Several years ago, my friend Reb Jeff taught me how to make matzah. Early this morning, when Drew was still in his PJs, I made it again.
The recipe is very simple -- you can find it in my 2004 post Hametz and matzah. The ingredients are really just flour and water. (I meant to add a bit of salt this time, but I forgot. Whoops.) I measured out the flour and the water from our well and set the oven to preheat. Once it was hot, I asked if Drew wanted to help. He was a bit dubious, but when I opened up the step-stool and offered him a wooden spoon, he was intrigued enough to climb up and lend a hand.
He enjoyed taking turns with me doing some of the stirring. I tried to interest him in rolling out the balls of dough with the rolling pin, but I think that was a bit sophisticated for two and a half; he poked at the dough a bit with the rolling pin and then announced "all done!" So I released him to play with his toys while I finished the matzah. I was on a deadline, after all; no more than 18 minutes could elapse between the moment when water hit flour, and the moment when the matzah entered the oven.
One matzah, cooling.
I rolled and floured and rolled, and used a fork to prick the resulting sheets of dough. My efforts yielded five beautiful matzot. (Also one badly torn one -- I rolled out my first attempt too thin, and it tore irrevocably while I was getting it into the oven, so I let that one go.) I know that at the first-night seder at my sister's house we'll have gorgeous handmade matzot from Clear Flour, so I'll probably save these to serve at the second-night community seder at my shul.
I like the stuff that comes from a box, too. That's the matzah of my childhood, the matzah with which all of my lifelong seder memories are linked. Its crunch, the way it tastes lightly spread with horseradish (the flavor of our affliction mingled with the bread of our freedom), its texture and flavor. But there's something wonderful to me about making homemade matzah. It's the easiest of breads, after all: the waybread our ancestors baked in tremendous haste to take with them on the journey. And maybe, if I'm lucky, the work of baking these will have helped to prepare me for my own journey, too.