Going Kosher – Kosher Bread – Chapter 11

Pat Yisroel-Jewish Bread

1) Generally, it is very important to eat bread that has been baked by a Jew in a kosher home or in a kosher supervised bakery.[1] This is especially true in the United States of America where many non-Jewish bakeries customarily include dairy products, such as whey, in their breads. In addition, some bakeries grease their pans with animal fats, such as beef tallow or pig lard. However, even if these ingredients are absent, the sages forbade[2] the consumption of non-Jewish bread, especially homemade bread.[3] Due to its importance,[4] they were concerned that breaking bread with non-Jews could lead to over-familiarization eventuating in assimilation and intermarriage,[5] G-d forbid. Nevertheless, the ban is across the board,[6] and even includes bread baked by a non-Jew who is not an idolater[7] or is childless.[8]

2) Only breads made from the following grains are included in the prohibition: wheat, barley, spelt, oats and rye.[9] However, rice bread, millet bread or soy bread do not need to be baked by a Jew, since they are not considered to be important foods which would be served by royalty,[10] as will be explained later. Of course, they still must be under supervision to assure that all the ingredients are kosher.

3) Nonetheless, bread is only forbidden by this ban if the entire baking process was performed by a non-Jew. However, if a Jew participated during the baking process, such as by igniting the oven fire, inserting the dough into the oven or increasing the oven heat by adding a little fuel or even by blowing on the coals,[11] the bread may be consumed by a Jew.[12] Furthermore, as long as it is still in the oven and may still be improved by further baking, even if the crust has already browned somewhat, nevertheless, if a Jew increases the heat, the bread may still be consumed by a Jew.[13] However, once it is removed from the oven it can no longer be corrected by returning it to the oven, even if doing so would improve it.[14] However, if there is great need, this too is permitted.[15]

Pat Palter – Non-Jewish Bakery Bread

4) However, because this ban was never universally accepted[16] or because bread is the “staff of life” and is, therefore, a necessary staple,[17] many authorities permitted the consumption of non-Jewish bakery bread. According to Sephardic authorities the leniency only applies out of necessity, when there are no Jewish bakeries[18] or when the non-Jewish bakery either has better bread or a different selection of breads than are available at the Jewish bakery.[19] According to Ashkenazic authorities, even if they are available at the Jewish bakery, if one wishes to be lenient, he may do so and buy bread from a non-Jewish bakery.[20] However, there are Ashkenazic opinions that take the stricter view, similar to the Sephardic one[21].

Of course, the above leniency is only with the precondition that all the ingredients are kosher etc. Therefore, even according to this leniency, kosher supervision of the ingredients is still required. Moreover, the leniency also applies to all baked goods, such as cakes, muffins and cookies.[22] Fried goods, such as doughnuts, however, are not included and require that a Jew, at least, ignite the fire.[23] However, all opinions are in agreement that the leniency only applies to bakery bread and goods and that it is forbidden to eat homemade non-Jewish bread or cakes, lest it lead to assimilation and intermarriage.[24]

5) During the “Ten days of repentance”, i.e. from Rosh Hashanah through Yom Kippur, one should not rely on this leniency. Instead, special care should be taken not to eat bread and other baked goods from a non-Jewish bakery. They should either be baked at home or purchased from a Jewish bakery.[25] However, if it is impossible to bake at home and there is no Jewish bakery, an arrangement should be made with the non-Jewish baker that a Jew should do some small act of participation in the baking process,[26] such as igniting the oven fire, inserting the dough into the oven, increasing the oven heat or even blowing on the coals.[27]

6) If bread was baked by a non-Jewish maid and the Jewish members of the household failed to participate in the baking process in any of the ways mentioned above, even though all the ingredients belonged to the Jew, it falls into the category of bishul akum-“food cooked by a non-Jew”, as will be explained later, and none of the leniencies associated with non-Jewish bread may be applied to it. It may not be eaten by a Jew.[28]

Dairy bread and Meat bread

1) Since bread is a staple[29] which is eaten with meat as well as dairy meals,[30] the rabbis forbade kneading dough together with milk or butter[31] and baking dairy bread.[32] It is, likewise, forbidden to knead animal fats together with dough and bake meat bread.[33] Rather, bread should be baked pareve, thus avoiding confusion and the inadvertent eating of milk and meat together.[34] This rule is especially true in regard to bakery breads which are sold to the public.[35] However, it is permissible to bake dairy bread at home on condition that it is shaped in an irregular fashion[36] to identify it as dairy bread.[37] In addition, according to Sephardic custom, homemade dairy bread may be baked in small portions to be consumed during an immediate dairy meal, on condition that none is left over for a subsequent meal.[38] Ashkenazic custom is more lenient and permits the consumption of such bread during that whole day.[39]

2) Since it is customary to eat a dairy meal on the first day of the Shavuot holiday, many are accustomed to bake dairy bread on Shavuot for that meal.[40] However, one may not bake for both days of the holiday.[41]  Likewise, since the Shabbat meal on Friday evening is traditionally a meat meal, it is permissible to bake meat bread to be consumed during that meal.[42]

[1] שו”ע יו”ד קיב:א.

[2]  גמ’ שבת יז:ב, רמב”ם מאכלות אסורות יז:ט, שו”ע יו”ד קיב:א, חכמ”א סה:א.

[3] שו”ע יו”ד קיב:ב.

[4] ט”ז יו”ד קיב:ב.

[5] גמ’ ע”ז שם, שו”ע שם, חכמ”א שם.

[6] ט”ז יו”ד קיב:א.

[7] כה”ח יו”ד קיב:ד, רב פעלים ח”ג יו”ד- י, יחו”ד ה:נד.

[8] רמ”א יו”ד קיב:א, כה”ח יו”ד קיב:ט, וראה ש”ך וט”ז שם.

[9] שו”ע יו”ד קיב:א.

[10] רמ”א וט”ז שם.

[11] רמ”א יו”ד קיב:ט.

[12] שו”ע יו”ד קיב:ט

[13] שו”ע יו”ד קיב: יב.

[14] כה”ח יו”ד קיב:יב.

[15] חכמ”א סה:ח.

[16] ט”ז יו”ד קיב:ד.

[17] ש”ך יו”ד קיב:ו.

[18] שו”ע יו”ד קיב:ב.

[19] שו”ע יו”ד קיב:ה.

[20] רמ”א יו”ד קיב:ב, ביאור הגר”א יו”ד קיב:ז.

[21] ש”ך יו”ד קיב:ט כתב מיהו נראה דיש ליזהר אף כל ימות השנה שלא ליקח פת של עובד כוכבים מן הפלטר היכא דיש פלטר ישראל אם לא שהפת עובד כוכבים יפה יותר דאז שרי, וראה באר היטב יו”ד קיב:ה.

[22] רמ”א יו”ד קיב:ו

[23] יחו”ד ה:נג.

[24] שו”ע יו”ד שם.

[25] שו”ע או”ח תרג:א, ש”ך יו”ד קיב:ט, וראה משנ”ב או”ח תרג.

[26] שו”ע יו”ד קיב:ט.

[27] רמ”א יו”ד קיב:ט.

[28] חכמ”א סה:ו.

[29] שפתי דעה יו”ד צז:א.

[30] דגמ”ר ליו”ד צז:א.

[31] רמב”ם הל’ מאכלות אסורות ט:כב.

[32] שו”ע יו”ד צז:א.

[33] ערוה”ש יו”ד צז:ג, שפתי דעה יו”ד צז:א.

[34] שו”ע שם.

[35] פת”ש יו”ד צז:ג.

[36] רמב”ם הל’ מאכלות אסורות ט:כב.

[37] שו”ע יו”ד צז:א.

[38] שו”ע יו”ד צז:א, פמ”ג יו”ד צז:א.

[39] שפתי דעה יו”ד צז:א, וראה ערוה”ש יו”ד צז:ד..

[40] רמ”א יו”ד צז:א.

[41]  דרכ”ת יו”ד צז:לג.

[42] רמ”א יו”ד צז:א.

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