Sundown tomorrow evening marks the beginning of Rosh Hashanah, the "head of the year" or Jewish New Year. Challah, traditional egg bread served on the Sabbath in the form of a loaf -- plain or braided -- is shaped into a round spiral for the holiday. The round shape symbolizes life's continuity and the cycle of the seasons.
Challah and apples are dipped in honey to begin the Rosh Hashanah meal as a prayer is recited asking for a sweet year ahead.
Sweet flavors are not limited to the beginning and end of the meal; savory dishes are laced with honey and sweet fruits as well. Which means, challah has a lot of competition on the table.
Great challah is a stand out, able to lead the way and complement the traditional holiday dishes. It is bread that invites you to indulge for a night. Our ideal challah has a crust that is deep golden brown, a slight yellow interior color that appears naturally from eggs in the dough, a substantial crumb that allows the bread to be pulled apart, and a hint of sweetness from honey.
Find out where to buy it after the jump.
Valley bread bakeries and delis are stoking the ovens to prepare for the tens of thousands of loaves that will be purchased this week. Check the following listing to find our favorite bread. Too much to do and no time to cook? Check where to pick up your holiday meal from soup to sweets.
Simply Bread (2117 North 24th Street) crafts artisan breads, and heads our list for best challah. Apple cake, honey cake, and Simply Bread's local honey round out their line up for Rosh Hashanah. Four kinds of challah: poppy seed, sesame seed, plain and golden raisin are available through AJ's Fine Foods, Whole Foods, Imperial Kosher Market, Scottsdale Kosher Market, and the Kosher Corner.
New York Bagels N' Bialys (10320 North Scottsdale Road). Find plain and raison challah along with honey cake, and don't pass up their superior bagels. Also on the holiday menu: house made gefilte fish, chopped liver, matzo ball soup, sweet and sour cabbage, brisket, zsimmes, chicken and kugel. Three- day notice for complete holiday meals ordered to go.
AZ Bread Company (7000 E. Shea Blvd) sells plain and golden raisin challah at their two valley locations. They are taking pre-orders for the holiday rounds; pick up some scratch made matzo ball soup with chicken while you are there.
Goldman's Best Cooking (6929 North Hayden Road) takes orders through today for plain or raisin challah, house made chopped liver and house made gefilte fish. Their bread is locally baked using the Goldman family recipe. Sweet dessserts include honey cake and rugelach. Goldman's will close at 3:00 PM on holiday.
Wildflower Bread Company (locations Valleywide) sells challah plain and with golden raisins. Pre orders recommended for pick up on Thursday. Wildflower also offers challah buns: slider size, sandwich size, hot dog and mini-hot dog size by special order. Worth remembering for a tailgate picnic!
Chompie's (locations Valleywide) choices for holiday challah include plain, golden raisin, and honey- glazed almond. There is no cut off for pre orders. Their challah is also available at Fry's Food Stores, all locations. If your idea for a holiday is getting out of the kitchen, make your reservation at Chompie's or take out house made gefilte fish, chopped liver, matzo ball soup and sweet desserts to complement your cooking.
Karsh's Bakery (5555 North 7th Street) makes plain or raisin "rudish" (round) challahs, poppy seed or sesame by special order. Karsh's bakes orange chiffon cake, honey cake (with or without nuts), marble pound cake and sponge cake for the holiday. Pick up at Karsh's or AJ's Fine Foods.
Karl's Bakery (8847 North 7th Avenue) is a Sunnyslope neighborhood favorite. Not on your radar? Karl's is definitely worth a stop for bread and sweets. Call ahead to pre-order Karl's old world style challah. Pick up a pound or two of Karl's cookies and pastries for dessert.
Besides the bread, other places to find holiday food to go:
AJ's Fine Foods (all locations): along with Simply Bread and Karsh' goods, AJ's offers a complete holiday meal to go: Choice of Braised Beef Brisket, Seared Salmon, or Roasted Chicken Breast with roasted red potatoes, carrot tzimmes, and matzo ball soup. Items are also available a la carte. For orders of 6 or more, order by September 6th.
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Imperial Kosher Market 737 East Glendale Avenue: A full service kosher market, with products from NYC, CA, and Israel. Good selection of kosher wines. Imperial carries full line of holiday items from Simply Bread. Call ahead to have roasted brisket or BBQ chicken ready for pick up. Closes early on holiday.
Scottsdale Kosher Market 10211 North Scottsdale Road: Features challah and desserts from Simply Bread and four other certified kosher bakeries from NYC. Brings in brands like Wiseman, Oberlander and Greene's to satisfy the taste buds of transplanted East Coast natives. Call ahead for prepared food to go from appetizers to dessert. Close early on holiday.
Segal's One Stop Market 4818 N 7th Street: The name says it all. Kosher market and deli with house made bread and desserts. Call ahead for holiday orders. Closes early on holiday.