Behind the Scenes: The Making of Matzo
Manischewitz makes 1 million sheets of matzo per day during Passover season and almost 75 million sheets annually. That's a lot of matzo. We visited the plant and headquarters in Newark, N.J., to go behind the scenes of a production that, during its peak season, has its team making matzo 20 hours a day. To be certified kosher for Passover, the matzo production follows very strict guidelines and abides by kosher laws. We donned hairnets for a behind-the-scenes factory tour to see how this unleavened bread, a Passover staple, is made.
Once the water is combined with the flour, the clock starts to count down 18 minutes. According to kosher law, if the dough hasn’t hit the oven in 18 minutes, it's unusable. Mashgichim (kosher inspectors) monitor the process to ensure that it meets religious specifications.
And just as pasta must be slowly thinned, matzo dough goes through a similar process. It must be rolled through machines four times to get its signature thinness.
Holes are made in the sheets of dough to enable air bubbles to escape, and to prevent the dough from rising during baking.
The matzo then goes into a 150-foot-long oven at 700 degrees on a metal rack to ensure that it is cooked appropriately and for only two minutes.
Then it's boxed up and ready for shipping, soon to be found at Seder dinners around the country when Passover begins Monday night.
For more behind-the-scenes details on some of the country's most classic foods, tune in to Unwrapped every Monday through Friday at 7:30pm on Cooking Channel.