BRAIDED: A Journey of a Thousand challahs

2018 National Jewish Book Award Finalist, Women’s Studies

2018 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year, Silver Medal Winner, Self-Help

2019 Wilbur Award Winner, Nonfiction Books

2019 Reader’s Favorite Finalist, Nonfiction - Cookbook/Food

What if you could bake bread once a week, every week? What if the smell of fresh baking bread could turn your house into a home? And what if the act of making the bread―mixing and kneading, watching and waiting―could heal your heartache and your emptiness, your sense of being overwhelmed? It can. This is the surprise that physician-mother Beth Ricanati learned when she started baking challah almost a decade ago: that simply stopping and baking bread was the best medicine she could prescribe for women in a fast-paced world. Braided chronicles a journey of a thousand challahs and one woman’s quest for wellness and peace.


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In reading Beth Ricanati’s Braided: A Journey of a Thousand Challahs, one feels as if one is drinking from a spiritual fountain that allows a new wave of life to surge within them. This book offers both a recipe and a path to personal growth and healing. Packed with insight and wisdom, it is one of those rare books that every woman should read.
— Reader's Favorite, 5-star review
Ricanati’s memoir with recipes is a well-written investigation into her maturation as a doctor, her growth as a wife and mother, and the increasing wisdom she gained while pondering Jewish rites and rituals.
— Booklist, starred review
I knead for my needs,’ the author insists—and readers are likely to join her.
— Kirkus reviews
I smiled while reading this book—I couldn’t help it. It is not about making challah healthy, it’s about challah making as healthful. Buy this book for any friend. They’ll get it; they’ll smile, and they’ll learn why you honored them with it.
— Mike Roizen MD 4 Time #1 NY Times Bestseller, founder
This is the perfect prescription for a happy life. Slow down, be present and bake challah. Beth Ricanati has taken the mindfulness movement to kitchens everywhere. This book inspires readers to practice being fully present with yourself and your friends and family during the most nurturing of times. Through the ancient practice of baking challah, Beth Ricanati encourages all of us to rise up and join the challah movement .
— Suze Yalof Schwartz CEO/Founder of Unplug Meditation
Beth Ricanati has written a unique book: part recipe, part health, with a whole lot of soul. Reading her book is like making a new friend— you feel transported to her California kitchen, sharing her life’s journey and prescription for being present with one hand, while kneading challah dough with the other. A yummy, cozy and inspiring read.
— Lori Palatnik, author, media personality and Founding Director of The Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project
Beth’s book is like having coffee with a girlfriend: honest, interesting, and thoughtful. Part memoir, part cookbook, part health guide - but more than all of these, Braided: A Journey of a Thousand Challahs will inspire you to dig deep, think about life, and make challah, maybe even at the same time.
— Ruchi Koval, Director of Jewish Family Experience and author of Conversations with God
A women’s wellness doctor who prescribes the practice of baking bread? I feel like this is exactly the kind of out-of-the-box thinking that is going to save the world right now.
— Jennie Nash, author of The Victoria’s Secret Catalog Never Stops Coming and Other Lessons I Learned From Breast Cancer, and founder of
Some of my favorite moments in teaching American Jewish women’s history surround the home and the politics of gender and domesticity—a contemporary space that Beth Ricanati has reclaimed for herself and for all of us through the simple ritual of weekly challah baking. In class, my students discover that contemporary Jewish women can now choose and participate in ancient traditions and rituals in ways that empower them rather than control them. Ricanati’s beautifully written story of challah, the joy of creating real food for those we love, and the healing power of being in the moment, enlivens this precious inheritance, never more needed than now.
— Marcie Cohen Ferris, Professor, American Studies Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Who knew that baking challah was the perfect entry point to a simpler and more fulfilling life? This is not just a book about making bread. It is a book about making choices, and like a good challah is at times chewy, evocative and a little sweet. Its wisdom transported me back to the kitchens of my grandmothers and the knowledge that in complicated times the way forward is always the simple and beloved.
— David Baum, Ph.D., D. Min., Author “Lightning in a Bottle” and “The Randori Principles”, speaker, coach, conversation architect