Not too long ago, I dove headfirst into bread baking. I got it into my head that I was going to tackle yeast and see what happened. Well, what happened was delicious things like challah and also the accumulation of numerous cookbooks devoted to bread. Leafing through them sometime last year, I stumbled on a recipe for matzoh.
For anyone not “in the know,” matzoh is a cracker-like creation that is a main staple during Passover, when leavened bread is forbidden. I’d had my fair share, even sampling an “Everything Matzoh” we picked up at the grocery store, but I’d never thought of MAKING it. However, since I’m always looking for something to bring to my friend’s seder and up to my in-laws I thought “why not?”
Is it bragging too much if I say “wow?!?” I’ve never had a recipe turn out so right the first time. It was crispy, it had some flavor, it was perfect for dips and my husband devoured a huge slab of it on the spot. Plus, everyone had the same reaction, “You actually MADE this?” so I got a lot of credit for something that was (shhhhh! Don’t tell.) actually pretty easy.
Now, one quick note. If you are tasked with bringing matzoh to a seder or Passover dinner I would highly recommend you whip this recipe up. However, you should also pick up a box of the store-brand kind. I’m not saying you won’t be able to do a bang-up job and that people won’t love it. But, you know at Thanksgiving how there are those people that just have to have the cranberry sauce from the can, with the rings on it, even if there is a delicious, homemade cranberry sauce being offered? Yeah, it is the same with matzoh. Even if everyone is raving about what you’ve made, someone might secretly also want that reminder of the holidays they grew up with. So, let them have both and you’ll win everyone over!
P.S. I know that I am cutting it very close to the start of Passover with this post. For that I apologize to my lovely and loyal readers (Hi Beth!). My husband and I just moved into a new house (you’ll notice in the pictures I have a lot more space and a lot more light to work with!) and I wasn’t able to get everything in place for baking until now. Hopefully I can make up for lost time and put up at least one more awesome Passover recipe before the end of the holiday!
From The Bread Bible
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup water (at room temperature)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tablespoon rosemary- finely chopped
Olive Oil for the plate
Flour for rolling out the dough
Cornmeal for the pizza stone
Large Bowl or Stand Mixer
Measuring cups and spoons
Pizza Stone or Baking Sheets
Just a note before we get started. The directions for this are essentially the same if you are doing it by hand. I made it in the mixer because, well, I am a bit lazy and also still very infatuated with my mixer! Whatever way you want to do this will be a-ok!
1. Measure the flour and salt into your bowl and whisk together.
2. Make a well in the center of the flour and pour in the olive oil and the rosemary. Reserve one tablespoon of water (in case the dough is too stiff) then pour in the rest. If you are working by hand, add the water slowly into the well and use your fingers to work it into the flour. If you are using a mixer, turn it on a medium speed until the dough clumps together and comes cleanly off the sides. If it doesn’t come together after about a minute, add a little bit of water until it seems ok.
3. Knead the dough for a minute or two until it is a smooth ball. It shouldn’t feel too sticky at this point and will stay together nicely.
4 Pour a little olive oil (about a teaspoon) onto a plate and turn the dough over in it until it is well coated. Leave the dough on the plate and cover it with plastic wrap. Let it rest for 30minutes. You can also refrigerate it overnight at this point if you want to.
4.Now, you need to preheat your oven. Put the pizza stone on the middle rack (or, if you don’t have one, you can use an upside down baking sheet) and turn the oven to 450.
5. Cut the dough into six equal parts and roll them into balls. Cover with plastic wrap and let them rest for ten minutes.6. Flour the counter and your rolling pin. Take one ball of dough (leave the rest covered) and roll it out as flat and thin as you can. You’ll have to lift and turn the dough to make sure it doesn’t adhere to the counter. In the end, you are aiming for a rough circle about 12 inches across. It is not going to be a perfect circle (and may not be exactly that size) but that is ok…part of the charm really
7. Transfer your dough circle to the pizza stone ( I use a sort of lift and flop method to try and keep it relatively flat). Bake it for one minute then peek into the oven. Using a fork poke any big bubbles that have formed on the matzoh.
8. Bake for another two minutes then flip the matzoh over. It works really well to use a spatula and flip the matzoh onto your oven mitt before sliding it back in.
10. Cool your matzoh on a rack. It should get nice and crisp, but if it doesn’t you can always stick it back in the oven for a minute or two.
11. If you aren’t serving it right away, make sure it keep it wrapped up. This is delicious alone, and of course for a Passover dinner, but it is also good to dip into hummus or anything else!