Listen. Before we go any further, I want to explain something to you: When I first pitched Slightly Kosher toward the end of last year, the thesis of the show was "There's still a horrific pandemic! I'm immunocompromised and sad! Let's make my mom's best Jewish recipes, but, like, without my mom. We'll teach people that Jewish food—and, you know, the Jews who make it—isn't scary. In fact, Jewish food is beautiful food and everyone who likes to eat can and should make it!"

With that, a show was borne. With each episode, I was to FaceTime my mom (who is an A+ home cook, by the way), reminisce on the versions of X food she'd made all the time for me growing up, have her give me helpful tidbits for how to make said food, and then go off to try making it in a frantic, charming way on my own. With each episode, the viewer would walk away instilled with confidence that they, too, could make Jewish food, and even if it didn't look nice, it would be delicious and they'd know a little bit more about an oft-mis-categorized cuisine/people.

We did really well for the first six episodes. Then we got caught up in the whimsy of it all, the feedback that generally confirmed you all liked chaos—maybe even more than you liked cooking. So we decided I should make a babka.

Liz Koman made approximately one babka for me growing up. I remember her serving my brother and I chocolate-laced slices with glasses of whole milk and an exasperated "Absolutely never again, who on Earth has patience for this?"

...All this to tell you: I did not have Liz to lean on this time. All this to tell you that, yes, I made my own recipe and it yielded...a thing. That thing tasted strangely good and looked really cool. That thing was not what any Jew who knows her shit would call a babka. And you can find that thing's recipe below. But that if you want to make a babka, you should use June's recipe. June made a babka.

Combine 1 cup of all-purpose flour, 3/8 cup of cake flour, and a big pinch of salt into the base of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment.

In a separate bowl, combine 1 tablespoon of warm water, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and 1 1/4 teaspoons of active dry yeast. Let sit until foamy, 5-10 minutes.

Once foamy, add mixture to dry ingredients, along with 1 egg, 1/4 cup room temperature whole milk, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Combine on medium speed until smooth, 10-15 minutes.

Dice one stick of room temperature butter and add to dough mixture. Beat another 10 minutes until silky smooth—almost an ice cream-like texture. Place dough into a large glass bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for two hours.

In the meantime, combine 1 tablespoon of sugar, 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon of ground clove and ground ginger in a small bowl.

Once dough has been removed from the fridge, place it on a lightly floured surface and roll it into as long of a rectangle as you can. Brush the flattened dough with 1/2 stick of melted butter, getting as close to the sides of the dough as you can. Cover the buttered dough with cinnamon mixture and gently—gently!—begin rolling the dough as tightly as you can, height-wise.

Once you have one long, rolled piece of dough, cut the dough in half so that you have two identical rolls (they should each be about 8 inches in length). Cut each of the rolls down their middles so that you are left with two open-faced spirals. Place each of the spirals directly next to each other and form into a braid, tucking in each end so they become one thick loaf. Place the loaf into a heavily buttered 8.5-inch loaf pan, cover with plastic wrap, and let sit in the (un-heated!) oven for another 2 hours.

Once the loaf has risen significantly, brush it with butter and bake at 375° for 35 minutes or until browned. Let rest in pan for at least 20 minutes. Cut into slices and serve warm—you can also toast slices the next day.

Anyway. Absolutely never again. See you next time for something less painful for all parties involved!

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