More Ketchup, Please

This Rich, Golden Bread Is the Easiest Thing to Make With Your Kids

The one loaf Lior Lev Sercarz makes every single week.

August  8, 2019

Welcome to More Ketchup, Please our newest series that’s spilling the beans on all the different ways we cook for, and with, our kids. We've got some great guests stopping by, to get schooled by their little ones on how to perfect family favorites. The more (cooks) the merrier? We think so.

Watching spice-blender and chef Lior Lev Sercarz make challah with his kids, Luca and Lennon, is like witnessing a masterclass in how to sharpen your senses in the kitchen. “Smell the turmeric,” he tells them. “Taste the salt.” “Put your hands in the dough.”

It should come as no surprise then, that 3-year-old Lennon already has a vocabulary that includes baking powder, labneh, and nigella seeds. Luca, 5, is an equally enthusiastic sous chef, abetted by his headphones—for added sensory input.

Israeli-born Sercarz is extending our perception of spice one custom blend at a time—his New York spice apothecary La Boîte sells quixotic versions like Apollonia (cocoa, orange blossom, pepper) and the eight pepper Pierre Poivre—and cooking at home is no exception. “Spices were always part of the kids’ diets—I’d use them in their purées, smoothies, and juices. It’s no different from what I’d make for an adult, minus maybe the heat,” says Sercarz.

Challah-making (this particular recipe is featured in Sercarz’s book Mastering Spice) is also a family affair, and a frequent one—you can tell from the easy rhythm of their process, from the cutting of dough to the braiding and the sprinkling of seeds that fleck the surface. “It’s something we make every week—all we do is switch up the spices and seeds," he says.

The other family bread staple, as Luca and Lennon tell us, is malawach, a flaky, buttery Yemeni Jewish bread that the boys love eating with smoked salmon and labneh.

But that’s another recipe for another day.

Do you have a recipe you love to cook with your kids? Tell us in the comments below.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • TXExpatInBKK
  • Jana
Arati Menon

Written by: Arati Menon

Arati grew up hanging off the petticoat-tails of three generations of Indian matriarchs who used food to speak their language of love—and she finds herself instinctually following suit. Life has taken her all across the world, but she carries with her a menagerie of inherited home and kitchen objects that serve as her anchor. Formerly at GQ and Architectural Digest, she's now based in Brooklyn.


TXExpatInBKK March 30, 2020
I loved this! I have 2 little boys as well... 4 and 6 years. This makes me want to get in the kitchen and try to make bread with them. Thank you!
Jana August 18, 2019
This was so sweet to watch. Mazel tov on raising two beautiful boys! Such Shayna Punims!!
I love this recipe and will be trying it very soon. I was blessed to find Labneh here where I live about 5 years ago and now I use it on everything.