I recently had the opportunity to play photographer for the afternoon, when my dad Barry Wine and his friend Leslie made homemade matzoh. My dad is a former chef/restaurateur with this awesome wood stove…
…which he uses to make matzoh every year for the Jewish holiday of Passover.
Passover commemorates the liberation of the Jewish slaves from Egypt. The Jews had to pack up and leave in such a hurry that they could not wait for their breads to rise, so they took unleavened bread with them instead. Eating matzoh during the days of Passover and particularly at the Passover Sedar (the meal that takes place on the first two nights of the holiday) connects Jews of today to this event in the past.
There are lots of rules/rituals associated with Passover. While this matzoh is meant to be a rustic homemade version that follows as many of the matzoh-making “rules” as possible, it’s not meant to be served at a Passover Sedar if you are very observant of Jewish laws.
In order to make matzoh, you will need flour, water, a rolling pin and a docker to make holes. Matzoh is meant to be bland. I’m not going to stop you from adding a little salt or anything else that might add some flavor, just know that if you do, then you aren’t really making matzoh.
Note that you are not supposed to let more than 18 minutes pass after you mix the flour with the water and before you get the matzoh in the oven, because after 18 minutes, natural leavening starts to take place.
You will need a very hot oven to make matzoh, about 475°F. Make sure to preheat your oven well before you mix the dough, so it will be hot enough when you are ready to bake.
How to Make Matzoh
1. Start with 3 cups of flour.
2. And then add 1 cup of water:
3. Mix the dough a bit in the bowl to bring everything together, but don’t knead it too much as you don’t want to develop the gluten:
4. Turn your dough out on to a floured counter top and mix it around a bit more:
5. Then cut it into 4 equal pieces:
6. Roll each piece out. You can make your matzohs into rectangular shapes, like commercial matzohs, or roll them into a circle like this, as thin as you can:
7. And “dock” the dough (I imagine a fork can be used if you don’t have a docker):
8. If baking in a regular oven, place your matzohs onto parchment lined baking sheets. Otherwise, you can use a pizza peel to get the dough in the oven:
9. Cook for a few minutes until it starts to “bubble” and darken (keep in mind that if you are using a regular oven, it won’t blacken like the matzoh in these pictures).
10. Remove from the oven:
Each batch of 3 cups flour/1 cup water will make 4 large matzohs…we made four batches, using a total of 12 cups of flour and 4 cups of water.
Matzoh can be used anywhere you’d use crackers- eat it plain or with a dip or nut butter spread, or use it to take the place of bread during Passover.