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Jun 26, 2003 06:07 PM

why can't i get a decent Challah in DC?

  • r

My wife & I are both from New York and love Zomick's... when we go up there we usually buy a bunch and freeze them. But I wish there was a better way!

The Challahs from KosherMart & Katz's are tasteless or too dry... Shaul's is a hike from where we live.

any secret stashes in the DC area (particularly the potomac/rockville area)?


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  1. The DCJCC at 16th and Q sells challah, though I've never bought it (I make my own). I think that Heller's Bakery in Mount Pleasant also sells it, I'll check the next time I go. I know I've seen challah in other places, I'll try to take note and post back.

    3 Replies
    1. re: butterfly

      My suggestion is bake your own. i grew up in a family where my parents would bake about a dozen challot at a time and then freeze them. So baking challa seemed like too huge a task to undertake. No I bake every other week and make four small challot - so I can do it every other week. It isn't that difficult to do. You can set up the dough thursday after dinner.. let it rise in the fridge, form the dough in the morning, set it in the fridge again and then bake when you come home from work. I work out of my house so i deal with the dough in short segments a few times during the day on friday. I only bake when shabbat starts late.. during the winter I make chicken soup instead. I use a higher fat, higher suger version of Mollie katzen's challa recepie. Be sure to use high gluten flour or add a couple of table spoons of gluten to your flour. I know it sounds like I'm trying to Martha Stewart you.. but it really isn't hard. I'm not telling you to grow your own chickens... I'm talking about an hour total of actual work (as opposed to the time the dough needs to rise).. If you want the recipie that i use.. i will be happy to send it on to you...


      1. re: sarah

        My memories of challah in N.Y. was of a somewhat hard (crusty) exterior, and a slightly sweet "eggy" interior.
        Does your adjustment of Kazen's recipe produce this? Or is the outside soft?

        1. re: Derek

          This challa has a soft interior. the crust isn't that hard but has a bit of bite.

          This is the challa I make most weeks. this is adapted from Mollie katzenHope you like it.Don't worry too much about the exact amount of flour.. what you add mostly depends on the flour you have , the weather and how you have stored the flour. Add as much as you need to have a smooth elastic unsticky dough.

          sarah in nyc

          2 1/2 c luke warm watere
          1 pkg dry yeast
          3/4 c sugar or honey
          3 eggs
          1 heaping T salt
          1/2 c oil
          8-9c flour

          1put water in large bowl sprinkle in yeast & a bit of sugar - let it hang out for 5 minutes

          2 - add sweetner 2 eggs salt , oil and beat with a whisk for several minutes

          3 - add flour 1 c at a time, at first mix with the whisk, then move to a woooden spoon & then use your hand. stop adding flour when the dough is no longer sticky

          4 - turn the dough out on a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes. oil the bowl and dump it back in covered with a clean dishtowel.

          5 - put the dough in a warm place and let it hang out until doubled. punch it down once and let it go back to work give it more rising time

          6 - knead the dought for another 3-5 minutes and then...time to shape the loaves - punch the dough down again and divide into four lumps. i like to make four stranded braids _ i think they look better. I like to fold the ends underneath. I think It gives a prettier looking challa. - so divide your smaller lump into four equal sized lumps - make each lump into a snake and braid the four snakes together - repeat with each lump. You may want to make some challa rolls as well (just knot your snake for that)
          pre heat the oven to the highest temp your oven goes to.
          7 - separate the last egg. put the white on your face for a great mask. meanwhile add a tsp of cornstarch to the yolk and some water and brush each challa - this will give you a nice shiny crisp crust. the cornstarch just gives the crust a bit more body.You can leave out the cornstarch if you are morally opposed to it or have no corn starch hanging around your house. turn the oven temp down to 375 bake the challa until it is done (knock on the challa and it sounds hollow) tip the challot over so the bottom gets crispy too.

          that's it!

          sarah from nyc

    2. b
      Bride of the Juggler

      Does Posner's still exist? If so you could try there. Thanks.

      1. It may not be Chowhoundish, but try Giant's challah at a store with a bakery. We've tried others, but keep coming back to the old relaible.

        1. Trader Joe's has great challah - the best we've found in DC. Also, there are shipments of Zomick's challah that come in - check
          Good luck!

          1. Kosher Pastry Oven in Wheaton Triangle.
            Expensive, but on par with Zomicks, really.
            Lived in 5 towns for 8 years, and it is really as good.

            1 Reply
            1. re: J. Frances
              Suzette Tanen

              Hi Rabbi Frances, it's Suzette. I agree with you 100%. My answer? The challah recipe in the Yeshiva girls' cookbook from a few years ago. It's perfect challah. I recently switched to half whole wheat and half white and it's still perfect. The recipe makes three loaves or loads of rolls, and they freeze beautifully.
              Hope this helps.