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Matzo Brei


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72 replies to this topic

#1 jaybee

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Posted 12 June 2002 - 06:55 PM

I posted this a few weeks ago in another thread and got no replies.  I don't know if that's because no one cared or no one saw it.  One of the dishes I love for breakfast anytime of the day is matzo brei.  My technique for this is sorely lacking and produces uneven results.  I'd love to hear from anyone who's got a great recipe and technique for matzo brei, including which brand of matzo tastes best (I won't make my own).

#2 ngatti

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Posted 12 June 2002 - 10:16 PM

jaybee,
The establishment I work for has a large jewish clientle.  Matzoh Brei is run as a special during Pesach every year.
We soak the broken up matzohs in egg until soft.  Then cook like an open faced omelette until everything firms up. Plate, dust with powdered sugar and serve with preserves.  

Play with the egg/matzoh ratio until you get something you like.  I would imagine the wet/dry factor is a matter of personal taste.

Hope this helps :smile:
Nick

#3 Rosie

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Posted 13 June 2002 - 04:17 AM

I run the matzah under water for a few seconds and then break it into small pieces with my hands into a bowl. I use one matzah for two jumbo eggs. I like to break up the eggs when they are cooking. Some people like this dish to be like an omelet. Also, add salt and pepper. I sometimes have grape jelly on the side.
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#4 glenn

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Posted 13 June 2002 - 04:54 AM

I'm coming out of the closet.  I love matza brei!  This is about the only thing in the world I need or use a stove for except to boil water -  the rest of my cooking, and I use that term loosely, is nuked.  I basically use the same method my mom taught me a gazillion years ago.  The trick is to let the matza soak for at least 3 minutes in luke warm water.  Like Rosie, I use 2 eggs per matza sheet.  Cook at medium to medium-high, and let get dark brown around the edges.  Is it almost passover again?

#5 Rachel Perlow

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Posted 13 June 2002 - 05:09 AM

Butter is a must. I've tried oil, doesn't work as well.

#6 Steve Plotnicki

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Posted 13 June 2002 - 05:11 AM

Jaybee - The world's best matzoh brai used to be at B & H during the 70's and 80's. I used to sit at the counter and watch them make it all the time. The secret seemed to be that they poured boiling water (from the tureen that held water for tea) into the mixing bowl with the broken pieces of matzoh and softened them a bit. The next secret is you can never make it a pancake. Broken pieces like scrambled eggs are much better. This is one dish where the Galliciana version trumps the Litvak version by far.

#7 BarbaraD

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Posted 13 June 2002 - 05:12 AM

Break matzo into small pieces.  
Cover with cold water.
I use one egg for two matzos.  
Let matzo soak while you beat eggs and heat butter in pan.  Just a few minutes. If it gets to soft it doesn't taste right.
Drain matzo and mix with eggs.  
Add kosher salt to taste.
Scramble in pan until dry.  
I just keep tasting until it gets there.  

Enjoy. :)

#8 ngatti

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Posted 13 June 2002 - 05:23 AM

Jaybee - The world's best matzoh brai used to be at B & H during the 70's and 80's. I used to sit at the counter and watch them make it all the time.


Oh jeez! what a flood of memories.  The B&H!  Every saturday afternoon for latkes with sour cream.  Babka French toast, and crisp on the outside, searingly hot on the inside cheese blintzes.  

Thanx Steve :smile:

Nick

#9 Steve Plotnicki

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Posted 13 June 2002 - 05:43 AM

Nick - Not babka french toast, challah with raisins. That stuff was phenomenol. I went there with someone recenty to get a chalah. It wasn't up to the old standrads.

#10 Robert Schonfeld

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Posted 13 June 2002 - 06:06 AM

Here's what Mazal does, based on the recipe in Joan Nathan's Jewish Holiday Cookbook:

-2 eggs for three matzot
-tepid water
-wring out matzot
-fry pancake or kuchen style in chicken fat or butter; avoid the margarine option
-I like salt & pepper, as opposed to sweet

But here's what I'm interested in:

Just as the Fat Guy revised the latke for competition, I wonder what he would do in this case. How about it, FG, what's your idea for "Beard House Brei"?
Who said "There are no three star restaurants, only three star meals"?

#11 mamster

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Posted 13 June 2002 - 06:40 AM

Here's my mother's recipe, courtesy of the grub shack.  It's what I grew up on, so I can safely say it's the best.  :smile:
Matthew Amster-Burton, aka "mamster"
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#12 heyjude

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Posted 13 June 2002 - 01:37 PM

I did not say in that post that my mother cooked her brei in Nyafat. This was a schmaltz substitute (to keep it kosher) made from hydrogenated coconut oil. It came with or without onion flavor. Rokeach still makes it, but now uses some other vegetable fat. That's probably good since my arteries are just recovering from my long ago childhood. Anyway, you should use butter whenever possible. Or the chicken fat that no one seems to have a jar of anymore.
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#13 jaybee

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Posted 13 June 2002 - 02:52 PM

Hot diggity, a raft of new techniques.  It seems the basic divides here 1) soaking in hot, tepid or cold water and 2) pancake vs broken up style.  I like the boiling water concept and the broken up version.  What about matzo brands?  I have found big differences among store-bought brands.  Horowitz and Margareten are the best, and Manishewitz the worst.  Any opinions on this?

Speaking of B&H, remember Steinberg's Dairy Restaurant on B'way and 84th?  They made fantastic matzo brie.  Artie's Deli makes a pretty good version.  And lots of it too.

Thanks all.

#14 msp

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Posted 13 June 2002 - 02:53 PM

My grandmother, who is 105 and still makes matzoh brei for the great grandchildren, breaks the matzoh up in a bowl and pours scalding hot water over it. Then she dunks it under the water for a couple of minutes (with her asbestos hands) while the butter melts in the skillet. She draines off the water and adds a lightly beaten egg, soaking the matzah briefly. She then "fries" it in the butter. Yes, she used to use shmaltz, but now its butter.

She then serves it to all of us with salt and plenty of pepper. We wouldn't have dreamed of the sweet cinnamon sugar an orthodox neighbor of mine uses, nor would we think of ---gasp--- maple syrup.

We grew up thinking of it as Jewish French Toast.

#15 jaybee

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Posted 13 June 2002 - 03:20 PM

Wow, MSP, does your grandmother deliver?  Great recipe.  Thanks  I'm intrigued by the low egg to matzo ratio.  Interesting.

#16 Suzanne F

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Posted 13 June 2002 - 03:38 PM

Am I the only one who sometimes makes it along the same lines as french toast (dry matzo soaked in egg/milk mixture)?  Last Sunday I used 7 or 8 matzos, 5 eggs and a quart of milk -- which was way too much liquid.  But I drained it before cooking -- only in butter, EVER.  Breaking up during the frying.  Very fluffy, which was okay -- but when I do the hot-water soak, drain, and then mix with custard, it comes out with lots of crispy bits, which I prefer.  I'm a savory person -- just S & P; my husband is sweet (jam).

(The leftover custard was cooked separately with crumbled feta and oregano, for a side of greek-ish scrambled eggs.)

BTW, has anyone ever made and/or had the Wild Mushroom MB that Anne Rosenzweig used to do at Arcadia?

#17 msp

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Posted 13 June 2002 - 03:50 PM

No, wait; the egg to matzah ratio was the same as many others on this thread...about 2 eggs to three matzos. But honestly, I have never made such a small batch! Nor, I believe, has my grandmother.

#18 jaybee

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Posted 13 June 2002 - 03:54 PM

No, wait; the egg to matzah ratio was the same as many others on this thread...about 2 eggs to three matzos.


Oh, I was reacting to "she adds a lightly beaten egg".  I am a recipe robot sometimes, so I took you very lliterally.  Thanks.

#19 Orik

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Posted 13 June 2002 - 04:33 PM

She then serves it to all of us with salt and plenty of pepper. We wouldn't have dreamed of the sweet cinnamon sugar an orthodox neighbor of mine uses, nor would we think of ---gasp--- maple syrup.

If anything, us evil transylvanians would serve it with hard yellow cheese, urda (ricotta) or feta...but then again we also make our noodle kuggel (sp?) spicy and use rice for the sweet kuggel. Duck fat works very well for frying this, butter is ok too.
M

#20 heyjude

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Posted 13 June 2002 - 05:32 PM

Orik, I've always seen 1 G in kugel. Jaybee, the advantage to the running under water technique is you don't have to wait for the kettle to boil. Not an issue for those with hot taps. The reason I cook pancake style is that you get a good ratio of crisp to tender. Of course, when it's served the pancake is broken up into what I think of as chunks.
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#21 Jinmyo

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Posted 13 June 2002 - 06:08 PM

Please don't anyone take this the wrong way but I've used butter, I've used schmaltz, and I've used bacon fat. Splendid with bacon fat. And, uh, bacon. :confused:
"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

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#22 Jason Perlow

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Posted 13 June 2002 - 06:12 PM

Theres almost a Zen-like quality to the idea of Matzo Brei with bacon. As if all the evil confluences of the world collided to make something beautiful.
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#23 Jinmyo

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Posted 13 June 2002 - 06:38 PM

Wow, Jason. That's so, like, profound. :wink:
"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

#24 Julliana

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Posted 13 June 2002 - 06:57 PM

My mother used to whip the egg whites with an old fashioned flat shaped whisk thing. It kind of looked like a pancake turner with wire mesh.  I've seen something very similiar in the King Arthur catalogue but I'm sure you can use a regular mixer.


She would beat the egg whites until quite foamy  - not stiff like you would for a cake.  Wet matzo was added to the egg yolks and then the whites were folded in and it was fried in a pan on top of the stove.

The matzo brei was not flat and pancake like - it was quite thick and high  - something like a thick frittata.  


Julliana

#25 Jinmyo

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Posted 13 June 2002 - 07:39 PM

Juliana, that's quite interesting. I've never thought of this. Applications to "French" Toast (eggy bread) as well. Thank you.  :biggrin:
"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

#26 Julliana

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Posted 13 June 2002 - 08:29 PM

Jinmyo,

I'm not sure if this would work as well with french toast.  I think the bread would absorb more of the egg yolk than the wet dense matzo. I also think the broken up matzo allows the egg whites to get in the nooks and crannies between the oddly shaped matzo.

I think with the standard version of french toast the beaten whites would form a coating that could be interesting.  I wonder if adding some flour to the beaten whites as in the Cooks Illustrated version would really add something crusty and wonderful... or some awful mess:-) 

I am also thinking of day old french bread broken up into smaller pieces and done in this way would be something similiar to one of those overnight casseroles that require soaking the bread in an egg/cream/milk mixture - without the overnight soaking.

My mother never added anything savory to the mixture but because of the frittata quality of her matzo brei, it would be a natural for adding some sauteed mushrooms, or other savory things.


Interesting  - let me know if you try anything.  


Julliana

#27 ngatti

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Posted 13 June 2002 - 08:39 PM

Am I the only one who sometimes makes it along the same lines as french toast (dry matzo soaked in egg/milk mixture)?  Last Sunday I used 7 or 8 matzos, 5 eggs and a quart of milk -


Nope :smile:, I think that you just ahve to soak it longer.   But now that you mention it I'm gonna try it with my 'challah french toast' royale.  Cream, eggs, OJ, and vanilla flavored rum (Tahitian beans stuffed into a bottle of Mt Gay).

Thank you egullet :biggrin:

Nick

#28 Steve Plotnicki

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Posted 13 June 2002 - 09:37 PM

I refuse to allow matzo brei made with bacon drippings to be called matzo brei. It needs a non-Jewish name.

Unleavened Bread Fry-Up.

Now how's that. Sounds like they used to make it at Plymouth Rock.

#29 Suzanne F

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Posted 14 June 2002 - 06:20 PM

Nick -- when I do french toast that way, I always add some ground spices -- allspice (one of my favorites), cinnamon (a little common, though), nutmeg (ditto), cardamom, coriander -- not all together, of course.  But my preference is to add some ground fenugreek seeds; adds an undefinable (by most people) je ne sais quois.  Anyway, I like it.

Steve P: sounds more like what they might make in Kingston or Port-of-Spain: Flatbread Fryup.

#30 Jinmyo

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Posted 14 June 2002 - 06:27 PM

A rose by any other name... :wink:
"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM