I'm interested in applying principles of dough magic to Passover cooking and I have sort of a general understanding of how developing the gluten structure works when kneading a traditional wheat flour dough.

My question is whether there is any further development of the gluten structure possible when the "flour" is matzoh meal, which is basically flour that has been combined with water, baked quickly, and then ground back into flour. I assume there's a reason that there's no family recipe for "matzoh bread" but I don't know if that's religious (bc we're supposed to eat matzoh instead of bread and all the restrictions on yeast and all) or culinary (bc making bread-like food from matzoh meal just doesn't work).

Will a gluten structure develop at all within the matzoh meal dough? What's the chemistry of how matzoh meal doughs and batters stick together?


2 Answers 2


Matzah meal has already been cooked and so therefore is no longer flour and cannot possibly "rise" or become leavened. That is why any passover cakes you will make need to have egg whites separated - that is what created the leavened texture. Think of matzah meal like bread crumbs, whatever you could use breadcrumbs for, you can use matzah meal for and vice versa. Whatever you could NOT use breadcrumbs for (baking bread for instance) you could not use matzah meal for.

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    Can you elaborate on why the cooked material when ground and rehydrated isn't the same? What chemically is going on?
    – Double AA
    Mar 20, 2017 at 22:51
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    selena T can you explain "cannot possibly "rise" or become leavened". That is not the same as develop gluten. There are other way to leaven baked goods, Baking soda, Baking powder. Cakes are leavened with these things and no gluten development. I would think that if you used matzah meal like corn meal you could "leaven it" even with no gluten development.
    – Alaska Man
    Mar 21, 2017 at 2:10
  • I'm used to using matzoh meal like breadcrumbs and I'm familiar with a bunch of traditional Ashkenazi Pesach recipes but my question is specifically about the mechanics/chemistry of the ways in which it does and does not bind.
    – beth
    Mar 21, 2017 at 16:16
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    @rumtscho Matza is just water and flour. If I get something wet and dry it out, it's often the same. It's possible that the heat is relevant, but I think this case is sufficiently more reasonable than usual to expect the cooked and uncooked versions to be functionally similar. In any event, a long answer here would be wonderful too. StackExchange can certainly handle that.
    – Double AA
    Mar 21, 2017 at 16:29
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    "What's the chemistry of how matzoh meal doughs and batters stick together?" isn't really answered by "Because it's been cooked" however true the latter statement may be. I specified pretty clearly that I wanted a more detailed explanation, as well as using the molecular-gastronomy tag. A question about matzoh is different to a question about bread dough because matzoh is more like hardtack, lacking things like oil that could affect the chemistry.
    – beth
    Mar 22, 2017 at 17:29

Cooked wheat flour hardly develops any gluten structure anymore. This is intentionally used in many culinary techniques where you want to limit or inhibit gluten development: roux, certain flatbreads, certain pie crusts... An experiment you can do is kneading up two simple doughs, one with room temperature water one with boiling water - then separating starch and gluten by washing out the dough. The amount of gluten you can salvage from the boiling water dough will be drastically lower....

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