Tribes-A-Dozen Brings Home the Challah
All-natural mixes are nostalgic, easy to make
By Sue Tomchin
When Leah Hadad talks to people about challah, she often sees them get a “dreamy look in their eyes” as they think back to the homemade challahs of their childhood. She hopes to reconnect people to the experience of making and eating homemade challah with Voila! Hallah, the new premium-quality, all natural challah mixes from her new company, Tribes-A-Dozen.
The mixes, which are available in three varieties—Traditional Egg Bread Mix, Wholey Wheat Egg Bread Mix and Simply Spelt Egg Bread Mix—contain all the ingredients you need to make challah, including the yeast. You add warm water, eggs, vegetable oil, and, in the case of the whole wheat and spelt mixes, honey. Sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds before baking. The whole process takes two to two and a half hours and can be done with a mixer with a dough hook attachment, a bread machine or by hand. (We tried the Traditional mix using our KitchenAid and thought the flavor and texture were outstanding. It was indeed as easy as promised on the package.)
The mixes are quite versatile and can be used as the basis for many other recipes, from babka to giant hamantashen to flavored breads and rolls. Hadad makes multiple loaves that she freezes for later. (Learn more on Hadad’s blog at www.tribesadozen.com or by visiting the company on Facebook.)
Hadad’s earliest memories of baking come from her childhood in Israel, where she saw her great-aunts baking traditional Yemenite breads in a taboon, a mud wood-burning oven. The family had come to Israel in 1949 from Yemen on Operation Magic Carpet.
“I had always baked, even as a child,” says Hadad. But as an attorney and mother of three who was heavily involved in volunteer activities, she found that baking had become an occasional, rather than a regular, pursuit.
That was until she had breast cancer in 2004. After treatment, as a way to heal her spirit, she started to bake again regularly, especially what she came to call her “healing challah.”
Along the way, it occurred to her that it would be great to have a mix that would feel and taste like homemade so more people could reconnect with the tradition of challah baking. Over the next five years she worked toward that goal, launching the products in July 2012 on Amazon. In addition, the mixes are available from www.abesmarket.com, some individual stores, and from the company website at www.tribesadozen.com, where you can also sign up for a Tribes Hallah Club subscription. The company sells direct through Jewish organizations for fundraising purposes. Says Hadad: “My goal is to turn the hallah mix into the ‘Jewish Girl Scout Cookie’ fundraiser.”
View Leah Hadad's recipe for Rosh Hashanah Round Apple Date Hallah.