Halacha for Wednesday 10 Shevat 5782 January 12 2022

Foods Which Contain Flour

During the past few days, we have discussed that when a dish is comprised of several different foods which require different blessings, one should recite the blessing on the primary food in the dish. Thus, if one eats grape leaves stuffed with rice, one should recite the Mezonot blessing, for the rice is considered primary over the grape leaves it is wrapped in.

However, we have explained that the above applies to a food comprised of two standard ingredients. Nevertheless, if the food contains grain products, such as wheat flour or breadcrumbs, the blessing on that food will always be Mezonot, for there is paramount significance to products of the five grains in that they are satiating and thus, they are always considered primary.

Phyllo Dough
Based on the above, if one stuffs phyllo dough with walnuts (such as Baklava) or chocolate, although the filling should have been considered primary, nevertheless, since the phyllo dough is a grain product, the appropriate blessing is Mezonot, not Ha’etz or Shehakol.

A Cake Which Contains Only a Small Amount of Flour
When we say that grain products are always considered the primary ingredient of the food, this only applies when the grain product is meant to give a good flavor to the food. However, if it is only added for binding or texture purposes, it is no longer considered primary, and one should make the appropriate blessing on the food.

This law is quoted in the Gemara (Berachot 37b) and Shulchan Aruch (Chapter 208) that when the flour is added to bind the dish, one would not recite the Mezonot blessing on it.

Based on this, if one makes a cake from eggs, oil, sugar, and the like and then adds a small amount of flour (such as one tablespoon for the entire mix) just for the batter to stiffen, the blessing on such a cake will be Shehakol and not Mezonot, for the eggs and sugar are the primary ingredients and the flour is only meant to bind the mixture.

The same applies to meringues made from sugar and egg whites in that their appropriate blessing is Shehakol although some flour is sometimes added. Indeed, the Rambam (Chapter 3 of Hilchot Berachot) writes that as long as the grain product is added to the food for binding purposes, the Mezonot blessing is not recited. He adds that the same applies if one added the grain product to the mixture for color or smell, and as long as it was not added to give the food flavor, one would not recite the Mezonot blessing.

A Soup or Sauce Containing Flour
Based on the words of the Rambam we can derive that even when the flour is being added to a food to improve its texture, such as adding flour to a meat soup to thicken it, the blessing on this soup remains Shehakol, for this flour was meant as a thickening agent and not to give taste.

Similarly, regarding those who add flour to sauces or gravies in order to thicken them, the blessing remains Shehakol. Likewise, if a minimal amount of breadcrumbs are added to meatball to enhance their texture, the blessing remains Shehakol and not Mezonot since the breadcrumbs were not added to enhance the flavor.

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