Citizens, attend and behold the original and first recipe of the holy breads week – not just to be profiled here on TFD but the first EVER holy bread to survive to the present day!
Passover or Pesach (from the Hebrew פֶּסַח, Pesakh), is an important, biblically derived Jewish holiday coming up next Monday!
The Jewish people celebrate Passover as a commemoration of their liberation by God from slavery in Egypt and their freedom as a nation under the leadership of Moses.
It commemorates the story of the Exodus in which the Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt. According to standard biblical chronology, this event would have taken place at about 1300 BCE.
Passover is a spring festival which during the existence of the Jerusalem Temple was connected to the offering of the “first-fruits of the barley”, barley being the first grain to ripen and to be harvested in the Land of Israel.
In the narrative of the Exodus, the Bible tells that God helped the Children of Israel escape from their slavery in Egypt by inflicting ten plagues upon the ancient Egyptians before the Pharaoh would release his Israelite slaves; the tenth and worst of the plagues was the death of the Egyptian first-born.
The Israelites were instructed to mark the doorposts of their homes with the blood of a slaughtered spring lamb and, upon seeing this, the spirit of the Lord knew to pass over the first-born in these homes, hence the English name of the holiday.
When the Pharaoh freed the Israelites, it is said that they left in such a hurry that they could not wait for bread dough to rise (leaven). In commemoration, for the duration of Passover no leavened bread is eaten, for which reason Passover was called the feast of unleavened bread in the Torah or Old Testament. Thus matzo (flat unleavened bread) is eaten during Passover and it is a tradition of the holiday.
Matzo, matza or matzah (Yiddish: מצה matsah, Hebrew: מַצָּה matsa; plural matzot; matzos of Ashkenazi Hebrew dialect) is an unleavened flatbread that is part of Jewish cuisine and forms an integral element of the Passover festival, during which chametz (leaven and five grains that, per Jewish Law, can be leavened) is forbidden.
Matzo that is kosher for Passover is limited in Ashkenazi tradition to plain matzo made from flour and water. The flour may be whole grain or processed grain, but must be either wheat, spelt, barley, rye, or oat. Sephardic tradition also allows eggs to be used.
Passover and non-Passover matzo may be soft or crisp, but only the crisp “cracker” type is available commercially in most locations – the crisp Passover matzo is also the ancestor of the communion wafer used in most Christian services to this very day. Soft matzo, if it were commercially available, would essentially be a kosher flour tortilla.
Matzo is usually not a particularly tasty bread, but this recipe from James Beard Award–winning chef Alon Shaya is pretty darned good! To be kosher for Passover for Orthodox Jews, these would have to be made from specially-harvested wheat and made in 18 minutes or less – details on this process are available on the Chabad.org website! Regardless of how you choose to make it, even non-Jews should consider matzo as a worthy addition to your next cheese table or as a base to highlight different condiments!
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