To begin, all rings, watches and bracelets were removed and gloves donned. As we said out loud "l'shem matzo mitzvos" (for the sake of the mitzvah of matza) and three electronic timers were synchronized to 18 minutes (beat the clock. If you don't, your matza is chametz and not fit for use during Pesach), water from a local river was added to flour that had been watched since the time of the harvest We watched as a "matza pro" (seriously, his finished matzos were things of beauty. Unlike, say, mine) mixed them together. As the rabbi noted, this was very different than mixing something like challah dough, as there is an extremely small amount of water added to the flour, so getting a dough is much more of a challenge.
|Love the gloves! Reminded me of those stories James Herriot wrote about being a country vet....|
All photos in the blog today are from www.daliaart.com
Then on the finner, which was like an extraordinarily heavy metal rolling pin attached at one end to a small metal table. The dough was pounded with the finner, while constantly being folded and re-folded by a helper who was veeery careful of his fingers. I took a try at finning (or whatever the word is) and found it very similar to performing CPR (which, thank Gd, I have never had to do "for real"): you have to put your whole body into it, it's hardest on your arms and, in about two minutes, you are quite ready for the next person to step in and take your place....
|I recognize my elbow! That's me finning!|
Next on to the rolling. I think this is where we women thought we'd shine. It was a LOT harder than we/I anticipated, though. The dough tears easily and get little folds in it that mess it up when it gets in the oven and make it chametz. All the while (from the beginning of the process) the dough must be kept in constant motion, as when it stops moving it can start rising.
|we are poised to grab the dough and start rolling!|
The matzas get laid over a long stick that's covered with paper and rolled over into the oven so that the matzas roll off onto the oven floor. The stick is then thrown on the ground, to be picked up by the kids who remove the paper and recover it.
|Faster, faster! Once, my dough just made it into the oven when the timer went off. So I learned that just making it into the oven is enough before the 18 minutes is up|
Delightedly, we had three complete pieces in the box I took home and those were the matzas at our Seder (boy, is it weird to write that in singular, not plural; Only one Seder now that we live in Israel!). The matzas were light and tasty and I am glad that I had the experience.