This article is about the traditional, kosher preparation of baking matzah for Passover. I have attached a PDF at the end if you want to make them in a non-kosher way.
Matzah and Passover
כָּשֵׁר – kosher
מַצָּה – matzah
חָמֵץ – chametz (leaven)
סֵדֶר – seder
פֶּסַח – Passover
תְּסִיסָה – fermentation
As we know from an earlier article, חָמֵץ is forbidden during the entire holiday of פֶּסַח . מַצָּה is the bread used during the seder and is made from grain and water בָּצֵק without any fermentation as commanded in Exodus 12:8. The problem is how to make the בָּצֵק without using any kind of leaven, or accidently causing fermentation? This is done by protecting the ingredients from moisture and heat prior to mixing, preparing the dough as fast as you can and baking it at a high temperature.
קֶמַח – flour
שָׁמְוּרָה – shamura
מַיִם – water
הקש על המים – tap water
מים חיים – spring water
Before preparations are made, you must be sure the קֶמַח is absolutely dry and has been stored in a cool, dark place. You can purchase such flour (called shemurah flour שָׁמְוּרָה ) from a מַצָּה שָׁמְוּרָה bakery.
The מַיִם for use in the dough must be drawn from a natural spring and settle overnight in a cool, dark, place – but not near the קֶמַח as you'll risk getting it wet, making it unfit for מַצָּה . The vessel in which it is stored should be perfectly clean and כָּשֵׁר for פֶּסַח . Tap water or bottled spring water may not be used .
Kneading and Preparing the Dough
צוֹנְנִים – cold water
מַעֲרוֹךְ – rolling pin
בָּצֵק – dough
לְלָשׁ – knead
Before we begin, we have to be sure the board, מַעֲרוֹךְ , and any other utensils you'll be using are כָּשֵׁר . Everyone who will be handling the בָּצֵק should wash their hands in cold water not only before beginning to work, but also between each batch of בָּצֵק being handled, after which the hands must be dried thoroughly.
The קֶמַח and מַיִם are mixed in a tub or large mixing bowl. Depending on how many people are going to be making מַצָּה , the maximum amount of dough is anywhere from one to three pounds (remember, you have 18 minutes or less to make and bake a batch – so be wise in how much you use at a time). Once the בָּצֵק is made, cut it up into pieces about the size of your palm and start the kneading.
Kneading the בָּצֵק prevents it from rising, so knead them until they are of uniform consistency (perhaps for 60 – 90 seconds) and then rolled out into a pancake shape. While rolloing the matzot with the roling pin, constantly pick them up off the table or board so that the בָּצֵק does not stick to the table. This is important as additional flour cannot be sprinkled on the board.
Roll out the בָּצֵק until it's very thin, and has a diameter of about eight inches. Carry on the מַעֲרוֹךְ to a machine where the מַצָּה is perforated with holes (or you can use a rolling pin with small spikes too). These holes prevent any air bubbles from forming and making the matzah unfit. After this, the בָּצֵק is taken to the oven.
When a batch is in the oven, each workspace and every utensil must be cleaned off with a paper towel or even sandpaper to prevent any trace of מַיִם from producing חָמֵץ with any leftover dough.
As noted above, matzot are baked at a high temperature – usually 600° to 800° F. It may take three to four hours to get this high, so prepare this in advance. When the matzot are ready for the oven, they are placed on long wooden poles and put in the oven. They are done baking within two to three minutes.
After baking is completed, a small portion is separated, using the same blessing as in baking challah, and this is burnt up completely.
בָּרוּךְ אתָּה יָי אֳלוֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם הַמּצִיא לֶחֶם מִן הָאָרֶץ.
(Blessed are You our God, King of the Universe, who brings forth bread from the earth).
The total time elapsed, from the beginning of the kneading till the matzot are placed in the oven, should never be more than 18 minutes.
Click here to download
the PDF for a non-kosher recipe