I’ve fallen so far behind on blogging for the AtoZ Challenge that I’m beginning to wonder what the blank I’ve gotten myself into. The beginning of the month started out pretty good, but then we got into the part of the month where heavy duty cleaning and prep for the Spring Holidays got underway. Even then, I was able to half-way keep up, only ending up a day or so behind (and being able to catch-up by doing posts in one day)…. Now, I find myself six letters behind and wondering “What in the blank did I get myself into” Part of the problem could be contributed to the amount of time and effort required of the the posts being done for my personal blog (on History of Paramedicine). I’m at a point where I’m really questioning my sanity.
A bit part of me was strongly considering doing all the letters needed to catch-up in one big post and just knock it all out. But I’m not so sure that would be the best choice to make so I’ll keep it all separate.
We (my husband and I) decided on doing Matzah for letter M because the day in which letter M was to be done was to be at the beginning of the week in which we would not have leavened bread in the house… A common bread type item to have in the house during this week is Matzah. There are several different types of Matzah – I’m going to concentrate on 3 basics – Store bought (factory made), Shmeera Matzah, and Home Made).
There really isn’t much to be said about the first – Store bought unless you get into the different flavors and such (regular white flour, whole wheat, egg, egg & onion, made with grape juice, covered in chocolate… the list goes on).
Shmurah Matzah is hand made and most often round in shape. They can be done in a a commercial type setting but the process from start to finish is stricly guarded according to strict orthodox kosher guidelines. One thing you’ll notice is that rarely (if ever) will you find two Shmura Matzas being the same – Kind of like a snow flake I guess. You can learn more about Shmura Matzah via this chabad link as well as this Wikipedia link.
Finally you can make your own matzah at home (though there may be argument as to whether or not this would be considered acceptable and “kosher” – I’m not hear to argue that point. In it’s most simplified, Matzah is really nothing more than flour and water. Obviously yeast would not be found as that would cause “leavening”. Also, unless you are making all your matzah prior to the start of Pesach you would not have any pre-ground flour in the house. I’m sure there is argument (again I’m not going there) as to whether or not wheat berries would be acceptable. In our opinion they are as wheat berries do not attract moisture from the air and create their own “yeast” in the same manner that ground flour might. There’s argument that if you take flour and store in an airtight container so moisture is absolutely unable to get to the flour that this would be acceptable. The problem with store bough flour is that you don’t know how long it’s been sitting around on a shelf and the “paper” type containers they are in are not at all airtight or water tight.
So back to the whole “home-made” matzah thing…. You’ll want to grind your own flour from wheat berries (there’s several kinds out there – hard red wheat, hard white wheat, soft white, Kamut, Barley, Rye, etc). You should only grind enough to make the immediate number of batches you plan to make. According to strict orthodox kosher guidelines the amount of time from when the water hits the flour to time that the finished product is pulled from the oven should be under 18 minutes. It could very well be argued that this is putting fences upon fences and unnecessary (again – not here to argue points of kashrut). Nonetheless, it is relatively important to work quickly once water (or other moisture) has been added to the flour.
Here’s a couple of Matzah recipes that we tried out this week:
Check out the A to Z Challenge list for more ‘challenge’ participants.