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 loomers 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.

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