The Rabbinical Council of Victoria (RCV) wishes to express grave concerns about a new product called “Laffa Matza” being sold in certain food outlets in Melbourne, which bears a Kosher for Passover symbol and is soft and chewy.
What is clear from this discussion is that:
- The RCV has not been able to explain why they are concerned--except that the soft matzot are chewy (I have not seen a source for this being a problem nor have they said soft matzot are actually chametz, chas ve shalom)
- There are vested business interests in this and the "Laffa Matza" is selling well despite their efforts
- The replies on the Galus Australis blog with the most invective come from people who have never made matzot and don't know what they're talking about
- There are thinking Jews everywhere who can separate truth from shtuth (yippee!)
Having baked both "cracker matzot" and soft matzot by hand, I've concluded that the process for baking soft matzot is actually superior.
With cracker matzot, if you leave them in a second too long, they're totally scorched. If you take them out too soon, they're not fully cooked. (I think a machine would avoid this problem as the timing could be more consistent). As a result, many are thrown away and it seems like bal tashchit.
With soft matzot, there is much more control over the baking process and much less waste. If matzot do not look fully cooked (and the Mishnah Brura describes a cooked matza), then you can leave them on the blech a bit longer to cook. They won't get burned if you cook them for another second or even a minute.
BTW, 18 minutes is a lot of time to cook matzot before you need to clean everything. This is the time from when the water hits the flour until they are put on the blech.
For thousands of years, our forefathers made and ate soft matzot. They were people, not angels.
The problem with soft matzot is one of HASHKAFA not HALACHA. G-d willing, we will soon have the Bet HaMikdash and then people who refuse to eat soft matzot can struggle to make a real Hillel sandwich.