Matzo is an important ingredient in all kinds of Jewish cooking from around the world. It’s a very simple unleavened bread that can be made only from wheat, oats, rye, barley—or spelt. Spelt matzo is now available from several companies, but it’s easy to make your own and it’s delicious.
Matzo is unleavened because when the Jews left Egypt under the leadership of Moses, they didn’t have time to let their bread rise.
Matzo is the only bread Jews can eat during Passover, the holiday that celebrates the Exodus from Egypt. It is also said to symbolize humility, because as a simple unleavened bread, it represents poor people’s food. Also, it’s not “puffed up,” another reason it recalls the modesty and humility of the poor and simple.
Our mothers and grandmothers cooked with regular commercial matzos and matzo meal. Commercially produced spelt matzo does exist, but it’s easy to make your own from scratch and it’s delicious.
Once you have your matzo, go ahead and make matzo meal with some of it, eat a piece or two for old times’ sake, and then make some matzo brei, the Ashkenazic answer to french toast.
Homemade Spelt MatzoPrep Time: 1 hour
Cook time: 1 hour
Makes: 12 matzos
- About 2 3/4 cups/350 g white spelt flour, divided
- 1/2 tsp/3 g kosher salt
- 1/3 cup/80 ml olive oil
- About 1/2 tsp/3 g fine sea salt
- Set a pizza stone on an oven rack and heat oven to 500F/260C for about 45 minutes (if you don’t have a pizza stone, set a large baking sheet on a rack and heat until oven is hot).
- Put 2 1/4 cups/ 350 g spelt flour, kosher salt, and oil in a food processor. With motor running, slowly add 1/2 cup/120 ml water. Dough will come together into a ball and should feel soft and supple; if it is sticky at all, add more flour, 1 tbsp/8 g at a time.
- Divide dough into 12 portions. Using a floured rolling pin, roll 1 portion at a time on a well-floured work surface into a round about 8 in/20 cm wide and just thin enough to see through. Lightly sprinkle with sea salt and press it in with your hands. Prick dough all over with a fork (this will prevent the dough from puffing up too much).
- Flour a wooden peel or back of a baking sheet generously and transfer dough to it. Gently slide dough onto hot pizza stone. Bake until matzo is light golden and crisp on each side and a bit darker at the edges, turning once with a wide spatula, 2 to 3 minutes total. Transfer matzo to a cooling rack and make remaining matzos the same way.
- 5. Rebake any matzo that isn’t crisp in the center, which may be the case if they baked on a baking sheet; put matzos on a rimmed baking sheet, reduce oven heat to 250F/120C, and bake 15 to 25 minutes more.
Adapted from http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/homemade-matzos