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Matzo - Jewish Bread



Matzo is a traditional Jewish bread, the matzo recipe is one of the simplest bread recipes – only flour and water are included in the matzo recipe, but matzo is very important for the Jewish people and plays an important role in Jewish cuisine. The point is that matzo is generally viewed not as a food product, but as a religious symbol. In fulfillment of the commandment to eat matzo, on the first evening of Pesach, Jews are required to eat at least a small piece of kosher matzo. In addition, during the entire Pesach holiday, which is seven days in Israel and eight in the Diaspora, they cannot eat bread prepared by fermentation; leaven cannot be consumed on Pesach under any guise. In this case, matzo is the best choice – unleavened bread, in the recipe of which sourdough is not only not used, in the manufacture of matzo they strictly monitor that the dough for matzo is not leavened in any way.

Shmura Matzo or Preserved Matzo

Matzo, which Jews should eat on the first day of Pesach, must be prepared with many requirements in mind. For matzo to be considered kosher on Pesach, it must be prepared only by Jews and only with special ingredients. It is worth noting here that matzo made by hand from the right products is called shmura matzo – preserved or protected matzo. Shmura matzo can be prepared from different flours, depending on which the level of protection of the matzo depends. The highest level of protection for matzo is considered when flour is used for its recipe, which has been protected from contact with moisture from the moment the grain was squeezed. The second level implies the protection of the flour for the matzo from the moment of grinding, and the third, the lowest, implies the use of flour simply purchased from the store in the matzo recipe. Naturally, the best matzo for the Pesach holiday is the one made from flour of the first preservation level, and matzo from ordinary flour, even prepared according to all the rules, is not suitable for fulfilling the commandment, although it may well be used instead of bread on all days of the Pesach holiday, except first.

Matzo Recipe

The matzo recipe is very simple – flour and water, but the process of making matzo is very tough requirements. Matzo, to be considered kosher, must be prepared by Jews, who during the entire cooking process must ensure that the matzo dough is not leavened in any way, in addition, matzo must be prepared with the intention of preparing matzo for the fulfillment of the commandment. For the production of matzo, very strict cleanliness requirements are observed in the matzo bakery, and the process of making matzo itself cannot last more than 18 minutes, since it is believed that during this time the process of fermentation of the matzo dough can begin. For this reason, all processes when baking matzo are done very quickly – kneading the dough, rolling it out and placing it in the oven usually takes much less time than the recommended 18 minutes.

Hand-made Matzo and Machine-made Matzo

Traditionally, matzo was made by hand – from kneading the dough for the matzo to placing it in the oven, this method is still used today, and hand-made matzo is in high demand for Pesach, especially in more orthodox circles. But since the middle of the 19th century, attempts have been made to mechanize the process of making matzo, and at present, huge volumes of matzo are produced on automatic equipment. The main advantage of machine matzo is its high production speed, which reduces the likelihood of fermentation. The debate about whether machine matzo is kosher has been going on since the advent of the machine method of making matzo to this day, a clear answer to this question has not been found. Many people use machine matzo, considering it completely kosher for Pesach, while the Orthodox completely reject machine matzo and use only hand matzo for Pesach. Since hand-made matzo is currently not a cheap product, the bulk of Jews try to get at least three rounds of hand-made matzo for the first day of the holiday for Pesach, and on all other days they eat machine matzo, which, from their point of view, is quite suitable for this purpose.