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Mar 10, 2007 10:59 PM

best challah in NYC??

and just what defines a kosher bakery or bread product??

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  1. I haven't bought challah at a bakery in NYC that I liked better than Bagel City or Zomick's. You can find them at Fairway and Kosher Marketplace.

    As for your second question, I'm not really sure what you're asking, but basically, a kosher bakery is one with kosher goods as defined by some rabbinical authority.

    1. Personally, I love Zomicks, but that may be because they're so sweet and squishy, if you added some sweetened cream cheese you'd have a cheese danish. Even their whole wheat challahs (and, in their case, whole wheat may be very loosely defined) are sweet. They're available, as DC said, at Fairway and Kosher Marketplace. We also get them at Supersol.

      I've also had, and liked, Orwasher's challah, which I've gotten at Zabar's.

      1. I personally hate Zomicks challah. I guess it depends if you like egg or water challah. I like water challah, soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside. Zomicks challah you need to wear gloves to eat or work with since it is sticky to the touch. I like the challahs by Korn or Groses bakery. Here in the five towns Shlomie's Bakery makes a decent water challah. Zomicks does not know how to make a water challah, theirs is small and very pale.

        To recap, you should be explicit if you are asking about water vs egg challah.

        8 Replies
        1. re: MartyB

          If you're talking about water challah, MarkG, Orwasher's makes one that's sold at Zabar's. I've never had it, but it looks good.

          1. re: MartyB

            People generally either love or hate Zomick's. I'm a fan but can't have it too often as it's just so egg-heavy. I agree that Shloimie's challah is quite good, as is Gotta Getta Bagel's, which are available in several stores (I usually buy it in Brach's). GGB's challah rolls are also quite good and very large.

            1. re: LI Guy

              Another find is the Israeli grocery on the corner of Prospect and Central Ave (I forgot the name). They have bread and challah from Korn bakery - better than anything in the 5 towns. Somehow the classic bakeries in Brooklyn know how to make the best rye breads and water challas - soft and fluffy on the inside and crunchy on the outside.

            2. re: MartyB

              MartyB's "hate" is a little ridiculous since no Zomick's challah is sticky to the touch, accept maybe the round raisin challahs they sell in the Fall. Zomick's-Cederhurst and Steinberg's-Oceanside both make the most amazing egg challahs and whole wheat challahs. They are sold soft, so if you are like MartyB and want a crusty shell, simply throw them in your high heat oven for 5 minutes before sundown. Zomick's challah's are distributed to most major Jewish communities around NYC, so call them to find out what grocer near you may be reselling them.

              1. re: Joe Berger

                The ones that I buy (only in an emergency) come packaged and are sticky to the touch when I remove them from the bag. I like the taste of water challah, ate them my whole life. To me Zomick challah may have the shape of challah, may even look like a challah, but sure don't taste like one - remember I am coming from a water challah world and Zomicks challah tastes vastly different. Shlomie's Bakery makes an egg-water challah that is quite good without being eggy and cakey.

                1. re: MartyB

                  I never even heard of water challah until a friend got a bad cholesterol diagnosis and was told to switch. Isn't challah SUPPOSED to have egg?

                  1. re: DeisCane

                    I have made the following observation, in almost all weddings that I have attended, mostly here in Brooklyn; the large challah that is on the chossen/kallah table was water challah. Coincidence?

                    Anyway, as a bakery I like Zomick, I go there almost every week for my "cheese pocket" that I eat with my Starbucks coffee a few doors down. It just frustrates me why they don't know how to make a water challah.

                    I guess the point is that here at Chowhound, most of us are looking over the shoulders of the posters to get answers to questions ex best pizza etc. Here there are two distinct questions (1) who makes the best egg challah and (2) who makes the best water challah.

                    1. re: MartyB

                      I'd guess that because the challah at the c/k table is mostly for show, the cheaper (ie water) option is the typical choice. We had an egg challah at our wedding, fwiw.

            3. to clarify, i was wondering, what about the baking process or dough prep process makes for kosher/kashruth??

              1. It doesn't have anything non-kosher in it (really). Also, a certain percentage of the dough batch was removed and destroyed without being sold ('taking/separating challah,' which is done for all kosher breads, not just challah). Generally, kosher-certified challahs won't be dairy, either (i.e. no butter) as the large majority of kosher-observant people would be serving it with a meat meal. Most kosher bakeries will also involve someone Sabbath-observant in some step of the baking process, even something as small as turning on the oven. Contrary to popular belief, there is no step in which it's blessed by a rabbi.
                I like a challah on the sweet side, but I think Zomick's is absurd, like eating cake.

                1 Reply
                1. re: GilaB

                  I totally agree with you. Zomick's is like a cake. I absolutely hate it. It has a whimpy yellow crust and the inside is all eggy. I need my crust to be dark and almost chewy. And it needs to taste good when dipped in water. Zomicks' gives me no such pleasure.