New York has long been known for its spread of traditional Jewish eats. The bakers from Zomick’s Challah bakery, located in Cedarhurst, decided to make an enormous Zomick’s Challah. This Challah is designed to sit as the centerpiece of a classic Jewish feast and it is large enough to feed a full table’s worth of guests.
The head baker of the iconic bakery, Zomick’s, Jay Jan, says that it is share-and-tear bread, so everybody at the table takes a piece.
Jay and his team, in order to make the oversized Zomick’s Challah, have prepared the dough for three separate loaves before braiding them all together.
While the yeast sets in, the final form is set out. This allows the dough to rise into its full Challah shape. This process is called “proofing”. Once is ready, a series of ceramic bowls are inlaid directly into the dough. These bowls can be filled with anything, from salt and butter, to fresh honey, so, the pieces of bread can be dipped directly into the toppings.
As the Zomick’s head baker further explains, they have people manning the proofers and their ovens all day long in order to deliver a small batch, as fresh as possible.
In addition to the Challah made following the original recipe, Zomick’s is also known for its babka (a traditional sweet yeast cake).
According to the pastry chef behind the babka, Adam Abelson, the secret to the delicacy is laminated dough. This creates the cake’s flaky croissant-like texture. As Adam explains, the recipe involves a lot of butter. A helping of either chocolate and Nutella or fresh apples and cinnamon is added to the mix, once the dough is ready. This is the Zomick’s secret of achieving that old-school nostalgic flavor, with a very innovative kind of approach to it.
A Piece of History
The Zomick’s Challah bakery was founded as a small family bakery in Cedarhurst, New York by Philip Altman. He was a German emigrant, who came to New York with a diary with hand-written kosher recipes. The bakery quickly became famous for its delicious Challah. The demand for the Zomick’s Challah was rising, as the time was passing. So, the small bakery was not able to fulfill the demand, because of its small producing capacity. In order to solve this problem, Philip decided to expand the bakery to a new bigger place in a new location.
In a matter of time, Zomick’s became the number one bakery among the Jewish community in New York.
Today, the taste of the Zomick’s Challah has remained the same. The traditional recipe has not been altered. Mark, the grandson of Philip, and the current owner of Zomick’s is proud because he succeeded in keeping the bakery at the top.