Matzo is the unleavened bread traditionally associated with Passover. If you’re new to planning a Passover menu, the different types of matzo can get a little confusing, but it’s actually pretty simple. Matzo meal, matzo cake meal and matzo farfel are all made from the same thing (you guessed it): matzo.
Matzo meal, matzo cake meal and matzo ball mix are all types of ground matzo. Matzo meal is slightly coarse, like the texture of breadcrumbs. Matzo cake meal is finely ground and is commonly used to make Passover baked goods and crusts. Matzo ball mix is basically seasoned matzo meal.
Matzo farfel is simply crumbled matzo. It’s not finely ground, but closer to the size of coarsely crushed crackers. The bigger size makes it ideal for for bready stuffings, crunchy toppings, and sweet or savory kugels. To make things a little big more confusing, there are matzo farfel noodles, which are completely different than matzo farfel. They are tiny, pellet-shaped egg noodles made with flour, egg and salt.
Homemade versus Store-Bought
It’s true, you just buy Matzo and make your own meal, cake meal and farfel as needed, but, like everything else these days, convenience is king. Plus, if you’re new to matzo, it might be helpful to buy prepared until you have a better sense of what the texture of each product should be like before trying a new recipe for Passover.
One More Caveat (For the Gentiles)
While matzo is a traditional food for Passover, not all matzo is kosher, which is a requirement for a Passover meal. Skip over the matzo packages labeled “not kosher for Passover” when shopping for ingredients for your dish to pass.