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
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.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup wholewheat flour
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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