There's a heartwarming story called "Grandma’s Lost Challah, Found" in Tablet --
I don't want to ruin the ending, but you've probably already guessed that ITJB plays a part!
some kind of naturally leavened bread like SD before Fleischmann's invented their commercial yeast in 1876? Yeast Water , grape juice starter and others would have possibly worked and they were around before commericial yeast too? I'm thinking Challah was probably SD though, with a piece of the dough saved as a starter for the next day's bake It must have been converted to commercial yeast after 1876 - like most all other breads that were converted after that time. SD Challah was and is fairly common in Eastern Europe and Israel today especially after the resurgence of natural yeast for leavening breads.
Still, the story can't be beat and the connection the ITJB is heartwarming.
The story is so beautifully written and moving. What better tribute could there be to the scholarship and devotion to tradition in ITJB. Sorry that Norm couldn't live to read about it. No doubt Stan will be reading it. I have a story that's not so very different. My mom's mom, Fannie Katz, was the daughter of a bakery owner in Tarnopol (then Austria). She ran away from home to avoid being married off to an older man (as was her sister) and came in steerage at age 14 to New York. She was a bread baker for sure. A few years ago, I read about the Czernowitzer challah recipe in Maggie Glezer's A Blessing of Bread. Looked like what I remembered my grandmother baking. Checking the Google Earth map, I saw that Czernowitz was a 2-hour drive from Tarnopol, where the Katz family (as were the Jews of Czernowitz) were all killed by the Nazis. I remember my grandmother lamenting this as a child in Brooklyn--"they're all gone," she said. Well, I wrote Maggie through her publisher and got a warm reply; she has heard so many stories and met so many people in writing her book. These baking book endeavors, they're all about the people.