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In the context of a question about whether or not bread made from matzo meal would be kosher for Passover, I've come to wonder if such a bread would be practical.

If matzo meal is sufficiently finely-ground (so as to match the grain of actual flour, rather than the breadcrumb consistency you get by putting matzo into a food processor), could it be substituted for flour in a bread recipe? What would be the differences between bread made with "matzo flour" and real flour?

  • Based on the answer here I'm guessing not. But it will be interesting to see what the consensus is. :) – Catija Apr 10 '17 at 22:22
  • Somewhat unsure if this one should be considered a duplicate: cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/79291/… – rumtscho Apr 10 '17 at 23:32
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    That question appears to be asking "do you get a gluten structure, and what's the chemistry behind that?" This question is asking "can you make bread this way, and what do you get if you try?" The answers to these might be the related (i.e., the answer to mine might be "the bread you get will be bad, because it won't have a gluten structure, and it won't have a gluten structure because [answer to linked question]"), but they're not the same question. Also, that question doesn't appear to have any good answers, so I hope this stays open for selfish reasons... – A_S00 Apr 10 '17 at 23:42
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    Also of note: bread recipes that use toasted flour kingarthurflour.com/recipes/toasted-wheat-bread-recipe thefreshloaf.com/node/7324/roasted-flour-bread-anyone-tried Not sure if toasted flour is the same deal? – A_S00 Apr 10 '17 at 23:43
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    @A_S00 I wonder what the bread's consistency is like. I looked at the recipe and it calls for 5 1/2 cups flour and only 1 1/2 cups are toasted. I'd think the gluten in the toasted flour would be non-functional (see the reference below in my answer). Gluten development would come from the other 4 cups flour. – Jude Apr 11 '17 at 3:53
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First, I'd ask - why would anyone want to make bread from matzo meal even if it was the consistency of flour? Bread has leavening (yeast) so even using matzo meal, it wouldn't be fit for Passover where no leavening is allowed.

But if you're simply curious to know if it's possible using, the answer is no. Matzo is cooked so the heat-treated gluten in it wouldn't be able to stretch and maintain the structure needed in bread. If you tried, you'd have bubbly dough that tries to rise due to carbon dioxide given off by yeast but unable to maintain structure. You wouldn't even be able to shape it without it falling apart unless very wet. Baking would likely make the entire thing collapse.

The baking performance of gluten declined progressively on heating and most of its functionality was destroyed by 75°C.

...data indicate that there are heat-induced alterations in gluten proteins at temperatures above 55°C, which appear to be involved in the loss of functionality (baking performance) on heating.

The effect of heat on wheat gluten and the involvement of sulphydryl-disulphide interchange reactions from the Journal of Cereal Science.

On the other hand, it might be possible to make a quick bread if you used baking powder instead. Quick breads don't rely on gluten for structure.

  • If you have a citation for the first part of this answer, please post it on the companion question to this one (linked above) on whether such bread would be kosher for Passover - that was what inspired me to ask this. I'm considering just buying some matzo tomorrow and trying to make bread with it - the quick bread thing is a good idea, thanks! – A_S00 Apr 11 '17 at 5:05
  • I hope I did not mislead you with my related/duplicate suggestion below the question - now that I think of it again, gluten-free bread exists. Not made out of crumbs, but I think there are some versions which do not rely on pure starch (almond flour or so). I wonder if there would be the possibility to make a gluten free bread out of matzo. – rumtscho Apr 11 '17 at 7:46
  • @A_S00 note that we are not an authorative source on religious matters. It is indeed nice if Jude adds a link about the yeast-leavened bread not being kosher, but even if he says that a quickbread is kosher, it is best to consult somebody else to find out if leavening with baking soda is allowed or not. – rumtscho Apr 11 '17 at 7:48
  • @rumtscho Of course, I just meant that the first paragraph of this answer (if properly backed up) would constitute an answer to my other question, so if Jude has an appropriate source to show for it, he can post it there and answer both of my questions! If not, I'll rely on the Mi Yodeya folks as normal. – A_S00 Apr 11 '17 at 17:41
  • @A_S00 Quickbreads (with chemical leaveners) are considered kosher for Passover by some (ref. Mi Yodeya Q)... I've never tried substituting matzoh meal for flour in my muffin recipe, but this is a good week to experiment :) – Erica Apr 11 '17 at 18:15
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You can make a respectable quick bread from matzo meal.

Jude's answer provides compelling evidence that the heating involved in baking matzo damages its ability to form a gluten structure, and that such "flour" would therefore be unusable as a substitute for flour in a normal, raised bread recipe.

However, she suggested that it might be usable in a quick bread, using leavening other than yeast, and I decided to give this a go to see what happened.


I used this recipe for Irish soda bread, halving all quantities (this ended up being 2 cups of matzo meal, or four squares worth). Ingredients:

ingredients

matzo

I ground the matzo in a food processor for an unreasonably long time, then put it in small batches into a mortar and pestle to grind it down further. Although this got me a consistency finer than most commercial matzo meal, it still wasn't quite as fine as flour; more like a 50/50 mix of flour and fine bread crumbs:

matzo "flour"

The dough was easily malleable, but the lack of gluten was very noticeable: it didn't want to stick together at all, and had to be handled carefully lest it crumble apart. Cutting the 'X' into the top didn't show any of the expected "springiness" or tendency for the sides of the incision to spontaneously pull apart, as shown in this video. However, it formed into a ball easily enough, as long as I was gentle with it:

before baking

Per the recommendation of a comment on the recipe I was using, and to accommodate my smaller portion, I baked at 350 instead of 375, and left the loaf in the oven for about 45 minutes (until the exterior was nicely browned and a fork came out clean). The loaf barely expanded at all during baking, despite plenty of acid (from the buttermilk) and chemical leavening (baking soda and powder):

fresh out of the oven

The end result was quite good, but not like Irish soda bread at all.

Taste: Toasty/caramelly, delicately sweet, quite rich.

Texture: Pleasantly crispy crust. Dense, moist crumb. The coarser crumbs from the "flour" are very noticeable and provide a nice chew. Overall very similar to cornbread made with a mix of coarse and fine cornmeal.

Overall: Pleasantly surprised. I would eat this on purpose. Good with a little butter; would be good with soup or stew. Basically anything you could do with a not-too-sweet cornbread, you could do with this.

Images:

half-sliced loaf

fully-sliced loaf

  • Very interesting and great description of your results! It does look like it gives lots if rubs when cut though. – Jude Apr 17 '17 at 2:01

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