Photos by Dave Zucker
Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are right around the corner, and sharing a challah bread with loved ones is always a staple in starting the new year off on a warm, and tasty, note. Whether you’re looking for a recipe passed down through generations or a fun alternative on the tradition, we’ve rounded up a list of challahs in Westchester that will have you breaking off another piece.
“The mitzvah of taking challah can only be done if the bread is made with one of five grains,” says Deborah Helene Godin, owner of B.T.W. “Four of the five grains have gluten in them, so we make our challah with oat flour.”
The alternative adds a bit of sweetness to this crown-shaped, certified kosher challah, making it a great kick-off to a sweet new year. The bakery takes challah orders until September 25 for Rosh Hashanah and until October 4 for Yom Kippur.
Photos by Dave Zucker
While this challah isn’t for everyone, butter and milk make for a more tender and richer dough, says the bakery’s owner, Jeffrey Kohn. Dairy is used to make the shop’s sweeter breads like brioche, a long-time favorite, and cinnamon swirl. You can find braided challahs here year-round, but traditional round challahs are sold for the holidays.
This spot is inclusive with those who like a little more flavor in their challah, offering three different kinds: chocolate, raisin, and plain. For those who want seeds, the bakery is happy to make challahs with poppy or sesame for anyone who makes a request.
Going strong since 1908, this spot got its start as an Italian bakery. Now, it’s making our list for being a local favorite for challah, and while it does have butter and non-fat dry milk, this spot is a sure choice for someone who’s looking to stray from the traditional version.
For those who are perfectly satisfied with a classic challah, you can find twisted and round breads here, both plain and with raisins.
Another spot with Italian roots, the owner of this bakeshop, Joe Floriano, says, “I knew what I needed to do when the third customer who came in asked for challah.” Floriano had to ask his bakers how to twist the dough, and he was pleasantly surprised when a Dominican baker was the one to teach him.
Now, the shop’s braided challahs are enjoyed by a range of Westchester residents year-round and are made into rounds to celebrate the holidays on the 22nd, so be sure to get ahead of the rush.
With a 100-year-old traditional German-Jewish family recipe in the hands of 88-year-old baker, Eugene Randecker, this challah has its best bet on becoming your new tradition for the holidays. This long-time bench baker has been at this spot for 18 years, since retiring from his own business.
While it’s unlikely you’ll get to meet Eugene, since he’s in the bakery from 3 to 8:00 a.m., you’re sure to get your hands on one by coming early. Traditional braided challah is available all year, but round 1.5 lb. loaves are only available for the holidays so make sure to call ahead (at least three days) to guarantee your larger orders.
This cafe-bakery has an entire menu dedicated to these two holidays, with no price minimum for orders. What sets the bakery’s challah bread apart is its amount of egg yolks and the addition of honey, says French chef and founder, Jean-Jacques Gabrillargues. You can find challah here at the end of every week for Shabbat, but during the holidays this hot commodity is sold every day, in a round shape and with or without raisins, starting on the 25th.
Long, braided loaves are available every Friday at this market filled with homemade goodies, but you can hit up the spot for round loaves for the holidays, which are baked with and without raisins. This challah’s, ” artisanal dough, made in small batches, has a soft, pillowy feel that creates a melt-in-the-mouth experience,” says owner, Mark Kramer.
Get a feel for them yourself when you pick them up for Rosh Hashanah on the 29th and for Yom Kippur on October 9, and accompany the loaf with an assortment of entree, side, and dessert options on the market’s vast holiday menus.