Making Matzo at Daniel in New York City

To honor his approximately 50 percent Jewish clientele, French chef and restaurateur Daniel Boulud has served homemade matzo in his New York City restaurants—Daniel, DB Bistro, Cafe Boulud, and Bar Boulud—during the Passover season since 2004. And people love it, probably because they don't expect to find traditional Jewish bread in an upscale French restaurant. The matzoh served at Daniel Boulud's restaurants may not be kosher, but that Boulud has cooked for many Jewish weddings and bar mitzvahs during his career should have some significance.

Boulanger Mark Fiorentino of Daniel is in charge of making the matzo for all the restaurants. Where does an Italian-American chef in a French restaurant learn to make Jewish bread? He attributes a visit to the long established Streits factory in the Lower East Side, where he observed the matzo masters at work, for helping him hone his recipe and technique.

Earlier this week I visited Daniel to watch the matzo-making process, along with a quick blessing from "Rabbi" Boulud. Fiorentino makes his matzoh in batches that use 50 pounds of flour at a time, but he pared down his recipe to just 1 pound of flour so you can make it at home. (You can get matzo at Boulud's restaurants until this Saturday, April 11.) Check out the recipe and photos from Daniel's kitchen after the jump.

Making Matzo at Daniel

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Chef Fiorentino cuts the matzo dough into more manageable chunks.

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He pats the dough down before putting it through the pastry sheeter.

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Into the sheeter it goes. In. Out. Dust with flour. Repeat.

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And look how svelte it's become. Fiorentino cuts the dough into smaller pieces before using a modified pizza cutter to score the dough and a roller docker to punch in holes.

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Time to slide the dough into the oven.

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The matzo gets a bit bubbly while baking.

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Chef Boulud flips over the matzo.

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This matzo needs a bit more time in the oven.

Boulud and Fiorentino inspect a few pieces.

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Blistered and brown—it's done!

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A pile of just-baked matzo waits before being bagged.

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Making Matzo at Daniel in New York City

Ingredients

  • 1 pound flour
  • 7 1/4 ounces very warm water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons oil (any kind you want)
  • Special Equipment
  • Pasta maker
  • Pizza stone (optional)
  • Roller docker (optional)

Procedures

  1. 1

    Preheat oven to 500°F. In a large bowl, mix together all the ingredients until they come together to form a dough. Split dough into two parts to make it easier to roll out.

  2. 2

    Flatten the dough with your palms. Pass the dough through a pasta maker over and over again until you reach the thinnest setting, or roll it as thinly as possible with a rolling pin.

  3. 3

    Cut the dough into approximately 8 x 8-inch rectangles. Score if desired. Roll over the dough with a docker or prick holes with a fork.

  4. 4

    Bake dough on a pizza stone (the best choice) or a baking sheet at 500°F for a couple of minutes until it turns golden brown and bubbly. Flip over to bake the other side for another few minutes.

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