Halachot of Berachot
Questions and Answers
Intro to Mezonot
The Three Categories of Mezonos Foods:
1) Pas Haba Bekisnin - Is Mezonot and Al Ha'michya*
2) Cooked Mezonot - Is also Mezonot and Al' Ha'michya*
3) Pas (bread) - Is Hamotzei and Birkat Hamazon
* The difference between 1 and 2 is that 1 could be Hamotzei if eaten in a "Kviat Seudah" manner, but 2 will ALWAYS be mezonot.
1) Pas Haba Bekisnin
There are 3 definitions of Pas Haba Bekisnin:
- dough that is kneaded with something sweet
- dough that is filled with something sweet
- dough that is baked crispy
These are considered snacks since people don't ordinarily use as the mainstay of their meal, and therefore they are mezonot and al hamichya. If, however, one would use them for his meal - they become hamotzei and bircas hamazon. (see kviat seudah for more)
2) Cooked Mezonot
Items belong in this category if they are:
- Cooked in a liquid
- Or if they don't have a bread-like appearance, like wafers (but see below)
- (Being fried is open to a dispute. The generally accepted custom is to differentiate between a little oil and a lot of oil. If the only a little oil is used to prevent burning - we will consider the item as baked. If enough oil is used that it contributes to the flavor and taste is would be considered cooked.)
They are NOT considered bread-like and will always be mezonot.
- Examples - porridge, oatmeal, noodles, soup nuts (deep fried) couscous, kugals, blintzes, egg rolls, doughnuts, wafers.
3) Pas (bread)
- In order for it to be halachikly considered “bread,” it must come from the 5 special grains (wheat, barley, spelt, rye and oats). It then has to be ground into flour, mixed with water into a thick dough and baked.
- People generally use it as the mainstay of their meal.
- It has a normal bread-like appearance.
- If the dough wasn't thick but rather a thin batter (spreads by itself - think pancake batter)...
- and it was cooked in a liquid - then it is cooked mezonot
- and it was baked in an oven - then it is pas (bread) or Pas Haba Bekisnin depending on if the dough has sweet additives
- If the dough was thick and wouldn't spread by itself...
- but it was cooked - this is a major dispute, but the commonly accepted custom is to treat it as cooked mezonot
- (One side argues that the baking is the essential factor and without baking it should be a cooked mezonot. Others argue that even though it wasn't baked, since it has a thick dough AND assuming it also has a bread-like appearance - it would be pas (bread) or Pas Haba Bekisnin)
- Cake from a sweet liquid batter that is baked - Pas Haba Bekisnin
- Kreplach (thick dough that is cooked) -
- this gets back to the major dispute we mentioned earlier. However in the case of kreplach, since the dough is stuffed with meat - everyone would agree it's receives a mezonot. According to the first opinion is a mezonot because it's a Cooked Mezonot while the second opinion would say it's mezonot because it's Pas Haba Bekisnin. The only difference would be if one ate a shiur kviat seudah of Kreplach.
- Doughnuts (thick dough that is cooked) and therefore Cooked Mezonot
- Bagels (thick dough that is cooked and then baked afterwards) - Pas (bread)
- [The Gemara 40a Yevamot discusses this case of pouring boiling water and the baking bread and rules that it is permitted to use for matzah to furfill one's passover obligation and thus would recieve a hamotzei/ birkat hamazon. The Shulchan Aruch bring this down for the halacha, and the Pri megadim expands this to include any cooking that is followed by baking and not merely the pouring of hot water.]
- Wafers (thin batter and baked) is still considered a Cooked Mezonot since it doesn't have a bread-like appearance.
- Pancakes - Since Pancakes are cooked with very little oil, some poskim say it would be in the “baked food” category and would receive a hamotzei if you ate enough. Others argue and say it doesn’t have bread appearance and therefore wouldn’t be hamotzei no matter how much you eat. Rav Bodner poskins that when pancakes are made with very little oil, it is considered part of baked food category and would require hamotzei if one ate enough, i.e. Pas Haba Bekisnin
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