Fort Worth

Fort Worth Bakery Helps Set the Passover Table

The Texas Shmurah Matzah Bakery is the only handmade matzah bakery in North America outside the Northeast

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Standing on either side of a long table, workers quickly roll out dough at the Texas Shmurah Matzah Bakery.

"You constantly move the dough," Rabbi Dov Mandel explained. "Matzah must be baked within 18 minutes."

That is to prevent it from rising. The Fort Worth bakery is the only one in North America outside the Northeast to handmake matzah for the Jewish holiday of Passover.

"I see how it's really touched people that, first of all, Fort Worth is producing this, and that it's something serious and meaningful, something that connects them to their faith," Mandel said. "Matzah is called the 'bread of faith'."

The bread is just two ingredients, flour and water. It is rolled by hand, then passed over with a roller that pokes holes in the dough. Then, the dough is placed into an oven at more than 1,000 degrees for 30 seconds.

Rabbi Mandel co-directs Chabad Lubavitch of Fort Worth and Tarrant County. He said spending money to buy and ship matzah for Passover gave him the idea to make it by hand here.

"I get ideas, and some of them are extremely impractical and my garage is full of them," Mandel said laughing. "And some of them just take off!"

Mandel said he's had more order requests than his workers can make. The bakery has turned out about 18,000 matzahs this season.

"Somebody once asked me, 'when do you get to rest'," Mandel said. "I said, well, there's cemeteries all over the place, but I don't think you want to go there!"

Mandel said he's happy to be in his Fort Worth bakery, keeping 3,000-plus years of Jewish tradition alive.

"It's a miracle that we still exist, and we have faith in those miracles that we will continue to exists, and grow Jewishly," Mandel said.

Passover starts on Saturday.

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