I was always fascinated by the process of bread making. I remember I couldn’t take my eyes away from my mother or grandmother’s hands, when they were stretching, flattening and punching the dough. I admired them when they rolled and braided it effortlessly into beautiful challahs and rolls. They rarely let me help but they always gave me a small piece of dough so I would leave them alone.
My grandmother used to tear twelve small pieces of the dough, mumble something, then combine all the pieces into a mini roll, which was forbidden to be eaten – truma, a small sacrifice to God. Later in life I learned that the mumblings were prayers for her family’s health, bliss, and abundance.
Making bread is humbling and meditative. It’s something everyone should make at least once in their lives. The aroma and taste of homemade bread is addictive. There’s nothing like a slice of bread that just came out of the oven with butter or olive oil.
Shabbat dinner at my mother’s home can’t happen without Lechem Ba’it, home-bread. You really need it with the all the Moroccan cooked salads – the famous Matbucha, spicy carrot salad, beet salad,Babaganoush, and eggplant salad with fire roasted green peppers and scallion.