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When Matzah is Good

Published Monday, March 25, 2019

 

 

According to Julian,10, “matzah is good…it tastes like bread.” He continues with appropriate child-like relish, “and if the JCC has a matzah party I want to come!” Thalia, 7 and Ghianni,10, both found ways to make their matzah even better: Ghianni like his with butter and jam, whereas recommends chocolate. Who doesn’t like chocolate?!

On the other hand, Ada, 10, suggests matzah is “bread that tastes like the baker failed.”

Whether you are a fan or not, matzah signals that it is almost Pesach, or Passover in English, the most celebrated Jewish holiday worldwide.

Below we’re sharing a quick recipe matzah. While a form of bread – it is made of flour and water – it is not allowed to leaven in any way. There are strict rules to avoid rising. This is to honor our Israelite ancestors who did not have time to allow their bread to rise as they escaped from slavery in Egypt a long time ago (dayeinu!).  Jewish law dictates that we have only 18 minutes from the time the flour is first mixed with water to get it mixed and cooked.

In addition to the 18 minutes rule, finding the right flour is difficult. Most grains are off-limits during Passover, so where do the companies that make matzah get their grains? I did not find whether Kosher flour is available. If you are o.k. following the 18-minute rule, then here is a fun recipe to make with your kids:

Homemade Matzah

2 cups flour
1 cup of water

Pre-heat the oven to 475°. Have ready baking sheets lined with parchment, a rolling pin, and forks nearby.

Set a timer for 18 minutes. Start the timer, pour the water, about 1 tablespoon at a time, into the flour. Combine and knead until the dough comes together into a smooth ball, 1-2 minutes. If the dough sticks to your hands or the counter, add flour a teaspoon at a time until it is no longer sticky.

Cut the dough into 4-5 pieces and sprinkle the counter with flour. Working with one piece at a time, roll out the dough thinly. Transfer to a baking sheet and prick it all over, 25 times or more, to prevent the dough from puffing. Bake until crisp, 3-4 minutes.

While the first batch is baking, prepare the second batch. Continue baking until your 18 minutes are up.

The JCC’s team of young cooks recommend Nutella, butter and jelly, eggs, chocolate, and salmon as matzah toppings. One of our intrepid young cooks even came up with sour cream and caviar. However, you make it, enjoy and Happy Passover!

 

 

Audra Martin has worked with children in the JCC field for over 20 years, she is the Director of Children and Camp at the Merage JCC. Contact Audra at audram@jccoc.org.