Matzah doesn’t have to be boring

I’m cutting to the chase here folks.

Pesach (Passover) is my favourite Jewish holiday. I love the food, the family time, the rituals. It’s just great.

Yes, I love the food, including the matzah!

But matzah doesn’t have to be boring, tasteless and overpriced. Because honestly, it is The. Easiest. Recipe. Ever. Super customizable, done in less than 18 minutes (so it’s kosher!) from mixing to cooling, and with a shelf life as long as you could possibly need it.

Sure, you could take store-bought matzah and make one of the many, many, many iterations of matzah ‘crack‘/toffee/brittle (protip: they’re all the same. Just make a brown sugar caramel, pour it over a rimmed baking sheet covered in matzah, spread evenly, sprinkle chocolate over top to melt, spread evenly, sprinkle with toppings, refrigerate).

Or you could buy one of the many, many, many varieties of matzah they now sell in well stocked grocery stores (Manischewitz now makes 25 kinds). But have fun paying for it.

This recipe is great because  it takes zero effort to make it your own. It’s flour and water, with a little bit of oil and salt. You can use literally any kind of flour or oil, and if flavoured matzah is your thing, add some spices to it as well. This is pretty much the definition of a blank canvas.

Note on making your matzah kosher for PesachIf you want your matzah to be kosher for pesach, just cut the recipe in half. I was able to take a half recipe from putting the ingredients into the bowl, to taking the matzah out of the oven, in about 16 minutes. I then washed my tools, and started again. If you’re not concerned about having it all done in the 18 minutes, go ahead and double the recipe, just make sure you keep the uncooked dough covered, otherwise it will dry out quickly.

Other notes:

  • The easiest way to make this recipe is with a pasta machine. I have one that has never been used for pasta before, so it was perfect to make kosher for pesach matzah. If you don’t have a pasta roller, you can use a rolling pin, but you won’t be able to get it as thin.
  • Because this recipe is so simple, and you’re purposely not giving the flour time to ferment, it will only have the flavours you directly add to it. That means you should use the highest quality ingredients you can – the freshest and best tasting flour, the highest quality oil, distilled or spring water, and untreated sea salt.
  • Use whatever flour you want in this. Want to make it gluten-free? Use sprouted wheat, amaranth or quinoa flour (all available at Bulk Barn and health food stores). I used a freshly milled whole wheat red fife flour from Grain.
  • Use whatever oil you want. I used a fancy EVOO in one batch, and food-grade argan oil (my favourite) direct from Morocco in the other. You could use coconut oil if you wanted a sweeter matzah, or other nut or vegetable oil.
  • You want your oven to be clean before you make this. At 500f with the oven open and closing, anything that’s in there is going to burn and smoke.
  • You can add any flavourings that are powders or dissolveable (like garlic or ginger powders, or turmeric).

Homemade Matzah

225g whole wheat flour (or 240g unbleached all purpose flour)
1 tsp fine sea salt (or more to taste)
1 tbsp oil
115g water (90g if you’re using AP flour)

(if making this kosher, cut the batch in half, to 112g whole wheat flour, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tbsp oil and 55g water)

  1. One hour before you plan to bake, preheat the oven to 500f with a baking stone on the bottom rack. Remove the upper rack from the oven. If you don’t have a baking stone, put the largest baking sheet you have upside down on the bottom rack.
  2. Mix all of the ingredients together in a large bowl, by hand. As the dough comes together, squeeze and knead it in the bowl until it forms a homogenous ball. Because it’s fairly dry and you don’t have a lot of time, the fastest way to do this is literally to pick it up and squeeze it, rolling it around in your hands.
  3. If there are any dry bits, just dip your fingers in a bowl of water and keep squeezing the dough until the dough is uniform. It will be rough and should not be sticky or tacky. If it is tacky, add more flour.
  4. Roll the dough in your hands into a ball, and press against the work surface to flatten slightly. Divide the dough into 4 roughly pieces. Set one piece aside, put the other pieces under a kitchen towel or plastic wrap so they don’t dry out.
  5. Flatten the reserved piece of dough with your hand, and then run it through a pasta machine (or roll with a rolling pin), starting at the thickest setting, and working your way down to the thinnest (I used the KitchenAid stand mixer pasta attachment). As you thin it out, cut the sheets into more manageable pieces.
  6. Once you’ve reached the thinnest setting, you can either keep the matzah in the rough oblong shape it will now be in, or trim it into a rectangle, square or other shape. If you trim it, collect the pieces you’ve trimmed off and add them to the remaining dough.
  7. Use a fork to make lots of little holes all over the sheets. This will prevent air pockets from forming in the oven. I pretty much cover the sheets of dough with little holes, just like the store bought matzah.
  8. Using a pizza peel, tongs, the back of a plate, or your hands (very carefully) lay/toss the thin sheets of dough onto the preheated baking stones.
  9. After 60 seconds, when the dough is just starting to turn golden, flip it over using tongs.
  10. After another 50-60 seconds, as the edges start to darken, take it out and let it cool on a cooling rack. When it first comes out, it will still be soft, but it’ll harden as soon as it cools.

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