I received the JTNews on Friday, January 11, and quickly turned to the Best of Everything.
I was particularly interested in the tradition section. The Best Challah category stated that Leah’s and other kosher bakers were pushed out by the Great Harvest Bread Company in Bellevue.
I visited the bakery and inquired about challah. The bakery literature states that challah is baked on Friday and special holidays. The traditional Jewish egg bread is braided and topped with seeds or plain. It weighs 22 oz. and costs $5.50.
The challah in the case was visibly a wheat twist. I purchased a plain one, and as the clerk placed it in the bag, the twists separated. At home, I found the bread to be anything but Challah. It was a single length of dough, folded in half and twisted, not braided. The dough is the bakery’s basic recipe used for several of their other daily specials — white flour, wheat flour, bran — for a touch of fiber, and a sprinkling of seeds on top; the only egg was used as a wash on the crust for color. It was unevenly baked, as the narrow end was overdone and the wide end was underbaked or gummy, [and] accompanied by a sour taste.
This bread is not what observant Jews would bring into their homes or synagogues. I don’t know who the respondents of this category were or the percentage of JTNews subscribers who responded to the survey. I know that you are stating the results, but I am disappointed in the JTNews for not checking out the product and its source; your reputation acts as an endorsement. My confidence level of the annual survey has greatly diminished.