Babka: A Family Recipe Saves an Employee and Jumpstarts a Business

Babka from babka bailout

During the height of the pandemic lockdown, Jersey City resident Michal Prevor learned her beloved housekeeper Carmen was struggling to pay her bills. She knew she had to take action. The unlikely answer? Babka. “I woke up the next morning and told my husband, we’re going to make a few batches and we’re going to pay her rent.” And with that, Babka Bailout was born.

Why babka? “My husband is a very good baker,” explained Prevor. “Even before the pandemic, he would tweak his family recipe and come up with fun, modern flavors.” Since the family was stuck at home, they decided to give it a shot. It took only 15 minutes and one Facebook post to sell out the first 40 loaves. Over the next few months it quickly expanded to 100 loaves with twice weekly deliveries in New Jersey and New York.

babka balls

The more loaves she sold, the more fun flavors she offered, from Nutella to Cereal Milk and Ube Oreo. “I think the flavors are a big part of who we are,” she said. Israeli by birth but raised in the Dominican Republic, Prevor loves to mix cultural influences and flavors. She offers about 10 different varieties with more seasonal flavors to come.

Babka Bailout is now a full-fledged business, expanding to a commercial kitchen with wholesale accounts in the tristate area and direct sales online. And guess who her first full-time employee was?

Carmen.

baker carrying a tray of babka

Photo by Marta Perales

“We’re good friends, we love working together and it’s all good energy,” she said. Prevor gave up her previous career in irrigation equipment and now focuses solely on this venture.

Even with a brick-and-mortar location on the horizon, she hopes to keep the original name and mission. To that end, she’s donated to Bakers Against Racism and Welcome Home Jersey City, among other charitable organizations.

And she had no plans on stopping. To her, babka is not just delicious to eat, but a sweet way to give back.

AUTHOR

AnnMarie Mattila

AnnMarie Mattila is a food writer, recipe developer and pastry chef based in New York. She has a master's degree from New York University in Food Studies and sometimes eats cake for dinner. Follow her at www.annmariemattila.com.

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