The best matzo? It’s homemade. – The Denver Post

By Melissa Clark, The New York Times

Of all the delights of the Seder table — the tender brisket, the golden chicken soup flecked with dill, the wine-drenched charoset rich with apples — commercial, kosher-for-Passover matzo falls pretty low on the list.

Made from only flour and water, the result is hard and bland — perfect as a base for matzo brei or a Hillel sandwich but not so delicious for snacking on its own.

Homemade matzo is something else entirely. Delicate and airy, and often spiked with a little salt and olive oil, it has potato chip appeal, but it’s much faster and easier to make.

The first time I whipped up a batch, I was surprised at how quick the process was. But it makes sense: After all, according to Jewish tradition, the Israelites mixed and baked their matzo in under 18 minutes before their exodus into the desert. How complicated could the recipe be?

Stirred together with a wooden spoon in one bowl, it’s about as simple as baking gets. The hardest part was rolling the pieces of dough into rounds, like the handmade shmurah matzo I’ve had at many a Seder. But once I let go of that circular ideal, the process went much more quickly.

For this recipe, I added a little whole-wheat flour to the dough, which gives the matzo a gentle earthiness. I also sprinkled the tops with flaky sea salt, but I could imagine cracked black pepper and other spices as excellent seasonings, too. Just be sure to prick the dough all over with a fork before baking, otherwise the matzo will puff rather than crisp.

It’s important to note that as tasty as it is, this recipe isn’t kosher for Passover because Jewish law forbids any ingredients other than flour and water to be used. However, even if you left out the salt and oil, it still wouldn’t necessarily meet all the exacting kosher criteria.

“It’s nearly impossible to create Passover matzo at home that you can use for the Seder,” said Rabbi Motti Seligson of Chabad, “but making it can be educational and fun, especially for children.”

Luckily, unlike toilet paper and hand sanitizer, kosher-for-Passover matzo is in good supply and should not be hard to find, though delivery might take extra time, he said.

Still, as the holiday approaches, making your own can be a delicious and satisfying pursuit that’s also inherently hopeful.

“Matzo is a symbol of deliverance,” Seligson said. And that’s something we can all celebrate right about now.

Recipe: Easy Matzo

Yield: 4 matzo crackers

Total time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups/255 grams all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • 1/4 cup/30 grams whole-wheat flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup/60 milliliters extra-virgin olive oil
  • Flaky sea salt (optional)

Directions

1. With the racks positioned the top third and middle, heat oven to 500 degrees.