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Kosher bakeries are stores that offer specialty food items that have been prepared and baked according to the set of Jewish dietary laws known as Kashrut, which generally translates into the phrase "fit to eat" in Hebrew. One of the main tenets of cooking kosher involves a complete separation of all dairy and meat products as well as the cookware used to prepare these types of dishes. Eggs used in kosher baking usually need to pass an inspection to ensure they do not come from a non-kosher chicken. Kosher baked goods can include a variety of bagels, breads, rolls, and pastries; each of these needs to be prepared with certain ingredients in kosher bakeries in order to follow the laws of Kashrut. Some kosher bakeries may also offer their freshly-baked goods for sale online as well as in their storefronts, creating more convenience for Jewish cooks who may not live near a good source of kosher products.
A wide variety of kosher groceries come with labels designating them "kosher certified", although many foods containing flavoring from several different sources can sometimes present a challenge to the kosher baker. The sweetened cream fillings and frosting for doughnuts and other pastries can sometimes contain fats, gelatin products, and other types of stabilizing additives that are not manufactured with kosher methods or processes. Some brands of shortening and oils used for baked bread can also contain non-kosher ingredients that do not always appear on the product labels. Many owners of kosher bakeries enlist the advice and guidance of a local Rabbi often known as a bakery mashgiach in order to keep their kosher baking methods and ingredients as close as possible to the letter of Kashrut laws.
Traditional kosher baked goods such as challah and kiddush are staples of many Jewish family meals, particularly at holidays. These types of breads are not to be baked with any dairy products according to the kosher rules. Many kosher bakeries have their own unique recipes for creating flavorful breads with mixtures of approved flour, yeast, sugar, and measured amounts of either water or eggs. During the preparation of challah, some kosher bakeries may observe the commandment of saving and later burning a small piece of the bread dough in remembrance of the destruction of Jerusalem's Holy Temple. Since many local kosher bakeries are family-owned, this practice is often reserved for the female head of the household.