The thin, unleavened bread called matza, or matzah, is the centerpiece of the Jewish springtime festival of freedom, Passover, which celebrates the Exodus story. Most Americans are accustomed to buying boxes of matzah in the supermarket. But in Brooklyn, there's the rare opportunity to indulge in a special. handmade matzah.
This handmade matzah is called "shmura" matza. And while the translation into English is often just "handmade," it involves much more than artisinal craft. This matzah is made under the strict watchful eye of a rabbinical supervisor who ensures that the entire process of mixing the dough and baking the bread, takes place in under eighteen minutes.
Yes, you could buy matzah in the supermarket, but when you live in Brooklyn you can buy fresh matzah from a factory. However, you should note that Brooklyn matzah factories are located in orthodox neighborhoods and you should be respectful of their culture. Please read this before your visit--Tips on... Visiting Brooklyn's Orthodox Jewish, Hassidic Neighborhoods. Here's where you can find schmura matza, straight from the factory, in Brooklyn.
Edited by Alison Lowenstein
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In recent years, Crown Heights has transformed into a hipster haven filled with a vibrant nightlife but it's also home to a large Lubavitch community. You can find fresh matzah at the Lubavitch Matzah Bakery on Albany Avenue or you can order matzah from their website. The store, which has been in operation for over thirty years, also sells matzah online if you can't make the trip to Brooklyn. Chabad of the West Side also hosts matzah baking events in Crown Heights if you're interested in making your own.
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Yes, Williamsburg is a trendy area teeming with boutiques and bars, but South Williamsburg is entirely different neighborhood. It's home to a large Hasidic Satmar community. There are two matzah factories/bakeries that are popular in Williamsburg. Visit the Satmar Central Matzoh Bakery, 322 Rutledge S or Congregation YL Satmar Matzoh Bakery, 427 Broadway.
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There are a few matzah bakeries/factories in Borough Park. Stop in Kerestir Matzah Bakery, 32 Lynch Street. Or pick up some fresh matzah from Boro Park Shmura Matzoh Bakery, 1285 36th Street. Finally head to Chareidim Shmurah Matzoh Bakery, 4312 New Utecht Avenue.
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For fresh matzah, take a trip to Shatzer Matzos in Flatbush on Cortelyou Road. If you're in search of Kosher food, head to Coney Island Avenue, which is a short trip from Shatzer Matzos. The stretch of Coney Island Avenue near Avenue J has many kosher markets.