See which brands are seder-worthy

By the Jewish Light Staff

Too often a good idea leads to less desirable—though unintended—consequences. So it was with the Jewish Light’s Matzah Taste Test. Wouldn’t it be helpful to buy a bunch of different brands of matzah and recruit staff members to judge the brands based on a few categories, then share the results with readers?

However, that also meant that we’d have to subject ourselves—and our coworkers—to sampling 10 different types of matzah, back to back.

To make matters worse, we figured that to judge the matzah, we should taste-test the matzah on its own, without charoset, butter or even horseradish and use only water to cleanse the palate.

So, we scoured three local stores (Kohn’s Kosher Meat & Deli, Dierbergs-West Oak and Schnucks – Ladue Crossing) in search of a sampling of commonly available matzahs under $10.

The 10 brands represent some old favorites and some newer flavors. We set up a blind tasting, where each matzah was laid out on paper plates and assigned a number. We asked our judges to rate the matzahs on a four-point scale (with one as worst, four as best) for the following criteria: texture, appearance, flavor and value (subjects were shown the cost and ounces provided), and were encouraged to offer their own general comments about the matzahs.

We can’t claim our taste-test is based on immaculate scientific methodology. We don’t purport to be experts on matzah and our taste-test overlooks several categories of matzah (gluten-free, unsalted, shmura matzahs over $10 a box).

However, our panel of 11 taste testers put their amateur taste buds to work and what follows are the results. As you’ll see from the comments, it was often hard to find consensus among our testers. One brand, though, did emerge a clear winner overall: Streit’s Egg Matzos, which came in first for taste and (most importantly) best overall score, as well as tying for first on texture and look.

Our thanks to our panel of matzah-testers, who probably didn’t expect to be matzah’d out several weeks before Passover.

and the winner is… Streit’s Egg Matzos

Available at Schnucks and Dierbergs; Texture: 3.36; Look: 3.18; Taste: 2.91; Value: 3.46; Overall score: 3.23

Comments: Plain, but tasty. Slightly sweet, which I liked. Could use a touch of salt. Like paste in your mouth. Not bad. Mild taste. Price is great! Too soft and doughy. Love it! Tasty! 

Holyland Matzos

Available at Kohn’s; Texture: 3.09; Look: 3; Taste: 2.45; Value: 2.63; Overall score: 2.8; 

Comments: Good overall. Airier than others. Dry, but better than others. Good texture. Well baked. Very plain…tasteless…heavy. Pretty standard matzah, but a bit pricey.

King David Matzos

Available at Schnucks and Dierbergs; Texture: 2.91; Look: 2.73 Taste: 2.09; Value: 2.73; Overall score: 2.61

Comments: Not unpleasant. Good flavor and great for the price. Very standard. Not too pricey. Bland and dry. Doesn’t hold together well. No flavor besides burnt. OK.

Streit’s Matzos

Available at Kohn’s, Dierbergs and Schnucks; Texture: 3.35; Look: 3.18; Taste: 2.54; Value: 2.1; Overall score: 2.81

Comments: Basic matzah but nice and crispy. Good overall flavor and a flaky crunch. Tastes a bit burnt. Taste and texture OK, but you can get as good for less. Would be great with wine. 

Manischewitz Whole Wheat

At Dierbergs and Kohn’s; Texture: 2.72; Look: 2.72; Taste: 2.09; Value: 1.73; Overall score: 2.20; 

Comments: Very grainy. Hard. I bet it is healthy for you. No taste. Too dry. Hated it, but I’m not a fan of whole wheat matzah. Multigrain look. Very dense. Like chewing cardboard.

Manischewitz Schmura Matzos

Available at Kohn’s; Texture: 3.27; Look: 2.45; Taste: 2.27; Value: 1.6; Overall score: 2.41

Comments: A firm matzah with a good crunch but little flavor except for the slightly burned edges. Tasty. Good crunch. Bad taste, bad texture. Way too expensive. Looks unappetizing but it’s very good, though. Not worth the price. Dry no flavor. One of my favorites.

Manischewitz Spelt Matzos

Available at Schnucks and Kohn’s; Texture: 3.36; Look: 2.90; Taste: 2.82; Value: 1.64; Overall score: 2.68

Comments: Good and fluffy—one of my favorites. Fair taste and texture but way too expensive. Good crunch. Dry and no flavor. Good flavor but pricey. 

 Manischewitz Egg Matzohs

Available at Dierbergs and Schnucks; Texture: 2.81; Look: 2.91; Taste: 2.27; Value: 2.36; Overall score: 2.59; 

Comments:  Pleasant but slightly burnt. Good but dry. Kind of dry and too pricey. Good but dry. Yum. Pasty. Thick and dry.

Yehuda Matzos

At Dierbergs and Kohn’s; Texture: 3; Look: 2.63; Taste: 2.54; Value: 3.18; Overall score: 2.84

Comments: Tastes burnt and sandy. Good flavor and good price. A little too dark. I’m cheap, so I would buy this one and not complain. Too dry. Good taste, good texture, good price. Pretty standard but a bit crispier, which I liked.

Rakusen’s Lite

Available at Kohn’s and Dierbergs; Texture: 2.64; Look: 1.91; Taste: 1.73; Value: 1.82; Overall score: 2.02

Comments: Way too dry. Pretty good. Looks and tastes burnt. A bit stale to the taste. Has some black dust-looking stuff on it. Tastes like cardboard and looks burned. Nasty.