It won’t be long before you’re crunching the unleavened bread so central to the holiday of Passover. Your lines may not be as straight as machine-made matzah, but you’ll have fun!
Not all communities have matzah on their grocery shelves in times of plenty, and right now it’s not easy to get to the grocery store for anyone. This is the perfect time to make matzah at home.
Got flour, water, oil, salt, and a fork? That’s all you need to make your own matzah! Follow along with food blogger, cookbook author, and producer Gabi Moskowitz as she walks us through the mixing, kneading, and baking process. Because it’s unleavened bread, there’s no rising time. In fact, that’s the whole point!
We eat matzah during Passover to remind us how quickly the Israelite slaves left Egypt. The Torah tells us "they baked unleavened cakes of the dough that they had taken out of Egypt . . . since they had been driven out of Egypt and could not delay" (Exodus 12:39).
- To experience the haste with which the Israelites baked, tradition dictates that no more than 18 minutes can pass from when the water is added to the flour and when the matzah is removed from the oven. Fermentation begins even without yeast because flour reacts with water to create air bubbles. For this reason, wheat destined to become matzah is often carefully guarded in the fields and the mills to be sure no moisture is in the flour. What is something you have made that needed to be made quickly?
- Now that you’ve rushed to mix, knead, and bake, take your first bite of matzah to get that crisp taste of tradition. Make a few batches not just for your seder, but for all week! What is your favorite part of eating matzah?
- Gabi tells us that making your own matzah gives life to the Jewish value Na’aseh v’nishmah, learning by doing. What is something you have learned by doing first?
- During the Passover week, we are challenged to eat nothing with leavening, especially bread. “Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread… Throughout the seven days, unleavened bread shall be eaten; no leavened bread [chameitz] shall be found with you…” (Exodus 13:6-7).
- Gabi dresses up her matzah with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese to make homemade matzah pizza. What different matzah toppings would you choose for variety during seven chameitz-free days? Do you know you can adapt recipes for spinach pie, linzer tortes, and so many other amazing treats?
- You may notice an interesting coincidence that the 18 minutes to fermentation matches the numeric value of the Hebrew word chai, which means "life." The letter chet = 8 and yud = 10. Time limits can be stressful and at other times they are welcome. What was it like to have to bake within a certain time limit?
Still have matzah leftover at the end of Passover? Michele Citrin has 20 great ideas. And then 20 more...