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Is plain flour Kosher for Passover?

by Rabbi Dovid Cohen


Library » Holidays » Passover » Chametz | Subscribe | What is RSS?


The Short Answer:


The Askmoses Answer:

If one of the five grains – wheat, barley, rye, oats and spelt – sits in water for more than 18 minutes it becomes Chametz, and one may not eat, derive benefit from or own it on Pesach. In addition, Ashkenazim don’t eat Kitniyot – a group of foods which includes (among other things) rice, corn, soy and their derivatives – but are allowed to own kitniyot foods on Pesach.

It is common practice that before wheat is ground into flour, the wheat kernels are tempered with water for many hours, and therefore flour should be treated as chametz.1  [In fact, Matzah which isn’t baked especially for Pesach is made from tempered wheat and should also be treated as chametz!]. Similarly, all oats are heat-treated to prevent them from becoming rancid; if this heating is done with “wet” steam, the oats/oatmeal may be chametz. On the other hand, barley (a.k.a. pearled barley) is processed without water, and therefore a standard bag of barley isn’t chametz. However, some barley is steeped in water until the barley begins to sprout; this creates a product known as barley malt (a.k.a. malted barley, malt) which is definitely chametz.

Excerpted with permission from

[Ed. note: Also read "What are 'kitniyot'?"]


  • 1. Mishnah Berurah 453:24.


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Any leavened product which is produced from wheat, barley, rye, spelt or oats. This includes bread, cake, cereals, crackers, biscuits, yeast, pasta and whisky. It is forbidden for a Jew to possess or consume Chametz throughout Passover.
(pl. Matzot). Unleavened bread which is eaten on Passover, especially at the Passover Seder (feast), commemorating the Matzah which the Jews ate upon leaving Egypt. It consists of only flour and water and resembles a wheat cracker.
(pl.) Jews of Northern or Eastern European ancestry. (singular: Ashkenazi)
Various legumes and grain-like substances. The medieval sages banned eating kitniyot during the holiday of Passover because it resembles Chametz (leavened grain products) which is Biblically forbidden during this holiday.
Passover. A Biblically mandated early-spring festival celebrating the Jewish exodus from Egypt in the year 1312 BCE.