By Jennifer LeeVan
Weekday mornings: massive bulk trucks arrive filled with a fine powdery substance, fueling the 47,000-square-foot Streit’s matzo factory with one of the most crucial components to its workplace- flour.
Considering matzo’s two main ingredients are flour and water, it’s no wonder that there are silos, within the building, filled to the brim with the fine powdery substance, and that the air in the Streit’s factory has a slight almost dusty quality.
Streit’s matzo factory used to be a red brick Rivington Street tenement, a familiar sight on New York’s Lower East Side. Aron Streit, the founder of Streit’s, chose this location after he realized that a factory capable of mechanized matzo-making would be the way of the future.
Streit’s is unique because members of the Streit family continue to create an unchanged product, using a consistent method, even after four generations.
“We’re using New York City water,” says Alan Adler, a part owner of Streit’s and great grandson of Aron Streit. “People always say that the pizzas, the bagels are better in New York City than anywhere else, and we think the matzo is better than anywhere else for the same reason.” Each spring, Jews commemorate their ancestors’ flight from slavery in Egypt. As the Jewish people left Egypt hastily, they did not allow enough time for their bread to rise. Passover observers abstain from eating leavened foods, chametz, during the festival. Adler also claims that, “ours (Streit’s Matzo) is cooked better than the competition.” Adler attributes this to the fact that Streit’s uses a convection oven unlike its competitors.
Given that the Jews had to traverse a desert in order to escape the Egyptians, it’s a good thing they had these tasty crackers with them to keep hunger at bay and an even better thing that Streit’s Matzo is around to provide quality matzo for the masses, especially in New York.