Homemade Matzah

As Passover 2017 comes to a close, I would like to share a newfound family tradition: homemade Matzah. I have been very proud of our family Passover menu and specialty dishes. My mother’s Matzah ball soup has always been beyond compare. Then, in recent years, I started making homemade gefilte fish. This year, my father helped push us into a whole-new homemade holiday category with our own Matzah made on his grill in his apartment on the upper East side of Manhattan. After lots of research and two weeks of experimenting, he shared the secrets with me.

2017 homemade NYC Matzah

In order to make Matzah, here are some recommended items needed to prepare the recipe: kitchen scale (as Dad says “What is a cup?”), ceramic bread-stone, wooden baker’s bread board, metal cutter, dough docker, & rolling pins. Also, keep in mind that my dad did lots of research about how to blend practicality, Jewish mysticism, and required religious rules. We had a blast making three batches back-to-back for our holiday Seder.

Now, here is the recipe!

Homemade Matzah

What You Need

  • 360 grams of flour (can be any mixture of white, wheat, or even ancient grains)
  • 234 grams water

What You Do

  1. Set grill or oven to 650 degrees with a bread stone.
  2. Mix flour with water.
  3. Set timer for 18 minutes. The Matzah must be put on the grill within 18 minutes from mixing the water with the flour according to Jewish tradition.
  4. Knead the dough until smooth.
  5. Cut five even pieces with the metal cutter.
  6. Using a rolling pin on a bread board, roll out the Matzah (flipping and rotating to keep from sticking).
  7. When as thin as possible, use dough docker to create holes (to ensure no rising).
  8. Place on hot bread stone and bake for 2 minutes.
  9. Flip Matzah and let cook for 1 more minute.
  10. Repeat – reminder to keep an eye on your timer!
Family Matzah making in my dad’s garden in NYC

 

Baguettes

I wanted to make baguettes at home for Christmas dinner. So, I turned to French Women Don’t Get Fat for the recipe. They were wonderful and not to hard to make.

Baguettes (from French Women Don’t Get Fat)

What You Need
– 4-5 cups cake flour
– 1 teaspoon dry yeast
– 2 cups warm water
– 2 teaspoons kosher salt

What You Do
1. In a small bowl dissolve yeast in ½ cup warm water using a fork.
2. Set yeast mixture aside for 10 minutes.
3. Combine flour and salt.
4. Add yeast mixture and stir in remaining 1½ cup water.
5. Mix until sticky enough to knead.
6. Knead for 6-10 minutes; dough should be sticky and smooth.
7. Put in a bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and let rise at room temperature until doubled in volume (1 hour).
8. Punch down and divide into 4 pieces.
9. Roll each into a ball and shape into a baguette.
10. Transfer to slightly greased baking sheet and let rise until nearly doubled.
11. Brush with mixture of one beaten egg and one tablespoon water.
12. Score diagonally with sharp knife.
13. Pour two cups of hot water in a pan and place in preheated 450° F oven. (I didn’t do this, but I think it would be good!)
14. Bake the baguettes for 15 minutes then lower temperature to 400° F and bake for 10 minutes until golden brown.
15. Remove and cool on a rack before slicing.

So good and not too difficult.

Learning to make bread, effortlessly!

Something I love about my roommate: she bakes! She makes wonderful and delicious goodies with what seems like very little effort. Whipping up cookies and muffins in time for breakfast or dessert. And, best of all, BREAD! Bread so that we have it all week long, and when the loaf is running low– POOF there is more of it. I insisted as part of my procrastination routine from midterm studying, that she instruct me how to make this wonderful creation. Then, next time the bread is running low, I will be responsible for replenishing our stash.

The recipe is very simple, but makes a very tastey crunchy, crusty loaf of bread. She has it on an index card with her other family favorite recipes and has permitted me to post it to the blog. She also let me in on her family’s secret to this bread: they found it in the New York Times when Bittman posted it. You can also see more raving about this recipe on Smitten Kitchen. Yum Yum Yum!

Crunchy, Crusty Loaf (adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery by Bittman in the NY Times and Smitten Kitchen, see links above, but most importantly, from my roommate and her family)

What You Need
1.5 cups warm water
– 1/4 teaspoon yeast
– 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
– 3 cups flour (here is the combo we’ve been using: 1/2 cups mixed grains, 1 cup whole wheat flour, and 2 cups white flour)

What You Do
1. Mix together the water, yeast, and salt.
2. Add in the flour.
3. Cover with a towel and store in a warm place (room temp) for over 12 hours. We put it on top of our fridge.
4. Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.
5. Add dough to a dutch oven (this recipe should be used with a small dutch oven but if you have a large one, double the recipe)
6. Bake for 30 minutes.

Enjoy! And make sure to prep some more dough before you run out.