Though we usually see it in a box as a large cracker, matzah is bread that has been made without leavening, yeast, or fermentation. It is the flat bread the Hebrews ate when they came out of Egypt. During the Feast of Unleavened Bread we are to eat it each day as a reminder that YHWH so quickly changed the circumstances of the Israelites they didn't have time for their bread to rise before baking.
I am so glad I decided to bake my own matzah! This is a food that you can eat and enjoy, not choke down like the boxed version. It is soft and chewy, an unleavened cousin to India's naan bread. It wouldn't be out of place next to a bowl of soup or curry. Since it is soft you can use this as sandwich bread, without it being attack of the crumbs. Eat it with hummus or dip it into your eggs at breakfast. Also, it's much more nutritious than the boxed version. Einkorn is an ancient form of wheat that has never been hybridized, and much more similar to what the Israelites were eating than modern red wheat. In my opinion, einkorn products are much more filling and don't cause that crave/crash cycle that carbohydrates are infamous for. I hope you will give it a try!
Why should you try this recipe?
1. It's delicious. Can we be candid and admit boxed matzah is not very good? Homemade matzah will have you looking forward to Unleavened Bread week instead of dreading it.
2. For the Biblical experience. I think there is a lot of value in doing Bible things in Bible ways. While we are not commanded to bake our own matzah, it can give us a glimpse into Scripture from the practical vantage point of food.
3. It's healthier. Einkorn contains more protein and less starch than typical commercial wheat. It is also a good source of minerals and vitamin B. Even if you don't use my recipe, making matzah yourself gives you control over the ingredients. Those can be organic, whole grain, allergy friendly, etc.
Did I mention there are lots of options for this bread? I tried baking it three different ways to compare the differences. I baked it on a cast iron pan in the oven, used the cast iron pan on the stove, and baked it on a regular baking sheet. All three were delicious but my favorite was cast iron baked. It stayed softest that way. If you'd prefer crisper matzah the baking sheet is the best bet. The stove top method gets the strongest flavor (and is easiest to burn). If you wanted to change it up, you could mix in black pepper, green onions, smoked paprika, or any herb or spice of your preference into the dough and go from there.
Be sure to make this when you have time to do it all at once. Letting the dough sit would make it innapropriate for the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
Einkorn Matzah Recipe
2 cups hot water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
2-1/2 teaspoons sea salt
5 cups einkorn flour (I use this kind), plus more if needed
Preheat your oven to 450°. If using cast iron, put your pan in the oven now so it can get hot.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the water, olive oil, honey, and salt. Then slowly mix in the flour until you have a dough that is soft but not sticky. Sprinkle your counter with a little extra flour then knead for five minutes.
Divide your dough into approximately 3 ounce portions (in between a golf and tennis ball in size). You should get 12-14 pieces.
Roll each piece out into a flat circle, around six inches across, and 1/8th inch thick.
Use a fork to perforate the dough.
If using cast iron in the oven - Carefully place into your preheated pan and put it back in the oven for 2 minutes. You want the matzah to just start looking brown in spots. Flip the piece over and bake an additional 2 minutes, until golden brown to your desired liking.
If using a regular baking sheet - Line your pan with parchment then bake your matzah 4 minutes, then flip and bake for an additional 4 minutes, until it's as golden brown as you like.
If using cast iron on the stove - Put your pan on medium heat and give it time to warm up. Five minutes was plenty for me. Place a piece of matzah in the skillet and cook for one minute, it will start to look very dark in places. Flip and cook the other side for one minute.
Cool on a wire rack.
Repeat as needed. You will end up with 12 - 14 matzahs.
These will store in an airtight container for several days and stay soft. If you prefer crunchy, cracker like matzah leaving them uncovered overnight should do the trick. You will probably want to make two or three fresh batches throughout the Feast of Matzah, so maybe that's why there aren't a lot of no work days! :)