Thursday, March 31, 2011

Homeschool Matzah Bakery – Lessons Learned

matza 005

Today’s homeschool matzah baking was slightly less successful than next year’s.  More chaotic and fun, though, because friends came over!

It’s always cool to do matzah ahead of time, because Pesach is basically the one festival that I don’t do any challah-baking for.  So it feels nice to be able to do something bready, albeit not specifically for the holiday.

Our “matzahs” aren’t kosher for Pesach, of course, but I strive for realism by setting an 18-minute timer just before the water is added to the flour.  Last year, I think I got three batches finished and out of the oven by the time the timer went off – though not all of it.  This year, there was one batch, and even that was not really properly baked.

Still – they were delicious (if a little hard on the teeth!) for lunch with cream cheese – or mine with just butter and salt.  And a few lessons learned for next time / next year:

  • Use the food processor.  I did it that way last year; VERY fast to mix!
  • Make thinner matzahs.  Last year, I did it to the “6” position on the pasta maker… this year, I only did 5.  That was partly because the dough was too wet; therefore…
  • Drier dough.  I let the kiddies knead it by hand, which I thought would be more educational than the food processor.  The drawback is that to get it kneadable by  hand, it had to be wetter.  That’s great for bread, not so great for the pasta roller.  Today’s dough would not have rolled out thinner than a “5” without getting hopelessly sticky (ask me how I know!).  And thin matzah is important because it leads to…
  • Crispy matzah!  Some of this year’s were too thick and therefore, still floppy when we had to pull them out – they were on the verge of being burnt.  Thinner matzah = crispier matzah, possibly also with the addition of…
  • More heat!  This year, as it was last year, the oven was at 500 degrees; I may try 550 in future to try for that superfast superhot bake that “real” matzahs receive.
  • Meanwhile, it’s time again to check out this cool, puppet- and Torah-filled documentary about how matzah is made.  2000 degrees:  amazing!  Oh, and here’s another post from last year’s homeschool matzah bake!

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