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I am trying to get some understanding of when to make "hamotzi" vs. "mezonot" on baked products.

The dough consists of the these ingredients - 5 lbs. flour, 4 eggs, 4 tbs. salt, 4 tbs. sugar, 4 tbs. oil, 3 packets yeast.

My assumptions:

  • If I don't add anything else, and bake this into challah, it's bread - hamotzi.

  • If I roll out the dough and add poppy seed filling and bake it - it's cake - mezonot.

  • If I shape it into small twisted pretzels, it's mezonot

  • If I flatten the dough, put tomato sauce and cheese on it and make pizza - if I have one slice it's mezonot; if I have two or more, it's hamotzi.

I'm not sure what criteria go into making the distinction. Is it adding filling or sweet ingredients to the dough? Is it the quantity eaten? Some combination of these? Any other criteria?

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    judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/15651/…........ dupe or related? – Avrohom Yitzchok Mar 7 '17 at 17:25
  • @AvrohomYitzchok (and mods) - That question larely answers my question except for the area about the pretzels and the pizza. Mods - should I delete the other items? – DanF Mar 7 '17 at 17:27
  • I am having trouble with your question because the title makes assumptions that are not necessarily correct, specifically cake and bread are the same or at least related. What you gave are basically bread ingredients, not cake ingredients (for example, most breads do not use eggs, whereas cakes usually do). Dough is also semi-solid (a plastic), whereas cake is made from BATTER which is more liquid than solid so the second example is not really valid. Your question should be what is the criteria for bread dough becoming a product for which you would say hamotzi instead of mezonot. – Dennis Mar 7 '17 at 17:31
  • @DanF I don't see how it is not a dupe. – Double AA Mar 7 '17 at 18:29
  • This seems a dupe of judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/15651 to me, too. cc @dou – msh210 Mar 7 '17 at 18:48
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The term you're looking for is Pat Haba Bikisnin. This is a type of baked item which is like bread in many ways and different from bread in some other ways. According to the Shulchan Arukh (168:7), there are three different definitions of pat haba bikisnin and we hold by all three of them:

First Category: Cake

  1. According to Ashkenazim, if there’s a majority (51%) of sweeteners such as fruit juice, oil, egg, margarine, sugar, honey, or the like in comparison to the amount of water added to the flour, then the Bracha is mezonot. However, water mixed into the sweeteners such as diluted fruited juice or margarine (usually 15% water) isn’t included in the calculations of sweeteners to water.
  2. According to Sephardim, if the taste of the sweeteners is recognizable in the dough, then the Bracha is mezonot.

Second Category: Wafer

  1. Dough which is filled with sweeteners such as nuts, chocolate, or the like and is cooked together with the dough, and the taste is recognizable, the bracha is Mezonot.
  2. To be considered pat habaa bikisnin, the filling must not be a “meal” food, for example meat, fish, cheese, or vegetables (unless the pastry is clearly made to be eaten as a snack).

Third Category: Cracker

  1. If the dough is cooked into a food that's hard and crumbles the bracha is Mezonot.

Source: Halachipedia

The bracha on pas haba bikisnin is mezonot when you eat it as a snack or hamotzi when you eat it as a meal. The definition of what constitutes a meal differs between Ashkenazim and Sephardim. So there are a few of incorrect assumptions in your question.

  1. A pretzel may or may not be mezonot depending on how it's prepared. A hard pretzel fits into category 3 and would be pat haba bikisnin and would therefore take the bracha of mezonot when eaten as a snack; however, a soft pretzel is considered bread on which the bracha is hamotzi.

  2. Whether pizza is pat haba bikisnin is debated. I don't know the specifics of the debate but I think it comes down to whether it's bread with other stuff on top or whether the whole thing is considered together and so it's not really bread. Even for those who hold that it is pas haba bikisnin (as opposed to regular bread) (which I believe is a minority), whether it's considered a meal or not isn't really determined by the number of slices you eat (as one enormous slice could easily be a meal even though it's only one slice). The two-slice rule is a rule of thumb.

  • Thanks for the thorough answer. Just what I was looking for. I'll have to re-read it to digest it (no pun, here) better. One question offhand re 3rd condition, as it pertains to hamentaschen, in particular. While not overly popular, there are "yeast hamentaschen" (My grandma used to make a few.) They are soft, but since they're filled, I assume they become mezonot. What if one scooped out the filling. Does that change the bracha? I also think the pizza debate needs significant clarification by rabbanim, etc. Many are confused about this. – DanF Mar 7 '17 at 17:42
  • Pizza isn't PHK but rather a form of Pashtida. See judaism.stackexchange.com/a/1829/759 so everyone would agree that nowadays you have to wash on even one slice. The "two slice" thing is outdated from a time when pizza was a snack food. Those that still follow it because they think it's their "minhag" are just ignorant. Note what you quoted "the filling must not be a 'meal' food, for example meat, fish, cheese, or vegetables" – Double AA Mar 7 '17 at 18:23
  • You also left out the requirement of Tzurat haPat which small pretzels probably lack. – Double AA Mar 7 '17 at 18:34
  • @DoubleAA What is the halachic definition of "tzurat hapat"? I would think that the large soft pretzels would not fit that definition, as well. If tzurat hapat is a necessary requirement for Hamotzi, then the claim in item #1 near the end of the question would be incorrect. – DanF Mar 15 '17 at 13:42
  • @DanF You think a soft pretzel doesn't look like bread? – Daniel Mar 15 '17 at 17:20

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