Hello, I'm Julia. When I was growing up, my grandmother lived with us.  My favorite memories of her are when we were standing in the kitchen. Every Friday, I would wake up early to help her bake challah. She would say “Momala, watch, you add in the eggs one at a time and this is how it's done.” She would then make a well in the flour and one by one crack in an egg and add a little of the flour into the well with the bottom side of her hand. She would continue until the eggs were used and a nice dough was forming. She then added water, a little at a time using the shell of an egg. It was like magic as her hands moved quickly, this way and that; and if you didn’t watch closely you would end up missing the whole process because within a matter of seconds there was this beautiful, shiny, elastic and masterful dough.

My favorite thing about her challah was that she would always find extra dough to make a bunch of little challah rolls, just for me.  It was very special because no one, not even my brother was allowed to eat the rolls. As a child I was an extremely picky eater, but the one thing I loved was Grandma’s challah.  Saturday mornings were my favorite day because I would wake up before everyone else and quietly tip toe downstairs, to eat leftover challah slathered with butter. 

My grandfather’s family in Poland were bakers; and I grew up hearing stories of the bakery and how it was an integral part of the community.  Apparently, on Shabbot, the brick ovens would stay lit, and all the town would bring their cholent to the bakery to keep it warm. My Mom said that her father would sneak into the bakery at night and taste everyone’s cholent. 

Celiac disease is in my family, So when I got diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and my doctor advised me to remove gluten from my diet, my journey to make a good gluten free challah began. Since the baking gene was already in my blood and I’ve always loved to bake, I started my mission to create a gluten free challah that even Gluten eaters would want to eat.  It was important to me to recreate the taste and texture of my grandmother’s challah: soft, pillowy and a bit cakey in its texture and sweetness.

My first attempts didn’t quite reach their mark.  I tried blend after blend of Gluten free flours; my garbage can was quite full, but my belly was not. I read every book on baking bread – both with Gluten and Gluten Free, in addition to all the recipes, tips, tricks and blogposts.   Finally, after all my research, I stumbled onto a blend that worked. After many, many years of experimentation, modifications and tweaks, I finally hit pay dirt. And so, the girl who failed chemistry in high school, finds success in the kitchen.

My kids were like “this is it!  You need to sell this!” And, after a lot of, not so gentle, nudging and a tremendous amount of fear, I was convinced by many people to launch Momala’s Gluten-Free Bakery. Since my grandmother was the inspiration behind my love of baking, I chose the name Momala because to my belovedgrandmother, I was always her little Momala.

I hope you enjoy your challah as much as I enjoy baking it for you!