18 Minute Matzo
Word on the biblical street is that matzo must be prepared in 18 minutes in order be kosher for Passover. This is not because fleeing Israelites had only 18 minutes to pack their stuff and huff it across the Red Sea before the Egyptians ate their lunch. A couple other possible reasons for the restrictions: In Hebrew, each letter has a numerical equivalent. Ten is the letter Yud. Eight is Het. Het-Yud spells the word Chai meaning “life.” The toast “L’Chaim!” (To Life!) is from all that. So, matzo in 18 minutes is life affirming. Another possibility is that it’s thought it takes 18 minutes before dough begins to ferment and rise.
Whatever the case, you can make matzo in 18 minutes. Here’s how:
Ingredients: 4 1/2 cups white flour, 3/4 cups water, 1 teaspon salt, 2 tablespoons olive oil.
Directions: Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Ideally put a baking stone on the bottom rack of your oven. If you don’t have one use a cook sheet turned upside down.
Best to use a fixed, narrow rolling pin rather than one that rotates. You need the umph of the fixed pin to stretch the dough.
Mix ingredients until the dough barely stays together. If it’s too loose add water a tablespoon at a time until you have a cohesive but not sticky ball.
Let the dough rest for 10 minutes covered with a cloth.
Roll out the dough into a 16 inch log and cut into 2 inch segments
Cover segments with a towel.
Clear off a large surface and sprinkle liberally with flour. Press one segment into the flour and then begin rolling it out with a rolling pin. IMPORTANT: best to use a fixed, narrow rolling pin rather than one that rotates. You need the umph of the fixed pin to stretch the dough. Note that you can use the edge of a counter as in the photo below to further stretch the dough.