All That’s Missing Is The Sun To Bake It On My Back

Matzah

Matzah is only slightly more fun than dreidl. As a lot of folks know, I’ve been trying to invent a dreidl game that’s any good at all for several years now, to no avail. But I’m all up ons with the matzah thing.

Here’s what you do.

  • 2c flour
  • 1/2ts salt
  • 1/2c olive oil. Use something good. I like Star, but we just went through a bottle of extraordinary yumminess that I can’t remember the name of.
  • 1/3c water
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Start your timer. This has to be in the oven in under 18 minutes or it’s no good for Pesach. 18 is the gemmatria for “Chai”, which means “life”, so it’s “alive” in 18 minutes, and that means it’s leavened.
  3. Don’t sweat the time. This takes like 5 minutes.
  4. Combine the flour and salt.
  5. Sprinkle in the oil while tumbling around the flour. See if you can get all the flour stuck into oily, crumbly chunks.
  6. Sprinkle in the water while turning over the flour/oil mixture as little as possible. Don’t knead it. That’s the key. Just get it mixed so everything’s damp with oil or water.
  7. Oil up some baking sheets.
  8. Roll it out just as flat as you can get it, ideally 2mm thick or so. I rolled it out on my baking sheets so I knew it would fit, but it was a little awkward because of our rolling pin’s shape.
  9. Bake for 25 minutes.
  10. While it’s baking, clean up the flour so you don’t have chametz floating around the kitchen. Also, it’s a mess.

The result is much like a pie crust. It’s awesome with meats and I want to try it as sort of an eggs-and-biscuits thing, too. When I did it, it was just as good the next day. There wasn’t any to test on day 3.

I checked with our favorite rabbi to ask about it’s KFPness, and he said he couldn’t think of any reason it wouldn’t be OK, though seder matzah has to be just flour and water. Since I was baking this so we could eat dinner (all the grocery stores being totally sold out of matzah), rather than as a ritual object, he figures it’s fine, since people fry matzah all the time.

0 thoughts on “All That’s Missing Is The Sun To Bake It On My Back”

  1. Not to be a bummer, but the cooking time has to be done in under 18 minutes, so the last part “bake for 25 minutes” makes it not kosher for passover.

  2. My research has said that it has to be in the oven in 18 minutes. That said, it would be better baked hotter. I’m going to try it at 400° and see how long it takes. When I made more today, one of the “loaves” was clearly done in 15 minutes or so (though I kept baking to get both matzot baked) at 350° and it tasted much better sorta toasty like that.

    Next time, I’ll see if the whole thing can be done in 18 minutes. I bet it will work fine.

  3. For halachically acceptable matzo for Passover, the entire matzah baking process — from adding the water to the flour until the matzos are done baking — has to take place in less than 18 minutes

  4. I like it when people on internet fora randomly affirm what I have previously asserted. Saves me so much extra breath.

  5. Hey, Josh! Thanks for the info, I was wondering if it was because the number 18 had some mystical significance, because I think that was true of most of the religions from the Middle East.

    For example, in Islam, the number 72 is associated with martyrdom supposedly because that was the number of Imam Hussein’s party that was killed, but a friend who’s a Middle Eastern specialist says that the number was associated with martyrdom long before Hussein or even Muhammad.

    I wonder if it’s just a coincidence that 18 means “life” and that 18 is considered when people reach adulthood. I doubt there’s a link, but it would be interesting.

  6. Yeah, it’s an interesting coincidence, to be sure, but I don’t think it’s related, since Jews become adults at 12 (for girls) and 13 (for boys).

    I’d be interested in pre-Jewish interpretations of the number, too, but a search for “Middle East 18” just gives me pages of 18+ shows at the Middle East club in Boston. Nice club. But not relevant. Do you have a source?

  7. I suspect you’re right that it’s a coincidence. I spent a little time on google to see if I could figure out when it became common to think of 18 year olds as adults.

    Considering how it used to be so common for people to get married in their early teens(I.E. Romeo and Juliet being 13 or 14) I think it’s a pretty recent phenomenon, but I could be wrong.

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