Every morning in the wee wee hours, our bakers fire up the ovens and begin the cherished ritual of creating our daily breads...and a whole host of ridiculously tempting, homey, beautifully crafted treats! Every recipe has a story. Here are a few of our favorite things:
- Corn Tzitzel Rye Bread -- Pratzel's Bakery in St. Louis, the third-generation kosher Jewish bakery into which Mike was born, was known for nearly a century for its corn tzitzel, a specialty rye bread made from sourdough, studded with caraway, and rolled in coarse cornmeal for a unique finish and flavor. Alas, Pratzel's closed its doors in 2011, but we proudly carry on the tradition of this special bread at Manna!
- Rugelach -- This small, classic Jewish pastry is a perfect gem. A cream cheese pastry is tightly rolled with fillings such as chocolate chip plum or poppy seed walnut, then cut into segments and baked til golden and fragrant. Like the little engine that could, this one small pastry leads the way in popularity!
- Weekend Bialys -- The humble bialy is Manna's symbol for craftsmanship and family, and the role of bread in cultural identity. The singular product of a people in a small town in Poland, the bialy was a way of life for the bakers and consumers of this special little bedimpled roll. Rustic, chewy and soft, and slathered with poppy-seed-laced sauteed onions, the bialy was served fresh from oven to mouth, and townspeople lined up to get their "hot bialys." The name of the town was Bialystock, and its people were erased by the Nazis in World War II. But descriptions of the old-time techniques survive (as well as a very few of the townfolk), and at Manna we strive to recreate these techniques, with the love we believe must have gone into them at one time.
- Sticky Buns (aka morning buns, which is what they really are anyway) -- All you old Ovens lovers know what we mean. A nod to Nancy Christie, who created this phenomenon, and to our baker, who made them at the Ovens once upon a time. We like to think we make the real McCoy here, but we call it a sticky bun because, well, morning bun was someone else's name! Cinnamon, yeast, lots of buttery flake. It is a thing of understated, simple elegance.
- Mint Meltaway Cookies -- Depending on the season, these may be bunnies or lips or (for election day) the State of Wisconsin. A minted shortbread cookie is piped with a creamy minted white chocolate ganache, then dipped in dark chocolate. Have 'em cold from the fridge (like Thin Mints) or warm and gooey. They are irresistible.
- Peanut Butter Ripple Cookies -- A homey cookie from an old Maida Heatter recipe, made "famous" around these parts by someone's son for a fourth grade video project (same son now a chef in New York City). Two layers of a chewy fudge cookie hide a layer of rich, soft peanut butter filling. Ask anyone.
- Diana's Pumpkin Chiffon Pie -- Only a few people remain to "tell all," and the story of this pie is one of love lost and love gained. The short of it is, our family was a bunch of pumpkin-pie haters (as in we never had it in the household) until this pie entered our lives and wooed us. There is nothing close. Light and airy, but pumpkiny and addicting. Pumpkin chiffon pie in a gingersnap crust, with a creamy topping of Sassy Cow whipped cream. Here we come Thanksgiving...!
- Sunrise Muffins -- Healthful, moist, and utterly delicious, this wakeup muffin features carrot, zucchini, apple, and a smidgen of coconut (plus applesauce, which gives this muffin its moist character -- and its dairy-free claim to fame!). Choose these on a day when you need to make up for the pumpkin chocolate chip muffin you indulged in yesterday (which, by the way, are also dairy-free).
- Multigrain Bread -- We can't leave this perfect loaf out of our list. We dare to say that this deeply flavorful, moist, textured bread is the best you ever will have had.