CRACKLING THIN IRAQI WHOLE WHEAT MATZOT
Matzah is probably the oldest and most iconic of all Jewish breads. It is mentioned numerous times in the Bible, and not just in the context of Passover
(although some later commentators assume that whenever it is mentioned, it is the time of Passover). The original matzah (matzah is singular, matzot is plural)
was probably made from barley, but with wheat being the preferred grain; for centuries almost all matzot has been made from the best wheat flour carefully guarded
since harvest. During Passover, observant Jews do not eat any grain or bread other than this unleavened flatbread, to connect in a tangible way with the Exodus.
Unless you have access to Passover flour and high-temperature bread ovens, you can't make kosher-for-Passover matzot at home, but these very thin matzot
are delicious as crackers for the rest of the year. Sifting the whole wheat flour is an extra step, but the resulting matzot have a sweeter and milder flavor than
those made from un-sifted whole wheat.
Matzah is never rolled out with any flour, so it's important to get the consistency of the dough just right so it rolls out easily: If the dough is too soft, it
will stick; if it's too firm, it will resist extending. Most matzot must be docked, punctured, or pierced, but these are so thin they do not need it.
Makes: Sixteen 9-inch (23-cm) matzot
Recipe Synopsis: Mix the dough. Divide the dough and roll it into the thinnest circles possible. Bake the matzot for 5 to 10 minutes per batch.
Time Required: About 1 hour
| (CLICK TO BUY)
About 5 cups (23.6 ounces) coarsely ground whole wheat flour
About 1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) water
Please Note: Our whole wheat flour is not kosher for Passover.
|Preheating the Oven|
Arrange the oven racks in the upper and lower third positions and preheat the oven to 450°F.|
|Sifting the Flour|
Using a very fine mesh strainer, sift the flour into a large bowl; reserve the bran for another purpose.
(This step can be skipped if you like, but you will need to add extra water to the dough.)|
|Mixing the Dough|
Pour the water into the sifted flour and mix until a rough dough forms. Turn the dough out onto your
work surface and knead until it is smooth, adding more flour or water as necessary to make a firm dough
that can be easily stretched but is not at all sticky and does not stick to the kneading surface. Divide the
dough into sixteen small balls.|
|Rolling Out and Baking the Matzot|
Roll out and bake two to four matzot at a time, depending on the size of your baking sheets. Using no flour,
roll out each ball with a heavy rolling pin into the thinnest possible circle, about 9 inches across. (If you cannot
roll out the dough that then, be sure to pierce the dough all over with a fork.) Place each matzah (two if they will fit)
on a baking sheet and bake for 5 to 10 minutes, or until it curls up at the edges and is browned and dry. Transfer to a
rack to cool. Store the matzot in a large tin or airtight plastic bag.|
Excerpted from A BLESSING OF BREAD copyright © 2004 Maggie Glezer.
Reprinted with the permission of Workman Publishing Co., Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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