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Soft matzah - the matzah Rashi ate

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In case you missed it last year, http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/779147 several leading poskim have endorsed the idea that matzah used to be soft, flat bread.

The descriptions and explanations posted here http://www.realmatza.com/index.html are pretty good, once you get over the tone of the cheap tabloid sensationalist style of the webpage. It cites the major poskim who have recently discussed this. It does not say that Rav Hershel Schachter will be eating soft matzah at his seder this year.

The links page http://www.realmatza.com/links.html includes links to soft matzah bakeries in the Jewish Homeland; Brooklyn.

Seriously, there is a link to a producer in Brooklyn http://softmatza.com/

And in Eretz Israel http://www.temani.co.il/mzot.htm

The culinary implications are powerful, like, your Hillel sandwich wouldn't be a sandwich, it would be a wrap.

Softmatza.com says that it ships overnight mail. I assume that you put the matzah in the freezer when it arrives. You would have to thaw it and warm it before putting it on the seder plate. Hatzalah has been alerted and will send medics to pick you husband up off the floor when you set soft shmurah bread on the seder table.

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  1. I tried the soft matza several years ago, thinking I would be getting something similar to a Laffa. It was not, although the pictures on the website look more like Laffa than what I received. I don't remember where I got it, but it was frozen and I kept it in the freezer until we used it. It was thick and really not as pliable as I was hoping for.

    If I could get a Laffa type matza, I would definitely get it. I remember having it as a kid when I visited my grandparents in Israel.

    18 Replies
    1. re: njkosher

      This is an issue. The time restrictions on making the matzot mean that the dough doesn't have time to relax.

      1. re: CloggieGirl

        You're probably right, it will likely be thick and tough - this throws new light on Yetziat Mitzrayim.

        I mean, I knew about having to leave all their stuff and the hardship of hiking in a hot, waterless desert - not to mention being chased by the entire Egyptian Army - but Bad Chow!

        Our ancestors really had it tough.

        i never

        1. re: AdinaA

          When I was in Israel 2 years ago with my brother in the Golan, we davened Mincha erev pesach at 1 pm. Then we went into a building where they were set up to make shmura matza. We all cleaned up and the frenzy began as soon as the water was poured, with guys with stop watches and everyone yelling. An unbelievable religious experience, and we only made a few matzas, which were ok on the first night, but the few little pieces that were left, were rock hard by the next day. Way harder than any shmura matza I have ever bought, so clearly there is an art to this.

          Nevertheless, I would do it again in a heartbeat.

          1. re: njkosher

            Wow!

        2. re: CloggieGirl

          I recently made chapati for an Indian-themed shabbos meal, and was thinking then that they were essentially like matzos. All they were were flour and water (and salt), kneaded together and rolled out quickly, and cooked for about 45 seconds per side in a frying pan. It would have been easily doable in 18 minutes, and while not fluffy and tender, they were certainly not "thick and tough," as per Adina's thought. I found them delicious when first cooked, but they were even OK for shabbos lunch. The few that were leftover were not as good after shabbos, but they weren't terrible even then.

          1. re: queenscook

            Salt!

            :-)

            1. re: DeisCane

              I'm not getting your point. Are you saying that matzos don't have salt? If so, of course I know that, but I wasn't making matzo. Or are you saying that's what prevented them from being tougher? Or have I missed something entirely here?

              1. re: queenscook

                I'm just being silly with a false "eureka" of sorts. I was calling out that the delta in the equation is salt. But since we don't know how much that impacts the issues you and Adina mentioned, it means little. Again, just being silly.

            2. re: queenscook

              The real issue is since the advent of cardboard matzha people have gotten frummer and cook all their matza before pesach. If you're ok mixing this up on pesach and cooking everything so there is no chametz then I imagine it would be 100x better than any commercial matza that is weeks to months old. Otherwise you're talking about a noticeable drop in quality after 24 hours. Just think how they'd taste after a couple days.

              1. re: avitrek

                So when, historically, did people make matzah on Pesach itself? I know many wait until erev Pesach, but I have never heard of making anything with flour on Pesach itself. Frummer or not, I would not take a chance with wetting actual flour on Pesach; it's really a pretty strict halacha. While you might be able to cook it quickly enough so there's no chametz, just the clean up of the bowl you made the dough in seems like it could be problematic.

                1. re: queenscook

                  Pesach flour. Italian Jews preserved a tradition, even in the post-WW II period, of purchasing Pesach approved flour and using it to make fresh pasta during the chag.

                  1. re: queenscook

                    http://www.israelnationalnews.com/New...

                    See the section on soft matzah. Yes, people used to make matzah on Pesach itself. Flour is not chametz, only flour+water becomes chametz. Between the hard matzah and the ability to freeze soft matzah people now react the way you did to the thought of making matzah on chag, but a couple hundred years ago before they were options people did what they had to do.

                    I guess if you really wanted to be strict and still have fresh matzah, you could have a non-Jew own a store, bake the matzah, and sell the fresh finished product to Jews on pesach.

                    1. re: queenscook

                      Yes, until quite recently people baked matzah on Pesach itself. Some chassidim still do so on the first night, if Erev Pesach is on Shabbos. The move to bake all the matzah before Pesach really came about with urbanization in the 19th century; people no longer baked at home but bought from a professional baker, who couldn't possibly supply all his customers with what he baked on Pesach itself. So it had to be done before Pesach, and therefore had to be made in a form that could be stored and shipped.

                    2. re: avitrek

                      The flour itself is already the problem, making matzah on Pesach, KLP is not possible....sorry to lay it on the line like that. The Yeminite softies, like pita or laffa have a shelf life of a week at best. Buy fresh just before the chag or freeze. The original texts have Hillel folding the sandwich (first recorded in history) in one hand....try that with your shumura....I dare you:)

                      1. re: gotcholent

                        Please. Cleaning up after someone's eaten shmurah matzah is like cleaning up for bedikat chametz. You won't believe where all those shards and crumbs manage to find their way to.

                        1. re: gotcholent

                          It's certainly possible. You just need shmura flour, which you can get from the same suppliers that the professional bakeries do.

                          1. re: zsero

                            c'Mon, it's like saying that tis a good idea to teach our kid's Russian roulette.
                            The tiniest, easiest mistake of even a single second, or grain of salt (here's lookin at you Queeny) would render kareis, spiritual exile. Seriously, it would be a lessor punishment for a cheeseburger with REAL bacon....sans sesame seeded buns of coarse as we all know what problems sesame seeds can be nowadays:)

                            1. re: gotcholent

                              And yet until quite recently (~200 years) almost every household would bake its own matzah on Pesach. For Sefardim, bring that date forward a century or more.

                2. My soft matzah just arrived - by FedEx from the Ir Hakodesh, Brooklyn.

                  It 's the same color (range of tans to blackish-browns) as matzah shmurah, It weighs a ton. This is not like pita bread. Ziplocked and shoved in into the freezer.

                  I can't tell you what it tasts like, because, you know it's Nisan.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: AdinaA

                    I'm deciding if I should buy it or not. Went into a few stores in Brooklyn to see if I could buy it and none had it on the shelves. I really wanted to see it before buying. Does it seem like something a baby could hold and chew on?

                    1. re: cheesecake17

                      I think so.

                      I more or less treated it as a sterile object as I whipped it into a ziploc and into the freezer. So I'm not certain.

                      1. re: cheesecake17

                        Hermetically sealing in my freezer. Sorry

                        1. re: cheesecake17

                          AFAIK it's not sold at any stores; it really needs to be kept frozen, and is sold only by mail order.

                      2. So two pounds is 10 pieces. I kept it frozen until the seder and warmed it on the blech wrapped in aluminum foil. It was very popular. Denser than any kind of flatbread I've ever tasted. But very nice.

                        We are definitely ordering again next year. Hope stores start to stock it.