Certain foods often get overlooked. Like bread. We think - it's just bread! What's so special about it? But the question is, have you ever had artisan bread? Beautifully made by hand using age old methods and the simplest ingredients. Flour, water, salt. It's marvelous what those three things can do when they get together.
Real bread is hard to describe and truly meant to be experienced. It wasn't until I experienced real bread for the first time that my mind was changed. Everyone likes a regular ol' ham and cheese sandwich on regular ol' bread. There's something nostalgic about it. But throw that puppy on a couple slices of perfectly handmade country loaf with it's crackly crust and airy crumb, and you'll quickly convert too.
Last week, I learned all about Challah (pronounced holla!), a traditional Jewish bread that takes two days to create. It's hand-braided and beautiful, but the beauty of this bread goes beyond the smooth golden crust. Give the oven a few minutes and a bouquet of sweet honey takes you to another place and time. Challah is surrounded by tradition and loaded with symbolism, and working in a kosher bakery has opened my eyes to how wonderful this bread really is.
Friday's are special at Zak the Baker. Not only is it hummus friday (and OMG the hummus.. Let's not get distracted), but it's a day when the Jewish culture celebrates Shabbat. Traditionally, this day and holidays are celebrated with a super special bread - Challah!
Bread is woven through our lives, and has been for so many years. It's thousands of families gathered around tables. It's culture. It's sharing. It's love.
PS – On the rare occasion you have any Challah leftover, it makes for the perfect French toast!