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Hand Matzos always seem to be round, yet machine Matzohs seem to be square. Is there any company anywhere that produces round machine Matzos? Why not?

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Here's a site that's out of stock on a product that claims to be "Round Matzoth". But note that it is marketed as "COMMUNION BREAD". This is probably not what you are looking for. –  Jon Ericson Feb 17 '12 at 21:14
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5 Answers

up vote 15 down vote accepted

With the early machines in the late 1800s, they'd have a giant roller cranking out a huge flat sheet of dough, then use big cookie-cutters on it. If you used round cookie-cutters, you'd either have to throw away all the dough in between the circle shapes, or would feel pressured to rework it within the 18 minutes, which is going to be hard to do. Therefore they were advised in fact to make them rectangular-shaped.

Of course this raised eyebrows with some traditionalists: "gevalt! Everyone knows a matza is supposed to be round!" The Kesav Sofer briefly allowed for machine round matzas (or even theoretically a pentagonal shape), to give time for people to adjust, while pleading with people to accept the rectangular matzahs, "and in this merit may Hashem gather us from the four corners of the world." (Groan.)

With today's technology I'm sure they could make them round, but as noted that makes packaging more complicated. And besides, if the rabbis of 100+ years ago said that machine matzas should be rectangular, then by golly we'll make them rectangular!

Furthermore, many people feel that the machine matzas can't be used for the seder (which is a different question.) If they started making round machine matzas (or handmade non-shmurah for that matter), people might eat sub-optimal matza seder night, or at least accuse the manufacturer of trying to cause such a confusing situation.

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They can use the extra dough that gets cut - by making it into Matzoh meal. –  Gershon Gold Feb 19 '12 at 3:01
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Where you say "Groan," I say "Amen!" If not for people being prepared to move beyond conventional boundaries to enable more mitzva observance, as we have in inventing machine matza, the Ingathering of the Exiles wouldn't be half-done already today. –  Isaac Moses Feb 19 '12 at 4:51
    
@IsaacMoses The "Groan" is presumably for the pun on "four corners"... –  Curiouser Nov 22 '12 at 17:51
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If such matzos are rare or nonexistent, it's because they don't fit as well in a box and thus require either

  1. a round box, which costs more to make and assemble, or
  2. both
    1. more box space per matza, taking up valuable room in shipping etc., and
    2. empty space in each box, increasing the likelihood of breaking matzos.

Source (so to speak): conjecture.

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The hand Matzah companies put their round Matzohs in square boxes? –  Gershon Gold Feb 19 '12 at 3:00
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@GershonGold, they do: as I noted, a round box is costlier. –  msh210 Feb 19 '12 at 4:10
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In Holland, round matzot were made before the Shoa; the only matze available is made by the matza factory de Haan, Valkenburgerstraat, Amsterdam and Hollandia Matza in Enschede.

After the Shoa until today, you can buy round machine matzot from Hollandia matzes.

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matzebal, thanks for the information and welcome to Mi Yodeya. Please consider registering your account, which will give you access to more of the site's features. –  msh210 Nov 22 '12 at 15:20
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Yes, I've seen it, just not sure where. Round, machine-made Shemurah Matzah, actually. I'll try to find out who produces it and provide more information.

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I asked the person who supplied it who made it, and they couldn't remember; they could only remember which store sold it to them at Pesah time. I may have to wait until Pesah this year to find out whether it is available and from whom. –  Seth J Feb 21 '12 at 21:11
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1- It is more efficient to produce square matzah than other shapes. 2- Most probably, the matzah eaten by the Hebrews leaving Egypt, was square and not round, because the frames used to make bricks were either square or rectangular and so the tradition would probably be to take those same frames and transport the dough that way. 3- The suggestions that one may use the excess dough remaining after the cookie cutter device used to make round matzah would create "Gebroken" matzah, not used by many Jews on Passover.

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Well Orios and Ritz and many others make many round crackers. I do not think it would that difficult to make them round if it is being done by machine. The Matzohs when the left Egypt were most likely round as they were definitely done by hand. –  Gershon Gold Feb 21 '12 at 21:06
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Welcome to the website. Hopefully you will stay around and add insight to the questions asked and perhaps ask some of your own. –  Gershon Gold Feb 21 '12 at 21:07
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When you say "not used by many Jews", do you mean that not many Jews use it, or that there are many Jews who don't use it (two very different statements)? In the first case, that is incorrect; in the second, that is irrelevant because there are many Jews who do use it, thus negating any financial loss in baking the scraps of dough. –  Seth J Feb 21 '12 at 21:09
    
On your point #2: the Torah (Ex. 12:39) describes those original matzos with the Hebrew term ugos (עגת), which means a circular shape (the word is related to עגול, "circle"). –  Alex Feb 21 '12 at 23:23
    
@Alex, right, which is in fact why one rabbi attempted to ban machine-rectangular matza. Fortunately, the Torah never says that the commandment of matza for future generations is limited to any specific shape. It says "the Israelites leaving Egypt ate ugos", but never says "thou shalt eat ugos." The Talmud clearly discusses the laws of matza shapes: there's only one rule, that the shape be SIMPLE (if it was a complicated shape -- hey I want one shaped like the profile of my rabbi -- you may focus on shape instead of on baking it well enough, fast enough). –  Shalom Feb 22 '12 at 0:57
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