NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Pastry chef Adir Michaeli gained renown at Breads Bakery, where he developed the recipe for the widely beloved babka. He’s now taking his skills to a place of his own.
At Michaeli Bakery, he focuses on the pastries of his native Israel. Alongside the in-demand babka are treats like a mini kugelhopf, a cake with citrus and almond baked in a Bundt mold.
“The Israeli who come in here are definitely looking for home,” he said. “So right away, we get them some burekas and rugelach.”
His rugelach are mini versions of the chocolate babka, made with the same dough. His tip for selecting the best rugelach: Choose the ones that look sunken in, since those contain the most chocolate filling.
In addition to classic cheese burekas, he makes pizza burekas—tomato sauce, cheese, and olive tapenade baked into puff pastry.
Adir opted for a vegan interpretation of sfinge, a Moroccan doughnut traditionally served in Israel for the Mimouna celebration. He calls his version “ugly doughnuts” for their asymmetrical shape.
When it comes to his pastries, Michaeli prefers a rustic, homey presentation.
“Sometimes, when it’s too fine or too perfect, it’s not inviting anymore,” he said.
To him, baking technique should be equally straightforward.
“End of the day, we just like to bake. It’s not rocket science,” he said. “You bite. It feels good. That’s what I care about.”
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