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Zaro's Bakery is working with Win Son to update its iconic challah

Emma Orlow
Written by
Emma Orlow

Iconic challah bread makers, Zaro’s Family Bakery, a fourth-generation-family-run business, has been serving New Yorkers for 93 years. But this holiday season, the bakery unveils a new era of its storied company: a first-ever partnership with several younger generation restaurants that's part of a larger plan to shake things up while staying true to their family roots. Zaro's Family Bakery opened in the Bronx in 1927. Reaching out to spots that brothersMichael, Brian and Scott Zaro who run Zaro'slove to dine at themselves, the result is one-of-a-kind challah flavors.  

To give their challahs a 2019 infusion, the Zaro brothers are collaborating with Win Son (the hip East Williamsburg Taiwanese restaurant and bakery), Num Pang (serving up some of the best Southeast Asian sandwiches), Llamita (Erik Ramirez’s Peruvian fast-casual spot), Seed + Mill (modern tahini confectioners) and Sahadi’s (the beloved spice and pantry shop on Atlantic Avenue, that recently opened its first-ever cafe in Industry City, which we reviewed), among others. See full list below. 

Coffee & Quinoa challah, a collaboration with chef Erik Ramirez
Photograph: Rachel Vanni

From December 3rd until February 2020, Zaro’s will unveil challah with flavors such as “Quinoa  & Coffee” and “Miso & Turmeric,” at all its locations across the city , (with the exception of the Parkchester space) including kiosks in Grand Central and Penn Station, for on-the-go chews.   

“These collaborations give us the opportunity to innovate and speak with an audience that might not be as familiar with Zaro’s and we love having the opportunity to open these new doors with our partners,” says Brian Zaro, in an interview with Time Out New York

“Working with Erik from Llamita was eye-opening. His creativity really shined through with the Coffee and Quinoa Challah. This one has amazing texture,” agrees, Michael Zaro.  

Kicking off the collaboration is Adeena Sussman, the cookbook author of Sababa: Fresh, Sunny Flavors from My Israeli Kitchen. Her riff on challah turns to an everything bagel version, a nod to New York-meets-Israel classics, and an adapted recipe from her book using za'atar, dried lemon zest, chili flakes and whole cumin seeds. 

Israel, where Sussman currently lives, has not yet seen many wacky adaptations of challah. “Challah is pretty sacrosanct, but what you do see is things like long strands of chives or scallions woven into the challah braids, and some interesting seed options on top of the challahs,” she says. “Lots of Israelis are vegan and gluten-free, so there are lots of alternative-flour challahs around made from things like spelt and even quinoa flour.”

The "Turmeric & Miso" challah
Photograph: Rachel Vanni

For two years, the family has been looking into ways to introduce one of their most popular offerings, the challah, to a new generation of eaters. You can try them for yourself at their various locations:  

12/3 - 12/8: "Israeli Everything" challah with Adeena Sussman 

12/10 - 12/15: "Coffee & Quinoa" challah with Llamita

12/17 - 12/22: "Tahini & Date" challah with Seed + Mill 

1/14 - 1/19: "Za’atar & Pistachio" challah with Sahadi’s

1/21 - 1/26: "Scallion & Fried Shallot" challah with Win Son

1/28 - 2/2: "Turmeric & Miso" challah with La Boîte

2/4 - 2/9: "Potato & Dill" challah with Ben Daitz of Num Pang Kitchen 

2/11 - 2/16: Chocolate challah with Jacques Torres 

RECOMMENDED: The best bakeries in NYC.

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