Hand Made Matzot - Baking Matzo in a Matzah Bakery



   
    April Passover 2006 Edition            
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Hand Made Matzot - Baking Matzo in a Matzah Bakery

Working at the oven requires great skill. It is not an easy job, but it keeps one warm!

 
 
 
 

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Visit to a Hand Made Matza Factory

By Jmag Staff

As we walk through the back alleys of Meah Shearim, we notice a strange smell in the air. It is not the moist sweet smell of fresh bread, but the dry burnt smell that signals a small old fashioned matzah bakery.

The building is non-descript, like all of the other building in the area. There is no sign outside advertising what is "cooking" inside, but we go in anyway with our cameras.

Hand Made Matzot - Baking Matzo in a Matzah Bakery

We start our tour of the Matza bakery by watching the men cut the dough. The dough was made in a different room and constantly rolled. When the table was clean the dough is brought out and cut.

* * *

Hand Made Matzot - Baking Matzo in a Matzah Bakery

The table is covered with a stainless steel cover so that it may be cleaned after each "run". The men wait for the matza dough to be cut into pieces. Each man has a roller and as he recieves his matza dough, he begins rolling out the dough.

* * *

Hand Made Matzot - Baking Matzo in a Matzah Bakery

The rolling takes place in a room separate from the hot oven. There is a window between the two rooms to allow the matza dough to be passed through. The reason for the separation is to insure a cool temperature in the rolling room, not for the comfort of the men, but to prevent premature rising of the matza. The man standing with his back to the window is the "director". He is a state of constant shouting, telling when to bring the next matza dough in through the window that it may be baked.

* * *

Hand Made Matzot - Baking Matzo in a Matzah Bakery

The oven is very very hot. The red glow is the floor of the oven. The matzah will be placed on the floor of the oven by a specially trained man.

* * *

Hand Made Matzot - Baking Matzo in a Matzah Bakery

Putting the matzah in the oven is a very skilled job. The matzah is after all just dough and put on a simple round pole. It must be quickly transfered to the floor of the oven (with out dropping it) and spread out on the floor of the oven quickly without having the edges of the matzahs curl over. If they curl over, they are considered second class matzohs. The matza itself will be completely cooked in a very short time, and removed before it burns. No electronic equipment here; it is all done by men.

* * *

Hand Made Matzot - Baking Matzo in a Matzah Bakery

Working at the oven requires great skill. It is not an easy job, but it keeps one warm!

* * *

Hand Made Matzot - Baking Matzo in a Matzah Bakery

When the matzot are removed from the oven, one at a time, they are put on this board. From the board they are moved by hand to a table for sorting. In the background you can see the finished matzah cooling prior to packaging.

* * *

Hand Made Matzot - Baking Matzo in a Matzah Bakery

What would you think a extremely hot oven would use for fuel? Not gas, nor electricity! This oven is fired by good old wood.

* * *

Well, we hope that you enjoyed this tour. Many people use hand matza for the Seder, it gives a unique feel to eat something that was not machine made. Perhaps you will even try a hand made matzah for your Passover Seder!

~~~~~~~

from the April Passover 2006 Edition of the Jewish Magazine

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