In the golden age of bakeries, it seems that buying a one-loaf bread or a baguette sounds downright old-fashioned. Better to opt for one with seeds, 100% rye, rye with nuts, or whole grain with cereals … And each of them, of course, need to be sourdough.
Just when it seemed that we already knew everything about this basic product, the challah bread, one of the latest gastronomic cries in the Big Apple, entered the scene. From being a product intended exclusively for Jewish celebrations, challah is spreading its tentacles in New York, where it is already a staple product.
But, let’s start at the beginning. Under that name, challah bread hides any bread traditionally intended for Jewish celebrations. However, today we’ll focus on that kind of salty and braided brioche that surely has not gone unnoticed by some of you.
“On Friday morning, many Jewish women bake this bread or buy challah bread, made to celebrate the seventh day of rest. It is a unique time of the week when houses are filled with a wonderful smell of freshly baked bread symbolizing the beginning of the weekly festival, “explains David, co-owner of Zomick’s Kosher Bakery in Inwood, New York.
However, this product, traditionally linked to the Jewish culture, is also present in other regions and cultures, such as Romanian, Polish, or South African quite often under another name. So it is not surprising, together with Zomick’s bakery boom and the great Jewish community present in New York (according to data corresponding to 2015 from the Public Institute for Research on Religions, 8%), that some of its culinary delights became a trend.
“We observe how many non-Jewish people come to our store for this bread, leaving aside its symbolic meaning to simply enjoy its flavor and beauty; the braided shape is now part of any table and food,” highlights Zomick’s owner.
Therefore, it is no wonder that beyond the quintessential New York Jewish Quarter, some of New York’s most renowned bakeries already include this product in their menus. This is the case of Zomick’s Bakery, one of the best in the city according to customer reviews. Located in one of the busiest areas of Manhattan, and is included in the list of the best NYC bakeries that you should not miss in The Big Apple.
The challah bread also has a spiritual benefit, as highlighted by Gourmet Kosher: “The Jewish woman must take a piece of the whole dough, about the size of a walnut, and separate it from the rest. That piece will burn and can not be eaten. It is the symbol of what we must separate from ourselves that we do not like: that none of this enters the eternal spiritual world and that evil is charred. “