CLEVELAND — One northeast Ohio woman with a newfound knack for baking bread is turning her talents into some dough.
Meghann Hennen spends a lot of time in the kitchen. So much so, that she’s even named her mixers. Her white KitchenAid is “Betty White.”
“I was not the person in the kitchen before the pandemic, my husband was,” Hennen said. “So, I started this basically when the pandemic started.”
Now, every night you can find her there making dough for challah or baking it.
“The bread is something that we eat to break bread together,” she said. “So, like, I make it and you can tear it apart together.”
Challah is a traditional Jewish bread eaten on Shabbat to welcome the weekend.
She took a crack at making her first one at the start of the pandemic to lead a virtual service.
When she posted pictures of her creations on Instagram orders started rolling in, leading her to start her own business: Challah @ Meg.
“I don’t know where it’s going and that’s the fun part of it,” she said. “But, it’s also nerve-wracking because you don’t know if it’s gonna fail or if it’s gonna succeed. And I think that’s kind of how life is right now.”
She’s now sending her hand-made bread to customers across the country, baking about 25 loaves a week in her Shaker Heights home.
She called the process a type of therapy.
“When it’s really sticky, it’s like life gets sticky,” she said. “And it’s kind of like the same metaphor for you’re working through something to make it smooth and come together.”
She said she makes it a point to deliver local orders personally, to meet her customers face-to-face.
“That’s what makes challah like the full circle,” Hennen said. “Like, the braid and braiding all these different aspects of my life into it. And they’re also braiding themselves into the fabric of my business.”
When she’s not in the kitchen, she’s with kids.
She teaches toddlers during the week at the Jewish Community Center and junior ballerinas at Cleveland City Dance on weekends.
The bread baking gives Hennen a chance to express her creativity and provide comfort through food.
“If I can provide some kind of certainty with some challah and provide like a mitzvah, which is a good deed in Judaism, that makes my heart happy,” she said.