Matzah, Homemade - pareve

Posted by : Bob Halpern

 This excerpt from A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking by Marcy Goldman has been
 reprinted with permission from the author. The book will be available in September,
 1998,  from Doubleday. 


 A couple of years ago, when my kids' were in nursery school, I made it my business 
 to sign  up for the "make your own matzoh" field trip at the local matzoh factory.
 Actually, the "factory" was a seasonal endeavour. Special Passover matzoh bakers 
 leased a space in a  large synagogue kitchen and prepared the holiday ceremonical 
 matzoh. As a community  courtesy, they also took the time to teach avid young bakers
 the secrets to homemade - or  non- commercial matzoh. The last time I was at the matzoh
 factory, the fellow in charge graciously made a gift of one of their small, specially
 crafted matzoh rolling pins -  a baking tool I now treasure. 

 This matzoh is certainly not in accordance with Passover law although the custom of
 making it is quite authentic (although the pros use a huge, heavy matzoh docker which
 looks  like a   tool, to prick the unbaked sheets). Some highlights of Passover 
 matzoh is that  the wheat grown for it comes from special, well- guarded fields, 
 special flour mills, and the  process of making the matzoh dough itself, must
 not take more than 18 minutes. Longer  than 18 minutes would have fermentation occur,
 the natural rising of the dough. Even void of commercial yeast, this dough, as all
 doughs, is an invitation for wild yeast spores) and  then the matzoh would be leaven, 
 instead of unleaven. So, while this is an instructive recipe  it is not appropriate to 
 use at the Passover seder. Still, it is rustic and historic and a nice, fun, pre-Passover
 baking project. Much like standing in a rustling sukkah, this ancient style of  bread
 gives you a sense of old Testament life. Rent The Ten Commandments and crunch  this while
 watching. Memorable stuff. 

 Homemade Matzoh 

 2 cups all-purpose flour
 1 cup wholewheat flour
 spring water 

Preheat oven to 450 F. Line two large baking
sheets with parchment paper. 

Mix two flours together and add water until you
have a soft, kneadable dough. Knead about
five minutes. Let dough rest a couple of minutes. 

Break off egg-sized portions of dough. Stretch as
thinly as you can before rolling into thin,
oval slabs that are as thin as possible. Prick
each slab with a fork or pastry docker. Place
on baking sheet and as soon as sheet is filled
with matzohs, place in oven, and bake until
crisp and buckled, about 3 minutes. Cool and eat. 
The Kosher Express

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