Needham resident Susan Lees bakes challah with an evocative scent of yeast and honey. The loaf ($7) is dense but not too hefty, rich with eggs, slightly sweet, with a golden crust, shiny from a honey glaze. She fills the dough with chocolate chips or cinnamon sugar. Lees, 49, has had a lot of practice making the 6-braid egg bread. When she was 13, an aunt gave her a family recipe that originated in Poland. Lees’s challahs were so popular with friends and colleagues at her jobs as a technology trainer that two years ago she decided to start Susie’s Baking. Now she sells the breads at farmers’ markets and shops. She also bakes whole-wheat and egg-free versions and mini 2-ounce challahs (6 for $4), perfect for lunch boxes. The braided bread is Jewish in origin, but people have told the baker that her challah is reminiscent of Armenian bread and Finnish loaves. “The name challah is unique but the bread is universal,” says Lees. Available at Sweet Corner, 1056 Great Plain Ave., Needham, 781-449-1926; Volante Farms, 292 Forest St., Needham, 781-444-2351; Northeastern University Farmers’ Market, Curry Student Center, 346 Huntington Ave., Boston, on Wednesdays, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., or go to www.susiesbaking.com.
ANN TRIEGER KURLAND