Nothing in Idan Chabasov’s background suggested he’d become challah royalty worshipped by 70,000 Instagram followers for his photos and videos about Jewish egg bread. A Sephardic Jew with roots in Turkey and Uzbekistan, he didn’t grow up watching a yiddishe mama braiding dough. Rather than studying baking, he learned to animate at art school in Tel Aviv and worked in marketing after moving to Berlin in 2013. And for most of his life, he never felt much connection to Judaism.
But in Germany, he found himself seeking out Shabbat dinners. Then he began baking challah and, during the COVID lockdown, started binging on YouTube videos for challah-braiding tricks.
As he fooled with creating his own designs, Idan became a serious challah maven. And when he opened an Instagram account to show off his heart-shaped challot, his human body challot and challot shaped as brains and hearts, he discovered how many others were equally passionate about new ways to shape traditional bread.
Idan joins us to talk about his journey to challah and Judaism, his new project built around hafrashat challah (traditional ceremonies where bits of unbaked dough are discarded as offerings of good fortune) and to demonstrate his flair.
Idan will be in conversation with Shannon Sarna. Shannon is the founding editor of The Nosher and is the author of Modern Jewish Baker: Challah, Babka, Bagels and More and Modern Jewish Comfort Food (August 2022).
Read more in the New York Times.