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Best of Toronto

The Best Challah in Toronto

Posted by Robyn Urback / September 26, 2011

Best Challah TorontoThe best challah in Toronto is a staple of every good Jewish diet — or so has been engrained in me ever since I was wee. But more than just a Sabbath bread or quaintly braided loaf, challah has garnered a well-deserved following of leavened-enthusiasts from all walks of life. Blame it on the fluffy texture and slightly sweet egg-glazed crust. Challah is known to make a mean French toast, as well as a great grilled cheese, and with a fresh loaf from any of these places, you're pretty much assured the start of a terrific feast.

A moment of mourning for the lost challah of the late Open Window Bakery; here is the list of the best challah in Toronto.

Photos by Jesse Milns

Harbord Bakery

Harbord Bakery

The downtown availability of quality challah is stark compared to what you'll find in North York, but Harbord Bakery in the Annex is (futilely) doing its part to even out the status quo. Harbord's sesame and poppy seed-decorated egg and whole wheat loaves ($4.50) are the best you'll find at Bloor and below, not to mention its mean raisin challah crown that's baked up around the Jewish holidays. More »

Hermes Bakery

Hermes Bakery

Hermes always has such a delicious-looking spread of baked goods, it's easy to look past its humble challah loaves. But this would be a mistake, I assure you. Hermes' challah has that home-baked taste, twisted just so in water, egg, or raisin loaves. And eh, might as well pick up some rugelach while you're there. More »

Grodzinski

Grodzinski

Grodzinski touts it started baking in 1888, but don't expect to find evidence of the Bathurst Street bakery in the Toronto Archives from that time. From Lithuania to England to Canada, Grodzinski's offers a whole variety of challah loaves (starting from small at $3.30 to crown at $8.95) and will even make a 5lb loaf for special events. More »

Kiva's

Kiva's

For years it was only those in North York (or determined drivers) who were privy to Kiva's scrumptious non-bagel signature, but that all changed earlier this year when the business opened a second location midtown. Now everyone can get their hands on regular egg loaves ($4.50) during the week, and whole wheat and the occasional raisin round in store on Fridays and Saturdays. More »

My Zaidy's Bakery

My Zaidy's Bakery

Technically in Thornhill (and yes, still on Bathurst), My Zaidy's evokes all of those warm Zaidy-like feelings not just in name, but in bread. Its challahs are, of course, all baked fresh (I'm sure with lots of love) in egg, whole wheat, multigrain, and raisin varieties. Easy on the wallet too. Loaves start at $3.25. More »

Isaac's

Isaac's

Isaac's is just a stone's throw from Grodzinski, but wins when the two are compared for price. Isaac's regular egg loaves start at $2.85, and vary depending on size and variety. They're on par, though, when it comes to options, as Isaac's also offers water, whole wheat, multigrain, and raisin. More »

What A Bagel

What A Bagel

Forget the name, What A Bagel can do more than just bagels. Challah masters may be able to detect slight differences between loaves with so many locations throughout the GTA, but What A Bagel is still known to make a consistently good, thick challah. Usually you can grab them on Fridays ($4.50), and raisin loaves during the holidays. More »

Discussion

20 Comments

Sarah / September 26, 2011 at 03:00 pm
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Hot Oven Bakery in Bloor West Village has fantastic Challah too! I use it to make French Toast
A|Layton / September 26, 2011 at 03:37 pm
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Good to see the old standby's on here. Unfortunately you missed the absolute best challah in the city.

I say this having grown up in T.O. and had challah from each of the places on this list. You want to try Absolute Bakery on Parliament, just north of Wellesley.

Their challah is simply amazing; a great value and amazing quality. Also, if you put in a special order, they will make you an extra large, freeform loaf...for 4.50 (only 1$ more than their regular challah).
A|Layton / September 26, 2011 at 03:39 pm
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correction: Parliament just south of Wellesley
Nerves / September 26, 2011 at 03:50 pm
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I used to live around the corner from My Zaidy's. A nice morning walk for a fresh loaf of challah really made my day. Unfortunately, the loaf would be half gone by the time I reached my door.
Jennifer / September 26, 2011 at 04:05 pm
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This piece (Best Challah in Toronto) makes it sound as if Harbord Bakery is in the #2 spot simply because of the lack of any other decent challah in the vicinity. I'm sure you didn't mean to make it sound that way, but that is how it comes off, and it's sad because this is totally inaccurate. Challah-lovers of Toronto would be ill-advised to overlook the mouth-wateringly delicious challah available here. The line on Fridays for those in the know is insane. Please reconsider the tone of your article, because I think you have done a disservice to this awesome bakery!
George / September 26, 2011 at 06:30 pm
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Definitely missing Haymishe at Bathurst/Eglinton.
Elaine / September 26, 2011 at 09:33 pm
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Speaking of challah french toast, I regularly devour the stuff at World Class Bakers on St. Clair West. Nommy goodness.
kathy / September 26, 2011 at 11:12 pm
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OK Montrealers - who has the best Challah in your city? And, could we start another version of the Mtl vs TO bagel wars? Who has the better challah - Mtl or TO?
the lemur replying to a comment from kathy / September 27, 2011 at 09:11 am
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<i>could we start another version of the Mtl vs TO bagel wars?</i>

Yeah, because those totally weren't boring to listen to, not at all.
Mark / September 27, 2011 at 11:25 am
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You missed the best challah!!!!! Daiter's on Bathurst is sold out every friday!!!! Daiters!!!!
Lee / September 27, 2011 at 08:17 pm
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St. Urbaine Bagel on Eglinton West (with the sugar on top) is, hand's down THE YUMMIEST. It really warrants to be on this list, way up at the top.

However, Hermes should not be mentioned. That place is just gross. Harbord Bakery is solid. Richmans is meh - fine, but nothing special. Only reason to go there in particular is because they are kosher & nut-free. Isaacs is similarly non-descript. Of the certified kosher bakeries (which includes Richmans, Isaacs and Hermes as well), Grodzinski's is the highest quality and generally has high quality fare.
Michael Freeman replying to a comment from George / October 2, 2011 at 11:56 am
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Another vote for Haymishe! Actually it's on Bathurst south of Lawrence. Get the large challah.
Kathy / October 2, 2011 at 05:23 pm
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Post Rosh Hashona experience - I have to say I was totally disappointed in Richman's challahs. My husband went out of his way to pick these up based on the recommendations and it was a waste of time. We found them to be bland and tasteless. Not sure where to try next now. Maybe Grodzinski. Really missing Open Window and Goldstein's bakeries now.
Jill Book / October 10, 2011 at 12:11 pm
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We purchased both a challah round and a raisin challah crown at Hermes for RH and will try somewhere else next time. The crown, in particular, was quite disappointing--maybe 3 or 4 raisins, bland and dried out.
oz coehn / November 27, 2011 at 06:34 am
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hello all
firest I would like to say sorry about my English,I'm living in Israel so Hebrow will be probebly much easy for me
I was living in Australia , and after few years I came back to Israel and opened a bakery in Israel,
now I get merried and thinking to come and to worke in a bakry in Toronto, I have alot of expirienc and if you thing you know some one who need to employ to HE's bakery worker this's my Email ozcohen3@walla.com
oz coehn / November 27, 2011 at 06:36 am
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thenx
Cosplay / September 26, 2012 at 09:53 pm
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We purchased both a challah round and a raisin challah crown at Hermes for RH and will try somewhere else next time. The crown, in particular, was quite disappointing--maybe 3 or 4 raisins, bland and dried out.
Lee replying to a comment from Cosplay / March 2, 2013 at 10:06 am
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How is it that you have written exactly the same message as did Jill Book, but a year later?
Jasa Pembelian / March 23, 2013 at 03:27 am
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Yesterday, while I was at work, my sister stole my iphone and tested to see if it can survive a 30 foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation. My apple ipad is now broken and she has 83 views. I know this is completely off topic but I had to share it with someone!|
forex / March 23, 2013 at 10:10 am
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Hey! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any issues with hackers? My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing several weeks of hard work due to no backup. Do you have any methods to protect against hackers?|

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