As an undergraduate at McGill University in Montreal, Michal Waldfogel turned to baking challah on Fridays as a hands-on antidote to schoolwork. “Being in university is so cerebral,” she says. “I’d reach the end of the week and feel like I had nothing tangible to show for my work.”
Waldfogel, now a Seattle-based naturopath and yoga teacher, learned challah-making from then-classmate Liz Alpern, who went on to become the critically acclaimed chef behind Brooklyn’s kosher food purveyor The Gefilteria.
Ten years ago, Waldfogel returned to her native Philadelphia and began offering challah-baking sessions of her own. While the dough rose, she found herself with downtime, so she began offering a gentle yoga class and guided meditation during the wait. Thus Deep Breath Baking, a challah baking and mindfulness workshop, was born.
In Seattle, she has kneaded dough at the Stroum JCC as part of the 2016 “Women of the Book” exhibit, offered a midnight class during Kadima’s Shavuot all-nighter, hosted several sessions at Temple De Hirsch Sinai, and conducted intimate baking classes for private groups and wedding couples who can bake their matrimonial intentions into the bread. This September, she and integrative health coach Ariel Zaslav will hold an Autumn Awe Wellness Retreat at Doe Bay Resort on Orcas Island, where you can tune into your “truest self” in the days leading up to the Jewish New Year.