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The following article is reprinted with permission from Kashrus Kurrents, Pesach, 1998.

Passover Matzos

Rabbi Moshe Heinemann, Rabbinic Administrator, Star-K

The production of matzos Kosher for Pesach (KFP) involves a great deal of meticulous work. The process begins with the inspection of wheat kernels to ensure that they have not been adversely affected by moisture in the air and have not prematurely sprouted. Grinding of the grain must be performed according to the dictates of Halacha which preludes any pre-grind soaking of the grain and which requires special preparation of the milling equipment to ensure that no contamination exists from non-Passover flour in the grinders and filters. The KFP flour is then loaded onto trucks either pneumatically or in bags under sheltered conditions and shipped to the bakeries.

A bakery which has been kashered for Pesach will have already prepared special water to be used for Pesach matzos. Hand matzoh bakeries do not use regular municipal water for fear that the chemicals added to the water may affect the leavening qualities of the dough. After the dough has been mixed, rolled out, cut, and perforated, the matzos go into ovens for baking. This entire process, from the time that water first comes into contact with the flour, until the matzoh is completely baked, takes just a few minutes. No conscientious Jew would use on Pesach matzos not made under supervision of a reliable and competent Rabbi or supervisory organization.

Despite all the precautions and attention to detail by the bakeries involved in making matzos, it is possible for the consumer to purchase matzos and still observe some problems. The following is a brief discussion of some problem areas. It should be noted that these problems can exist in both hand and machine baked matzos, although they are more prevalent in the hand baked variety.

A matzoh lacking the usual brown spots, that is completely white on both sides, should not be used since it may not have been thoroughly baked. It follows that matzoh meal should be slightly brownish, and the more brown it is, the better the matzos from which it was made were baked.

In order for matzos to be considered , so they can be used for Lechem Mishna, the halacha is that as long as no more than one forty-eighth (1/48) of the matzoh is missing, it can still be considered a shalame. Hand matzos that are irregularly shaped, are still considered whole, as long as no pieces broke off after baking.

Matzos left over from previous years that were stored in places free of chometz may be used. TIP: If your oven has been kashered for Pesach, simply put them in the oven for a few minutes so the matzos will regain their crispness.

Through our meticulous observance of the mitzvah of eating matzoh, and all the other laws of Pesach, may Hashem soon grant our most fervent wish - of the coming of Moshiach - so that we may once again eat our matzoh together with the korban pesach in yerushaliem, our holy city.

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