Matzah! Get your homemade Matzah here!
No, please don’t order matzah from me! I’m just joking about that…but I did make matzah today from scratch in my own home! Woohoo!
Matzah is an unleavened bread that the Jews carried with them when they had to leave Egypt. Passover, the most observed of the Jewish holidays, commenerating the Exodus from Egypt will start March 29th this year and go for 8 days. My friends, Judy and Michelle from the HBin5 group, and I decided we would try making matzah, as a side project to March HBin5 Bread Braid.
I’ve had many brands of matzah over the years, and had been wanting to try to make it for a long time. I seemed to always miss the matzah making class the Lubavitcher’s give before Passover, so I have been watching YouTube videos on how to make matzah. There are some great ones videos out there. Here are three that I particularly liked:
When I looked up matzah recipes on the internet however, I kept finding recipes using matzah, not making it. Finally I found a site that had exactly what I wanted. http://judaism.about.com/library/3_howto/ht_makematzah.htm
I particularly like this site because it starts off explaing that you’ll need to put your oven through a full self-cleaning cycle to make it kosher for Passover. Next it goes into the ingredients needed including special flour called kemach shel matzah shamura which is flour that has been watched from the moment of harvest to the moment of packing to make sure it has not come into contact with any moisture. While I don’t have access to that kind of flour here in York (not that I am aware of at least), I like knowing these facts!
I’m going to boil down the process here, but I suggest you do your own research or at least look at the links listed above. It’s always good to know about the customs and traditions, even if they are not yours.
The basic matzah recipe is as follows. But first heat your oven to the highest temperature it can get. The Streit’s matzah factory bakes their’s at 900 degrees. My oven can only go to 550 degrees, so I heated it up to that.
1 part water to 3 parts flour. I used:
1/3 c water
1 cup flour
Mix the two ingredients together, and knead in the flour to a moderately stiff dough. I found that this made 2 matzahs. I then flattened it out into a disk (about 4 inches across) by hand first, then put onto my floured counter to roll out with a rolling pin. I rolled it out like I would piecrust, rotating a quarter turn to get the shape as round as I could. But because you are supposed to keep the entire process from mixing the flour and water, to taking the matzah out of the oven to under 18 minutes, you have to roll fast!
Once I had the dough rolled out as thin as I could get it, I docked it with a fork all over. I will definitely be getting a docker! A docker is kitchen tool that looks like a torture implement, but actually it puts evenly spaced holes as you roll it over the dough.
Once I had it docked all over, I placed the matzah on the peel and placed it in the oven. You can also drape it over your rolling pin and just roll it off the rolling pin onto the baking stone. Because my oven only gets to 550 degrees, I had to bake the first one for a total of 4 minutes. I found with the third matzah that five minutes was too long and one edge of the matzah was almost burned.
In one of the videos it says that the matzah is baked for only 15 seconds. But that is a wood and coal oven similar to a pizza oven. Again, that type of oven gets much hotter than a home oven can get!
Since my first one was so successful, I had to make more to make sure I had the hang of it. Of course the second was a dud! That’s mainly because I forgot to dock the dough! LOL. Like I said, definitely getting a docker!
Ken really likes the matzah I made, and stated he likes it better than the commercial brands.
But just like the crazy guys on Myth Busters, I had to take the matzah crackers to the next level. Couldn’t leave well enogh alone!
I used to buy a cracker at BJs that I loved but they quit carrying it. The name on the box said Bakers Bread but it was a crisp, cracker about ¼ inch thick. It came in two types. One had sesame seeds on it and one had a mixture of seeds sprinkled on.
So I decided that I could spend a bit of time adapting the matzah crackers by brushing an egg wash on the dough and then sprinkling on seeds. I used egg beaters for the egg wash just to see how it would work. I brushed it on and then sprinkled sesame seeds on it. Then I docked it. I made sure to keep enough flour on the counter so I could easily move the dough onto the pizza peel to put it into the oven. Next I did one with just some sea salt on it. Then another with sesame seeds and Hawaiin Black salt. Finally one with sesame seeds and poppy seeds. All came out great! I did find that the ones with egg wash really did need to be docked after I put the egg wash on.
I also found that the crackers with egg wash needed to be put back in the oven for another minute or so, due to the fact that they just weren’t crisp enough.
These crackers came out very good and the recipe is so easy! I suggest anyone try it. But if you are going to use them for Passover, be sure to watch some of the videos, read about the time limits and other kashrut considerations.
Most of all, have fun learning the tradition and ENJOY making your own matzah!