Stay-at-home mom goes out on her own.
Call her the Jewish Julia Child. Like the famed female chef, Laurie Biskowitz never planned a career in cooking. In her spare time, she has always enjoyed baking traditional Jewish food like challah. She tells The Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle, “I grew up having it every Friday night. It was just part of my food repertoire — something to look forward to.” But her love for cooking remained a hobby when she worked as a claims adjuster. After the birth of her twin daughters, she decided to become a stay-at-home mother.
It was then that Boskowitz’s hobby slowly evolved into something more. She attended a Shabbat dinner at a friend’s house and learned that it’s possible to make the dough with a bread machine. She asked to borrow the hostess’ bread machine, consulted with several cooking books and began experimenting with her challah recipe.
“I was hooked,” she admits to the Jewish Chronicle. Boskowitz began cooking challah for her family every week. But the thought of baking professionally didn’t cross her mind. Ten years later, however, she met Mark Shapiro from the Harry & Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Centre during a Shabbat dinner at her house. Shapiro was so impressed with Boskowitz’s recipe that he immediately invited her to bake for the JCC.
Lo and behold: Challahluyah, Boskowitz's booming baking business. Boskowitz currently makes 100 loaves of bread every week for the JCC and also sells to the local community. She has also catered for a bar mitzvah and delivers weekly to Glendale’s Pick ‘n Save from North Shore Bakery in Chicago.
For the past four months, she has used kosher-certified bread. Available in plain, poppy, sesame and raisin, a pound of loaf costs no more than USD $5. “It’s a lot of work. Physically it’s a lot of work,” Boskowitz says to the Jewish Chronicle about her business. “It’s not what I imagined. But I do love doing it.”
For more information, visit www.challahluyah.net.