Skip to main content

Hand-made and Machine-made Matzo

Machine matzo

Traditional matzo

Matzo was traditionally made by hand; this tradition originated in Jewish cuisine during the exodus of Jews from Egypt and has survived to this day. The matzo dough was kneaded by hand, rolled out by hand and placed in the oven by hand. Orthodox Jews to this day believe that only handmade matzo is kosher. But progress could not but affect even such a tradition as the making of matzo. Somewhere in the thirties of the nineteenth century, a simple mechanism was proposed to accelerate the production of matzo, and since then the debate about the degree of kosher machine matzo and its suitability for fulfilling the commandment of eating matzo has not subsided.

Machine matzo

Machine matzo is not devoid of advantages, the main one of which is the reduction of the matzo production cycle, which sharply reduces the likelihood that the matzo dough will ferment. In addition, at the current technical level, in the production of machine matzo, it is possible to achieve higher sanitary and hygienic standards, as well as more accurate adherence to the technology of matzo production than with the manual method.

Kosher Matzo

Proponents of hand-made matzo point to two main problems with machine-made matzo. First, it was initially assumed that the mechanisms were imperfect, in which, due to their design features, dough particles from previous kneading could remain, which could lead to their fermentation, and as a result, the machine matzo could turn out to be non-kosher. This problem existed at the beginning of attempts to make machine matzo, but thanks to technical progress, it has been successfully solved.

The second problem of machine matzo is associated with high matters and still has no unambiguous solution. The question is that even after providing all the technical parameters in the cooking recipe for making matzo, can it be considered that the matzo produced by the machine was made with the intention of making matzo for the fulfillment of the commandment? This is a very complex theological issue, on which no consensus has yet been found. At the same time, the question of kosher machine matzo is not raised, the debate is only about whether it is suitable for fulfilling the commandment on the first day of Pesach.

Since there is an unambiguous answer to the question of whether it is possible to use machine matzo, or only hand-made matzo, as well as the possibility of using machine matzo during the Seider on Pesach, the following is usually recommended. You should turn to the traditions of your ancestors, or use hand-made matzo for the first day of Pesach, on the other days of the celebration of Pesach it is permissible to use machine matzo instead of bread.