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Speaking of Chometz: I figured it out!

Last year, Ted gave me a gift, a special pillow for stretching out naan and other flatbreads.  I posted about it at the time, wondering if anybody knew what it was called.

And tonight, I found out at last!

In India, it’s called a GADHI, but it’s also known as a “tanoor  pillow,” “sticking pillow” or, so obviously I don’t know why I never googled it before, “naan pillow.”

Here is a rather large one changing hands somewhere in the middle east – Lebanon?

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You can watch a small one in action here:

And then, for a sophisticated, modern, burn-proof take, there’s the “Naandle” – a portmanteau word of “naan” and “handle”.  Cool!

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I am guessing that the diameter of the pillow is correlated to the size of the bread and/or the oven opening.  A large oven opening can make larger flatbreads and take a larger pillow.  The oven in the video above is fairly small.

Also, like a couche or any other fabric used to handle bread, I suspect that they are ideally made from a tightly-woven cotton fabric so as to ensure that the dough doesn’t stick to the pillow.  Of course, with frequent use, the thing would get so floury that nothing would stick to it, ever.

I  have also completely MORE than satisfied my hunch that the Indian word “tandoor” and the Hebrew / Middle-Eastern word “tanoor” are pretty much one and the same thing.

And now all I need is to have one of my very own!

Why am I doing all this thinking about tanoors and giant, savoury flatbreads?  Because of Ted’s parsha cartoon this week!

Homeschool Matzah Bakery 5772!

DSC02763One of the mamas at our homeschool matzah bake today pointed out how many calories are in matzah compared to bread – I forget, but it’s something like 4 times as many – because matzah doesn’t have all the air and water that bread does so it’s just pure calories.

Which got me thinking – it’s  astonishing how much flour today’s baking wasted… or, if you don’t want to think of it as waste, because everybody was learning and having fun, at least how INEFFICIENT matzah baking is.

Each kid started with a cup of flour and 1/3 cup of water.  There were six kids, plus I had two cups of flour, which makes 8 cups of flour altogether. 

If I’d made BREAD with 8 cups of flour (about 1080g), it would be enough for at least two big loaves.  In fact, I made two 680g loaves yesterday with 877g of flour, and I had dough to spare at the end of the evening.  Just one of those loaves would have fed everybody here for lunch quite handily.

As it was, out of those eight cups, we had barely enough matzah for lunch – each kid made two big matzahs, and they didn’t eat it all, but because the mamas were also eating lunch, all the matzah was gone by the time the shmearing was done.  Eight cups worth of dough (granted, one matzah burnt beyond recognition – yet another inefficiency!).

It didn’t help that (once again, according to last year’s post), the dough was too wet.  That meant I couldn’t roll it out super-thin, which not only makes “more” matzah – ie more surface area – but also creates more PALATABLE matzah, since thinner = crispier and easier to eat.

Anyway, just thinking about this made me realize that although matzah prices seem exorbitant, these inefficiencies of matzah baking probably extend somewhat to the larger-scale operations that make it professionally.

In other news, I had a brilliant idea for a “chometz museum,” which I set up to showcase the five different grains (wheat, oats, barley, rye, spelt) with which matzah can be made, in their various forms (well… I ran out of spelt, and I wasn’t going to buy more two weeks before Pesach just for this occasion).  I also had separate dishes for kitniyos “grains” – rice, corn and beans – so the kids could pass them around and touch and feel them.

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