You might smell the new Russian Piroshky bakery and deli in Milton before you actually see it. It was my nose and a delicious yeasty aroma that led me to the new take-out store that opened two weeks ago.
This is the first venture for Olga and Roman Grezhdieru, a young couple with a penchant for baked piroshky.
Baked piroshky? Yes, they only make baked piroshky.
“It’s true, most piroshky is fried,” said Olga when I asked about her recipes. “We asked people before we opened, ‘What what would you like?’ We went and asked our friends and family and everybody likes piroshky, but they said they’re too greasy. So we came up with a recipe to bake them instead of fry them.”
Another reason for the baking of the piroshky is the hefty estimate the couple received to install a grease trap that, simply put, safely transports fryer oil to the sewer. The couple didn’t have the money to modify the space.
Goodbye fryers, hello oven.
Olga and Roman arrive at the shop daily at 6 a.m. to make the dough from scratch for about 20 kinds of piroshky. They make two kinds of dough: A yeasty, chewy, bready dough and a buttery, pastry-style dough that flakes like a turnover. Fillings range from rich and savory to sour and salty, to simply sweet. The display case offers a selection of dessert pastries, as well as a selection of Russian meats, cheeses and breads. Piroshky are priced around $2.25-$3.25 for savory; and $1.49-$1.99 for sweet.
The piroshky menu is handwritten in chalk on a board behind the display case, and examples are on display on the counter. For now, the menu remains the same daily, but Olga said they have been adding piroshky as customers request new flavors. One of the most popular piroshky, Olga, said, is a smoked salmon piroshky ($3.25). I can see why. The chewy, yeasty bread pocket, shaped like a fish, came stuffed with a pate-style smoked salmon and cream cheese mixture flavored with a hint of onion and the taste of fresh herbs.
A chewy round potato piroshky ($2.50) was filled with creamy, shredded potatoes punctuated with a surprising vinegar bite, and a touch of cheese baked into the dough. A salty cabbage, carrot and mushroom piroshky offered substantial chewy resilience in the dough.
I found the flaky, pastry-style piroshky texturally more appealing than the bready pocket version. The bacon-sauerkraut ($2.25) from the flaky piroshky menu was my favorite. A buttery crust yielded to a puckery filling of heavily peppered sauerkraut threaded with chunks of chewy bacon. The Bavarian sausage ($2.50) piroshky was the least interesting for my palate. It was a simple sausage in pastry crust, with no other fillings to add flavor dimension.
The small deli has four tables with 16 seats for eating, but most of the business is take-out. The piroshky are served warm from the kitchen. If ordering more than one kind, you may want to ask that the piroshky be marked somehow, as the piroshky look similar and you may not know which flavor you’ve got until you bite into it.
The recipes have been handed down from family members; the ingredients modified through trial and error. The idea of the bakery started as a lark. Roman kept joking with Olga that she should open a piroshky restaurant. It was Olga’s mother, who lives in Federal Way, who urged the couple to move here from Wenatchee, planting the seed for opening a bakery. Their plans to open the piroshky store solidified after their move across the mountains. Olga and Roman, parents of an 18-month-old, live in a small apartment near the piroshky shop.
Where: 2800 Milton Way, Milton
Hours: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday. Closed Sunday
Prices: $2.25-$3.25 each for savory piroshky; $1.49-$1.99 for sweet piroshky.
Regular flavors: Smoked salmon and cream cheese; potato and cheese; potato and mushroom; beef and cheese; cabbage carrot and mushroom; cheddar cheese and garlic roll.
Flaky pastry flavors: Chicken and mushroom; spinach feta cheese; beef and onion; sauerkraut and bacon; ham and cheese and Bavarian sausage.
Sweet piroshky: Cherry, apple or apple lemon turnovers; cream cheese envelopes, baked apples with maple syrup and Swan-shaped pastry filled with cream.