Have you ever tried Matzah? Its the type of cracker eaten for 8 days during the festival of Passover- when Jews are not supposed to eat anything leavened. Its generally white and tasteless. Can you imagine – me not baking or eating bread for this long!! In the words of that great Jewish scholar Lemony Snicket:
‘It is altogether proper that matzah is called the bread of affliction, because it has been afflicted more than any other foodstuff on earth. It is born in a searing-hot oven and then completely ignored for fifty-one weeks of the year while people walk around shamelessly eating leavened bread and crackers. Then, Passover rolls around…’ For more wise words from Lemony, see the New American Haggadah http://www.amazon.com/American-Haggadah-Jonathan-Safran-Foer/dp/0316069868
So- what’s to do, but try making my own Matzah. I searched online for recipes and finally found one that sounded good from the New York Times – Matzah made with olive oil. Well, I tried the recipe and I have to report, dear reader, that it was absolutely disgusting- and I threw it all away. So I searched my extensive bread book library and Peter Reinhart came up trumps in his ‘ Wholegrain Bread Book’ http://www.amazon.co.uk/Peter-Reinharts-Wholegrain-Breads-Extraordinary/dp/1580087590. His recipe is made totally with whole grain flour- I thought that may be a bit much- so my recipe below has white flour and rye as well as whole grain.
So, why do we eat Matzah at this time of year? (Passover starts on Monday night) It’s in order to remember the Children of Israel coming out of Egypt and not having enough time to bake bread. In order for Matzah to be kosher its supposed to take no longer than 18minutes from the time the water is mixed with the flour, until it is baked- that way it has no chance to ferment. So I reckon if I’m going to do this- I might as well try and go the whole hog (ok, I shouldn’t have used that word) and try and do the 18 minutes thing. A food processor is very handy because it speeds things up- although I don’t suppose they had food processors in the desert!
1 1/4 cups white bread flour
1/4 cup whole grain flour
1/4 cup rye flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup water
1. Place the flours and salt in a food processor and wiz to mix
2. Add the water and process until it’s just beginning to come together into one ball (if its not coming together you may need to add a little more water)
3. The dough should feel a little tacky but not sticky- so you may need to need in a little flour if its too sticky
4. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees F
5. Divide the dough in half and then cut one of the halves into 4 pieces
6. Flour your surface lightly and roll each piece with a rolling pin into a circle or rectangle until it begins to shrink back
7. Now roll each one out further until it is about 1/8 inch thick. You’ll need to keep your worksurface lightly floured so that it doesn’t stick
8. Put the rolled out dough on a baking sheet and then prick it all over with a fork
9. Bake in the oven for about 5 or 6 minutes and then check it. It may need about 2 or 3 minutes more. Its ready when its lightly browned on both sides
Try it with butter and jam- it pretty good. Or anything that goes with butter for that matter.
I have posted this on wild yeast’s yeast spotting