I would ask the same question.
Because, before today, I wasn't quite sure what it was myself. Besides one of the best episodes of 'Seinfeld' ever.
Background: when I teach, especially the Polish stuff, I get asked if I can make certain traditional things. Like Easter Cheese (oh yeah. It's real). or...you know...duck's blood soup (yep. That's real too).
Usually, I get "DO YOU KNOW HOW TO MAKE BABKA?!?!?"
To which I go "No. It's a pain in the ass."
Now, mind you, I've only known it's a pain in the ass because my Aunt tells me it's a pain in the ass. I never actually tried it to find out if it was a pain in the ass myself. But it IS Easter, and my Dad is OBSESSED with Babka lately. Like he "uses it as a condiment" obsessed. He gets it from one particular grocery store, and at one point, no matter what family event was going on, he would bring the Babka. I would walk into the house and he's offer me a piece of Babka. And if they didn't have chocolate, he'd settle for cinnamon. Then offer me a piece of cinnamon Babka, apologizing that the store didn't have the chocolate version.
So for Easter, in honor of Dad, I decided to make Chocolate Babka.
But I didn't have a recipe.
I thought I had one, but turns out, I don't.
I pored through my Grandmother's cookbook, a compilaton of recipes from every Slavic housewife in the area in 1949 and not one Babka recipe. There's a recipe for "Slovak Chop Suey", but not Babka. What the hell is "Slovak Chop Suey"?!? We're causing our future generations to reinvent the wheel here, 1949 Hoursewives. Did ya think of that? Geez.
This left me to my own devices.
I looked through my favorite websites and tried to formulate a recipe of my own, which I'll eventually be doing. But I found one on "All Recipes" that seemed to do the trick.
Now, I've worked with yeast before, but never to the point where I had to be patient. Basically, as with many things in my life, I made it a lot more complicated than I had to. I was searching store to store, looking for a glass bowl to put the dough in as it rose, so I could stick it in the oven and the dough could rise. Halfway into my 30th trip I realized I could just run my space heater in my bedroom with the door closed. Duh.
Which eventually led to me screaming at my cats because they kept trying to sneak in the room. Closed doors confuse them.
Anyway, the dough did well in the "faux tropics", and 3 or so hours later, after kneading, punching, chopping, yelling, and baking, we came out with something that looked like giant chocolate filled bagels. Um, not that there's anything wrong with that!
I'll present these things to my Dad tomorrow. Let's all hope I haven't been shamed out of the family.
(Eat me. You know you want to.)