Now Inducting into the Challah Fame: Jenna Langert
The Challah Fame is a OneTable series that celebrates someone who loves to make challah (or other delicious food!) and does so as a form of self-care, self-expression, as a business, or for any other reason.
Throughout the pandemic, for most of us, lockdown meant more time at home, and in turn (maybe?!) more opportunities to cook. We got the scoop on how OneTable hosts have used this unusual time to level up and try new recipes and traditions at their Shabbat table. Now, we’re sharing their dishes and stories to celebrate the power of Shabbat during *an unprecedented time* and inducting them into the Challah Fame!
Know someone who needs to be inducted ASAP? Fill this out with the info you have and we’ll be in touch, or send it over to them to complete!
Then, we invite you to make this dish or one of your favorites and tag us @onetableshabbat.
Where do you do your baking?
How did you get into baking Challah?
My grandfather always baked Challah for Shabbat dinner, but when his eyesight started going, it was something we did together. Ever since, I’ve loved baking Challah – I can still hear his voice reciting the recipe from memory. Now, I make fun flavors, try to do a fun shape here and there, and even lead virtual Challah bakes for my Jewish Bride’s Club.
What does a typical Shabbat look like for you?
Things have not been the most consistent in the past years, but just having that family time (and some good food!).
What does this ritual/practice add to your week? Add to your life? Has your Challah baking practice contributed to your wellness (mental, physical, spiritual, etc)? If so, how?
Baking Challah is therapeutic. You are creating something from these base ingredients & bringing joy to people. It is also a way to carry on a tradition that our ancestors have been doing for so long. It’s a way to connect to our past, no matter where we’ve been in history.
How do you *pause* from all of the chaos and work of the week?
Sometimes it’s baking Challah. Sometimes it’s remembering to pull out a frozen Challah to defrost in time for Shabbat, but it’s really just having that pause for time with our loved ones. I also read Torah and Haftarah, and was a member of the synagogue choir at my last synagogue before moving. These were also ways I had that “pause” with my usual week.
What is the most delicious Challah you’ve ever made or had? Spare no details!
Most delicious because it was my engagement Challah!! I made two spatchcocked lemon herb roast chickens, a few trays of roasted veggies…and an orange candied ginger Challah! All to be surprised by my fiancé proposing before Shabbat in my parent’s backyard.
If you could make Challah with (or give your challah to) anyone in the world, who would it be and why?
Right now, it would be my best friend from grad school. We connected due to our weekly faith, mine Judaism & hers Christianity, in a business program with a large proportion of international students who didn’t practice religion or in the same way as our weekly faith. I couldn’t have gotten through COVID without her, as I was furloughed and she laid off right at the beginning. We baked virtually, but it just isn’t the same as being together.
Any baking tips or tricks that you’d like to share?
As Claire Saffitz has said, “dough senses fear.” Don’t fear your Challah dough. Embrace the mistakes and learn what needs to be done differently to correct the problem with the dough. Love your dough and it will love you back.