It’s not everyday a music video features a shiva call, challah, Asian milk bread and some Jewish guilt but that’s the recipe indie musician St. Lenox is baking up in his latest release “Arthur is at a Shiva.”
From the song’s second verse:
And that’s when Arthur walks through the door. He says, “I was just at a shiva today for the death of a good friend of mine. A towering figure in my early life, He was an excellent specimen.
Andrew Choi is the musician behind the project St. Lenox and “Arthur is at a Shiva” is featured on the new album “Ten Songs Of Worship And Praise For Our Tumultuous Times.” In 2018 music magazine Stereogum hailed St. Lenox as “a truly unique and captivating American songwriter.” He has also appeared on several end of the year top indie music lists.
“Arthur is at a Shiva” was released on YouTube this week with an accompanying music video titled “The Great Fractal Challah” which is actually a recipe for Asian milk challah.
“The Great Fractal Challah is a multicultural bread which mixes the Jewish challah with an Asian milk bread and twists them together in a special pattern where braids of three strands are then braided into an even mightier super-braid that represents our swirling multi-cultural home,” the music video explains.
Choi came up with the recipe with help from his partner Elon’s mother. Milk bread is popular in many Asian cultures and is known for its soft and springy texture.
On top of challah baking lessons Choi mentioned that he’s also spent part of the pandemic learning about other parts of Jewish culture. “I learned how to say hamotzi from memory, as well as the borei pri hagafen, and learned about tashlich and made a noise on the shofar,” he says in the video.
“In fact, I’ve enjoyed learning about Jewish traditions and especially food traditions on account of my own family history, being so fraught with separation and resettlement whether by history, economics, or war, and thus finding something similar in Jewish culture which is no stranger to the concept of diaspora,” the video goes on to explain.
It seems that the challah lessons also instilled a very Jewish thought in Choi. He ends the video pondering when he should have children.
Great Fractal Challah Recipe
- 3 cups bread flour
- 1/4 cup of sugar
- 2 tsp yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup hot almond milk
- 4 tbsp of olive oil
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 2 tbsp flour
- Egg yolks
Mix 3 cups bread flour with 1/4 cup of sugar, 2 tsp yeast and 1 tsp salt. Cook the tangzhong paste and then add to the dry ingredients along with an egg and a 1/2 cup of hot almond milk. Mix and knead for 5 minutes. Add 4 tbsp of olive oil and knead for an additional 10 minutes.
Divide the dough into 3 pieces, cover and let them rise for an hour or until they’ve doubled in size. Roll into braids and then roll each braid into a super braid. Let the braided dough rise for another hour.
Prepare the glaze for the challah with a mixture of egg yolks and honey. Dust with poppyseeds.
Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown.