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Challah in DC / Northern Virginia

  • d

Anybody have a recommendation for a good place to get challah in DC or Northern Virginia? My wife and I moved to Arlington from St Paul, MN about 4 weeks ago and, believe it or not, we're missing the challah we used to be able to get in Minnesota (Breadsmith). I've seen some places recommended in Maryland, but most of our travels are in the Arlington and Dupont Circle areas, so it would be good to have something more convenient. So far Trader Joe's is in the lead but there is room for improvement from that.

Kosher is preferred but not required; hence the post to this board. (Also, posting to the general DC board was suggested when this topic came up on the kosher board a few months ago.)

Thanks for any suggestions!

David

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  1. A couple of choices:

    Breadline (Penn near 18th NW) has excellent challah, though perhaps only available on Fridays, and during the High Holy Days they run out so fast you have to place an order in advance.

    Whole Foods Markets (all over) have good challah, too.

    Wegmans (in Sterling, VA, near Dulles) is probably too far, but they have great challah.

    Good luck!

    1. Believe it or not, Giant's challah is pretty good.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Skipper

        This is true! But they have two classes of challah, and it really pays to splurge the extra buck to get the expensive challah.

        1. re: Bonz

          I definitely agree.

        2. I am not a Challah consumer but recommend you try Heidelberg Bakery on Lee Hwy at Culpepper in Arl.

          2 Replies
          1. re: naruda

            I second the recommendation for Heidelberg bakery. It is not as good as the Maryland bakeries, but it is pretty good.

            1. re: naruda

              Heidelberg also usually has other Jewish baked goods at other holidays -- can't rave enough about the hamantashen!!!

            2. Marvelous Market's challah is absolutely excellent. Fridays and Saturdays only

              1. Krupins on Wisconsin by the Tenleytown metro has GREAT challah. I use it to make stuffing every year.

                Link: http://www.dcfoodies.com

                1. Thanks for everyone's suggestions. We tried both the Heidelberg challah (with raisins) and the challah from Breadline this weekend. We've also previously tried Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, frozen challah from the supermarket, and challah from the DC JCC that was imported from Maryland. Here's what we thought:

                  Breadline: Probably the freshest of the challahs we tried. The loaf was large but kind of misshapen, and the texture of the dough reminded us of a croissant. The flavor was good and mild, with a little bit of sweetness (a plus in our book). Cost: $5

                  Heidelberg: This one had great potential, but it didn't taste like it was made fresh on Friday which was a real disappointment. The loaf was a beautiful shape, the crust was glazed nicely, and the inside was very velvety in texture. Unfortunately it was dry and stale, especially at the ends. The amazing number of raisins in it helped to counter the dryness somewhat. Flavor was very subtle -- little egg and little sweetness (outside the raisins). Cost: $3.75

                  Trader Joe's: Also very nicely shaped and very soft. Flavor was stronger than most of the others. Cost: $2.99

                  DC JCC: Baked fresh on Thursday, this one was pretty good (and kosher). It is large, with well-defined braids and a nice crust. The texture is good, and the flavor is good although mild. The only problem is, if you want it for Friday night, you can't win -- if you store it in plastic, the crust gets soft, and if you keep it out, it goes stale. Cost: $5

                  Whole Foods: It was nice to have the option of "rolls" or "knots" instead of a whole loaf. However, maybe it's just the one near us (Clarendon), but the product was awful. It tasted at least a week old. Cost: I forget

                  Frozen bake-your-own challah from the supermarket: The most labor-intensive, as you have to thaw it, let it rise, and then bake it yourself. The braids come out well and the entire loaf is very soft, plus it keeps moist longer than any of the store-bought options. It does end up being very dense inside. Taste is sweeter than any of the others, and very eggy. Cost: $3.29 (I think, probably depends on the supermarket)

                  We'll have to test Trader Joe's and the DC JCC again as they are a little fuzzier in our memory. We'll also want to give Heidelberg another chance and maybe check out a non-raisin version.

                  David

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: dweingart

                    I believe that Trader Joe's challah is (or was) made by a bakery in Montreal. It's likely to be made earlier in the week for Thursday delivery here.

                    Another bakery to check in Arlington is Randolph's at 4500 Lee Highway, a couple of blocks east of Glebe Rd. Everything they make there is better than Heidelberg Bakery IMHO, and I know that I have seen braided challah there. Call them up and find out when they have it freshly baked-- 703-243-0070.

                  2. Between Breadline, Marvelous Market and Krupins---which would folks recommend for Challah?

                    1. Suggest you find out where Rosenberg's of Baltimore delivers as they have an incredible challah formed in a round pan. You can shlep to Baltimore (Reisterstown Road) to Seven Mile Market if you have time to sample it! It's yummy.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: csass1

                        This thread is ten years old (but then, good challah is an age-old question). My advice is, make your own. I have never tasted a store-bought challah that was as good as home-made. And it's a very simple recipe.

                        1. re: lawhound

                          Still, many people aren't going to bake their own challah, any more than they are going to make their own chopped liver or gefilte fish. Wegmans challah is very good.

                          Their bialys are also good!

                          1. re: Bob W

                            True, but the degree of difficulty for challah is way less than either gefilte fish or chopped liver.

                            (Also, I'm sure you're right about Wegmans' bialys, but I'm having difficulty wrapping my head around that one.)

                            1. re: lawhound

                              I was pleasantly surprised by the bialys!

                      2. I am looking for a wedding size challah for an October 2015 wedding (4-6 pounds). We live in Silver Spring area so don't want to shlep up to Baltimore. Any suggestions for a good place?

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: adkinsde

                          Shalom Kosher in Kemp Mill probably can do it. Or the Kosher Mart in Rockville.

                          1. re: adkinsde

                            Just had a wedding in DC and the caterer made one so you might want to check with them first. Do you need a kosher challah? If so, I'd go with skipper's suggestion.

                            1. re: adkinsde

                              I imagine Bread Furst could do it for you.