Homemade Matzo

published Mar 28, 2023
Matzo Recipe

Also know as the ‘bread of affliction,’ matzo is an unleavened bread made from flour and water.

Serves6

Makes12 (6-inch) matzos

Prep15 minutes

Cook10 minutes to 15 minutes

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matzo on baking sheet
Credit: Photo: Andrew Bui; Food Styling: Jessie YuChen

For most people, myself included, matzo comes from a box, which begins to show up in grocery stores in abundance around March (although it can reliably be found year-round). There’s not much of a push for folks to make their own matzo because the unleavened bread is usually reserved for Passover, at which time it’s essential that it be kosher for Passover, a process that, according to religious standards, requires the use of special flour — one that hasn’t been treated with water — and well water. In order to be considered kosher for Passover, matzo must also be made, from start to finish, in under 18 minutes.

With parameters so strict, you might wonder why someone would ever go to the trouble to make matzo at all. I did — until I had made it myself and realized that, like most things made from scratch, freshly baked matzo has a whole different vibe. Even if it’s not quite kosher enough to stand up to Seder scrutiny, making a batch of matzo can be a delightful and delicious way to connect to the Passover story.

What Is Matzo?

Matzo, aka the “bread of affliction,” is an unleavened bread made from flour and water. It is a staple of the Jewish holiday of Passover, which takes place in the spring and commemorates the Jews’ liberation from slavery in Egypt. According to the story, the newly freed Jews didn’t have enough time to allow their bread to rise, and so they fled Egypt with the unleavened bread called matzo. To honor this, observers of Passover refrain from eating any leavened flour product during the eight days of Passover.

What Is the Difference Between Matzo and Matzah?

There is no difference between matzo and matzah, or any of the other spellings you may encounter.

Credit: Photo: Andrew Bui; Food Styling: Jessie YuChen

What Is Matzo Used For?

Central to the Seder, Passover’s ceremonial meal, matzo is also the key ingredient in the Ashkenazi comfort food, matzo ball soup, where it’s transformed into a kind of dumpling.

It’s also the perfect starting point for a fancy matzo breakfast. And speaking of breakfast, I crumble it up into matzo farfel (or matzo pieces, not to be confused with the finer-ground matzo meal) for matzo brei, where it plumps up with egg and a splash of milk. Plus, homemade matzo has a toasted crunchiness that perfectly showcases salted butter or softened cream cheese.

Matzo Recipe

Also know as the ‘bread of affliction,’ matzo is an unleavened bread made from flour and water.

Prep time 15 minutes

Cook time 10 minutes to 15 minutes

Makes 12 (6-inch) matzos

Serves 6

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 2 cups

    all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling

  • 1/2 cup

    water

  • 2 tablespoons

    olive oil

Instructions

  1. Arrange 2 racks to divide the oven into thirds and heat the oven to 500ºF. Have 2 rimmed baking sheets ready.

  2. Place 2 cups all-purpose flour and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt in a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Add 1/2 cup water and 2 tablespoons olive oil, and stir with a fork until a dough begins to form. Use your hands to knead until the dough comes together. Transfer the dough to a work surface and knead until a smooth, tight ball forms, about 5 minutes.

  3. Divide the dough into 12 pieces (about 31 grams each). Roll each into a ball. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rest for 5 minutes.

  4. Lightly flour a work surface. Working with 1 dough ball at a time, roll into a very thin, about 6-inch round. Place 3 on each baking sheet in a single layer without touching. Prick all over with the tines of a fork. Sprinkle with kosher salt if desired.

  5. Bake until bubbles form on the top, about 3 minutes. Flip the matzos and bake until bubbling and browned along the edges, 2 to 3 minutes more. Transfer to wire racks in a single layer and let cool to room temperature. Repeat rolling and baking the remaining dough balls.

Recipe Notes

Topping options: For a pop of flavor and texture, lightly sprinkle a mixture of seeds, such as sesame, poppy, or celery, along with the kosher salt on top of the matzo before baking.

Storage: Store matzos in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.