The pain came later.

I didn’t go through the typical grieving stages when learning that I needed to drastically change my family’s diet and eliminate gluten. I had experimented with gluten-free cooking during the past many years cooking for my mom, who has been gluten-free for nearly two decades.

I knew I could draw on my culinary background and create tasty alternatives.

But when the first Friday morning after our diet change arrived, a slow tear fell down my face. Baking challah with my daughters was a weekly tradition with roots much stronger than I imagined. The four of us had bonded over those braided loaves in ways I could never have ever predicted.

Our weekly baking sessions taught my girls about our faith, our love of tradition, and the importance of family. The sweet smell of delicious bread baking in a warm oven didn’t hurt either.

I had spent more than a year honing my challah recipe and my heart fluttered each time someone complimented one of my tender, braided loaves. Now, everything was going to change.

Would the smell be as sweet?

Would the girls still enjoy our Friday baking ritual?

Would Shabbat still have as much joy?

I had experimented with gluten-free challah in the past, on behalf my mom’s Shabbat visits. But the challah was never love. It was acceptable, at best. I scoured the Internet for recipes and found nothing that would cut it. I knew I needed to create a challah with as much passion and love as my beloved glutenous recipe.

After many failures, near-misses and almost-there experiments, I finally found that love again, no gluten needed. And now I pass it—my single most requested gluten-free recipe—along to you. While this recipe has xanthan gum, which I normally avoid, it was important to me that my challah be rich and special.

And what better time to indulge, especially with love, than Shabbat?