Halacha for Tuesday 30 Shevat 5779 February 5 2019

The After-Blessing on Wafers, Baklava, Napoleon, and Bourekas

In the previous Halacha we have discussed that if one eats a Kezayit of cake which has even a minimal amount of flour mixed into it, one must recite the “Al Ha’Michya” after-blessing; however, this only applies when the flour makes up no less than one-sixth of the cake’s ingredients and that the taste of the flour is detectable in the cake (which is usually the case).

Based on this we can infer that a cheese cake which contains, for instance, two cups of flour requires the “Al Ha’Michya” after-blessing after eating a Kezayit of it.

Napoleon and Wafers
Nevertheless, a different law applies to pastries not made of a dough where the flour and the different ingredients stand apart and are not mixed together. For instance, Baklava is made of sheets of dough which are separate from the walnut filling. Similarly, in wafers or Napoleon cake, the flour is not mixed with the other ingredients; rather, the sheets of dough and the cream or other fillings are separate from one another and each one is individually discernable. In this case, the cake cannot be considered one collective mixture; rather, each ingredient must be taken into consideration individually.

Thus, even if the sheets of dough make up more than one-sixth of the cake and their taste is detectable, nevertheless, if one eats a Kezayit of the cake collectively but has not eaten a Kezayit of the dough itself, one should not recite the “Al Ha’Michya” blessing after eating, for the fillings do not combine with the dough to reach the amount of a Kezayit.

Similarly, when one eats wafers of which the sheets of dough are known to be extremely light and airy and the bulk of the weight and volume of the wafers is as a result of the filling in between the sheets, one cannot recite the “Al Ha’Michya” after-blessing unless one has eaten a respectable amount. However, if one has only eaten a Kezayit of “wafers”, one should not recite the “Al Ha’Michya” blessing. (If one eats a Kezayit of the filling, one should recite the “Boreh Nefashot” after-blessing.)

The same applies to Baklava, which people tend to eat only a small amount of because it is extremely sweet, and one should not recite an after-blessing after eating it although one has eaten more than a Kezayit since the walnut and pistachio filling does not combine with the dough to reach the amount of a Kezayit.

This is a great distinction which exists between cheese cakes and the like versus wafers and the like, for regarding cakes where flour is mixed into the batter, all of the ingredients combine to reach the appropriate amount to recite an after-blessing whereas regarding cakes where the dough and other ingredients are separate, the other ingredients do not combine with the dough to reach the amount necessary to recite an after-blessing. (Important note: Cheese cakes made of cream cheese and other ingredients mixed together and then merely placed on top of a pie crust with no actual flour mixed into the cheese mixture retain the law of wafers and napoleons explained above.)

Similarly, Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l would rule that one who eats a Kezayit of Bourekas collectively (including the dough and potato or cheese filling) but has not eaten a Kezayit of the dough itself may not recite the “Al Ha’Michya” blessing afterwards, for the filling does not combine with the dough to reach the amount required for an after-blessing.

We have mentioned in the past that Maran zt”l instructed us several times that one who eats a Kezayit of flour-coated peanuts (“Kabukim”) must recite the “Al Ha’Michya” blessing after eating although the bulk of the weight of this snack is as a result of the peanuts and not the coating. This is because Maran zt”l was of the opinion that the law of these coated peanuts was equal to the law of a cake made of batter where flour and other ingredients are mixed together since the flour envelops the peanut from all sides.

Summary: Regarding Baklava, Bourekas, wafers, and the like, where the dough and fillings are separate from one another, the filling does not combine with the dough to reach the prescribed amount of a Kezayit to become obligated to recite an after-blessing.

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