The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Mazta season is here!

Davidkatz's picture

Mazta season is here!

Matza baking has begun and here is my call out to TFLers knowledge.

Matza baking is how I got into bread beaking.

Our family has been baking for about 5 years - learning and lovin every part of it.

I'm happy to answer any questions - 


Here are the rules:

Dry and wet ingredients stay far apart until the moment the mixing begins.

First flour, then water.

Pure, unbleached, freshly ground grain (wheat, rye, spelt, barley, oats). Any extraction rate.

Cold water, pref. spring that has sat in a cool place overnight.

The dough must remain cold until the second it hits the hearth floor

1 to 1.5 kilo of flour max per batch for hand kneaded Matza

47-49 % hydration for Ashkenazi Matza and up to 62% hydration for Sepharadic.

Perforate for an even and quick bake.

Completely mixed, kneaded, and baked in 18 minutes....


Here are some of my questions this year:

What is the best method to hand mix the the flour and water as quickly as possible? Low hydration gets "thirsty" and then the dough is too tough to handle.

I've seen people do this in 30 seconds! I can't get past 2 minutes and I still have a crumbly dough.

What chemical and biological things are happening when the dough is warm? Is there is difference (scientifically) when the dough is cold?

I came to understand bread baking from all the restrictions of the matza baking tradition.





richkaimd's picture

If you are chalakic, you must follow the tradition according the understandings of the rabbis, end of story.  On the other hand, if you're Reform you can be looser about the rules and rituals.  The science of unleavened bread is pretty uncomplicated:  the warmer your ingredients, the faster fungi start to produce the gas which leavens the bread.

I am not chalakic.  I mix quickly by hand getting my dough to a non-shaggy state and then roll out my dough pieces with similar dispatch.  I bake in a superhot oven as quickly as it will allow.

Davidkatz's picture

What is your hydration?

Since I work within the 18 minute limit, I need to mix quickly and efficiently.

Looking for some tips and methods.

As breadbakers know, the kneading slowly ensures the complete hydration of the flour.

So, even when the dough starts off tough, it eventually becomes silkyer and softer and less crumbly.

So, that said, what are some mixing tips to get that dough out of the bowl, without leaving much in the bowl, in the shortest ammount of time?

Davidkatz's picture

Ok, Great....

So the fungi is what gives the flavor profile which traditional matza is trying to avoid - Sound right?


Why do you need the super hot oven?  You could do a slower bake?

Are you interested in retaining moisture?





vtsteve's picture

The moisture in the dough expands rapidly into steam when it hits the hot oven hearth - it's a 'steam-leavened' bread. Otherwise, it would be like eating a shingle! It's the same idea as the snow-leavened bread discussed here:

I guess nobody got enough snow this year to try it...

Davidkatz's picture

This my be the answer I've been looking for.



Elagins's picture

say a relatively weak bread flour like Harvest King or KA SirGalahad, or even an AP, since they're less thirsty than higher protein flours.

also, I'd kick up the hydration slightly for Ashkenaz matzos. the big bakeries, i.e., Manischewitz, Streit's, etc., are all mechanized, with monster mixers and heavy-duty roller/perforators.  if you're making shmura matzos, I suggest hydrating to around 55%, which will make the dough much easier to handle.

remember, too, that 18 minutes is an awfully long time for a mix/bench/bake in the matzo world. mixing shouldn't take more than 4-5 minutes to get some nice gluten formation, a 10-minute rest/benching and 2-3 minute bake will get you in well under the wire.

Stan Ginsberg

Davidkatz's picture

The millers making the "shmura" flour could, I guess, produce a weaker-low protien- flour.

What should I tell them to do to get to the lower protien?

How is low protien less thirsty?

I am interested in getting the flour and water mixed as fast as possible but I can't let the dough get too sticky - otherwise it gets all over the place, sticks to the rollers, can't be rolled out thin (and then has trouble baking).

Looking forward to hearing from you.