Passover is one of the Jewish holidays that stands out for me because my family always gathered together for a large and delicious Seder. Everyone brought their signature dish to the table, and we saw the return of the hard as a rock Passover rolls that we swallowed down with gallons of water once a year. The daffodils, tulips and hyacinth that grew in our front yard were always cut into a few vibrant bouquets and put on the seder table, heavy with the scent of spring. I’d always be helping out in the kitchen as my mother prepared matzoh ball soup, roasted turkey, chopped liver, charoset, bitter herbs – and all the trimmings. Even though I wasn’t the youngest, I always carefully practiced the four questions – just in case.
Yet, for whatever reason, we never made the mainstay of the holiday: the matzah. Each year we would buy box after box of the stiff cardboard-like matzah that fills the shelves every March and early April. This year I decided to start the tradition of making fresh matzah with my young daughter so that it can become one of the memories she carries with her when she hears the word “Passover.”
So, because the Jewish people had only 18 minutes to prepare their bread before they fled from Egypt, we made our matzah in only 18 minutes, too. Here’s how you can make it in your home.
Tools: Large bowl, baking sheet or pizza stone, rolling pin, flat surface to roll dough on, a fork, measuring cups
Ingredients: 1 cup flour, 1/3 to ½ cup water, a sprinkle of flour for your flat surface
- Preheat your oven to 500 degrees
- In a large bowl, mix your flour and water together by hand. It should form a dough that sticks together well but is neither sticky nor too crumbly. Add more or less water to achieve this.
- Place your ball of dough on your flat surface and knead the dough briefly to ensure it is the right consistency. Start rolling out your dough until it is pretty thin, less than ¼ inch.
- Use the fork to poke holes in the dough, all over. Make sure the holes go all the way through the dough. We don’t want the dough to bubble or rise at all.
- Place your dough onto your baking sheet or stone and place in the oven.
- Cook for approximately 5-7 minutes and then carefully flip the matzah to ensure both sides are cooked. Continue cooking for about another 4-5 minutes until the sides are browned and the top is lightly browned.
- Let your matzah cool and enjoy!
Rachel McMinn is an early childhood educator at Buckle My Shoe Preschool in Tribeca, who has taught the young 2-year-olds for almost nine years. She holds a Masters in Early Childhood Education from Hunter College and a Writing degree from Pratt Institute. She lives in Brooklyn with her daughter, post-production & screenwriting husband, and two attention-seeking cats.
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