Courtesy of Partners Detroit

Traditional braided bread of Eastern European origin is at the center of Flour Power, a virtual challah baking class taught by master baker Pam Turkin.

Severy month, Jewish women can listen to a new show that celebrates the art of baking delicious challah bread.

Traditional braided bread of Eastern European origin is at the center of Flour Power, a virtual challah baking class taught by master baker Pam Turkin. During these 90-minute Zoom sessions, participants learn to create their own dough, braid it, and discover the unique hidden power of challah.

“Jewish women are drawn to the idea of ​​making challah, but they don’t necessarily understand its power and how it can affect your home,” says Shaindel Fink of Partners Detroit, an organization that offers a wide variety of programs for improve Jewish life in Metro Detroit.

Fink explains that challah is associated with the power of prayer, and cooking challah can help people connect with their Jewish heritage and culture. Challah can promote memories, tradition and a sense of community, all three covered in the virtual program.

Each session of Flour Power, which officially launched in January of this year, costs $ 18. Registration is limited to 12 people per class to ensure an intimate small-group experience. The $ 18 fee includes delivery of a gift bag to each attendee with a full color challah recipe book with recipes from different origins, a pair of candles, an ornate blessing card, and a challah blanket to DIY that parents can create with their children. The bags are generally delivered to the participants’ homes within a week of the program.

Participants will log in during Sunday to make their dough alongside Turkin. An educator from Partners Detroit will also join the class to share details about the many positive influences challah can instill in a woman’s life.

“Pam is an experienced pastry teacher,” says Fink. “She has a successful business of teaching people to do all kinds of things on Zoom, but challah is really her passion.”

Longtime friends Fink and Turkin recently studied the mitzvah of challah and the blessings it can bring to those who participate in it.

When Turkin came up with the idea of ​​sharing this knowledge with others and turning the art of challah into a class that people can participate in, Fink said Partners Detroit was all for it. They worked with the nonprofit Jewish engagement and literacy organization PJ Library, as well as JFamily Detroit, to get the idea off the ground. They developed advertising, what the program would look like and how to distribute it to the local community.

Challah making process
LEFT: Pam Turkin demonstrates how to braid challah. Turkin goes through each step of the process. CENTER: A finely braided challah ready to cook. RIGHT: After each session, participants have a ready-to-eat bread.
“A huge success”

Generating excitement was not difficult. “It was really a huge success,” says Fink. Flour Power has even seen three generations of women in a family enroll in the program together, connecting while respecting a timeless Jewish tradition. They practice different types of funky braids, ranging from a heart-shaped challah to a nine-braid bun.

In each class, women have the opportunity to recall their memories of challah or other significant Jewish memories, something Turkin often asks participants to share with the group. This is part of the reason why Flour Power limits classes to small sizes, despite the demand. “Once 12 people register for a given course, we will close registrations for that course,” says Fink. “We don’t want to give up the privacy of it.”

Fink and Turkin plan to continue the program until the summer, when they take a short break from class and then resume later. “We’re really happy to continue as long as possible,” says Fink from Partners Detroit’s perspective. “We have found that people, even those who have never done challah before, love the experience.”

Fink explains that there is something “deeply satisfying” about baking, especially when the baking has a spiritual element to it. Flour Power gives participants a chance to learn how to make challah from the comfort of their own homes, creating a variety of new challah breads for Shabbat and beyond.

“Challah taps into our feminine energy,” says Fink. “It really is a special class.

To sign up for Flour Power, visit partnersdetroit.org/flour-power.


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