stuart Borken

I recall in the late 1940's and early 50's being given some change and told to go buy a tzitzelbroyt at the Jewish bakery about a mile away.  I would walk to the bakery.  I never liked to be sent there.  It smelled great.  What made it such a negative experience was the large number of heafty Jewish women who would elbow me away from the counter when I finally would get close enough to ask for my bread.  I was taught to be polite to older people and expecially ladies.  It would take me for ever to get my bread.  It was coated in carraway seeds, not corn meal.  Maybe that was just a Minneapolis, Jewish Bakery affectation.  Every bread had a paper sticker on the top saying it was union made.

littlejay's picture
littlejay

recipe posted, let me know how it turns out

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

it littlejay?  Pratzel's tzitzel is one of my next bakes!

Found it under recipes.  Thanks