I am not very talented in the kitchen. I have no qualms about admitting this: My idea of a home-cooked meal is boxed macaroni and cheese, and dessert comes in the form of Tate’s chocolate chip cookies eaten way too quickly.
But I like to challenge myself—to, you know, grow as a person and shit like that—so when I was recently given a copy of Modern Jewish Baker, a new cookbook by Shannon Sarna that features bee-yoo-tiful recipes for all my favorite things (namely, carbs), I wanted to give it a shot. I’ve never ever ever made bread before, but as a Jewish lady, I’ve long felt like it was my duty to at least try to bake a challah, that eggy braided deliciousness I could happily eat by the loaf-ful. After all, I love braiding my niece’s hair—how hard could it be?
Turns out it’s really not that hard, but I did learn one crucial lesson along the way: It takes a long time. Apparently you have to let bread dough rise for a while (who knew?). So if you’re going to take on this challenge, don’t, like me, start at 6:30 p.m. unless you’re happy waiting until midnight to eat your challah. But really, look at this beaut:
I can’t explain how proud I felt of myself when this bad boy came out of the oven. Me, a kitchen noob, made something this beautiful and delicious. I wanted to immediately take on another baking challenge (though really I just went to sleep; it was late, you know?). I did, however, make two more loaves of challah for my family’s Rosh Hashanah meal and was told by my grandmother that it was the BEST challah she’d ever had.
I owe it all to Modern Jewish Baker, which has easy to follow instructions and pictures so drool-inducing you can’t help but want to make everything. Beyond challah, it has epic recipes for babka (birthday cake babka, anyone?), rugelach, bagels, pita bread, and so much more.
Lucky for you (and whoever you like to feed), we’re giving away a copy of this cookbook to spread the carb love. To enter, fill out the form below and we’ll choose a winner next Thursday, October 12. Good luck, and happy baking!