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I understand a bracha on dough is made if the amount of flour is greater than a certain amount, sourced here.

I have a small food processor I use to knead the dough. I plan to make a bunch of dough balls to freeze. The balls will never touch. However, if they were to be combined, they would be enough to make a bracha. Are they considered separate loaves or one large one? What is the distinction? Is it combining of the dough or the intent of using a certain amount of flour?

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2 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

The Shulchan Aruch rules (YD 325:1 based on Mishna Challah 2:4)

שתי עיסות שאין בשום אחת כשיעור, אם נוגעות זו בזו עד שנדבקים מעט זו בזו, מצטרפים
Two doughs [of the same type] of which neither has the requisite amount [but together they would], if they touch each other such that they stick to each other a little bit, they combine [to form the minimum amount and are obligated in Challah]

So your dough-balls would not seem to qualify.

However, there is a second way to combine given in the Mishna and also recorded in the Shulchan Aruch (ibid.) known as tzeiruf sal:

ואם אינם נדבקים, והם בסל אחד, הסל מצרפן ואפילו אחר שנאפה ונעשה פת
And if they don't stick but are in one basket, the basket combines them [to form the requisite amount] even after they are baked and become bread.

So our question here becomes, does your freezer combine the dough-balls?

This is a hotly debated issue amongst recent poskim. Rabbi Pesach Eliyahu Falk has a series of responsa (Machaze Eliyahu 111-117) where he argues that tzeiruf sal does not apply to bread/dough in a freezer for a number of reasons, such as the dough being individually wrapped, the freezer being attached to the ground, the freezer being too big to accept Tumah, the combination is not happening immediately after baking, and there is no intent to combine the dough. Minchat Yitzchak (8:106) rules similarly.

However, Rav Yaakov Epstein (Chevel Nachalato 13:38) in an extended discussion argues that a freezer should accomplish tzeiruf sal, citing Rs Yosef Shalom Elyashiv and Shmuel Wosner against many of R Falk's points. I see online that Rav Avraham Yosef ruled similarly though he doesn't provide any reasoning.

In short, one should CYLOR for a final ruling on this issue.

I note though that if you want you can place all the dough balls in a big bowl (or on a tray and cover them with a towel -- YD 325:1) and thereby combine them and separate Challah once with a blessing for all the dough. In this way you fulfill a mitzva according to everyone and you don't have any questions later on.

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Great answer. Thank you! –  Mike Nov 20 '13 at 2:04
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From The Secret of Challah:

When preparing more than one dough, and each dough does not have the required amount of flour needed to separate challah, the doughs may be combined, and challah can be separated.

If one is concerned that the different doughs should not get mixed together (such as bread dough and cake batter), they should not be joined.

To combine the doughs, lay them next to one another so that they touch, and separate challah with a blessing. If it is difficult to combine the doughs, one may leave them in their bowls and cover them with a cloth or some other covering so that they appear to be one mass of dough.

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