V. BAKERIES, BAKED GOODS, BREADS, ROLLS, PASTRIES AND BAGELS
The display of the label has undergone strict changes due
to government regulations. Not only must the label specify
the type of shortening, i.e. vegetable or animal, but it
must declare the actual source as well. Thus, it is commonplace
to mention cottonseed oil, lard, coconut oil, and the like.
The result of this explicit label display is that the consumer
can easily detect what is blatantly non-kosher. However,
the kosher status of a product containing vegetable shortening
of any type can only be verified by reliable kosher certification.
The reason for this is that manufacturers of vegetable shortening
often process animal fats on common equipment. The vegetable
product may be a pure one, however, halachically it is rendered
non-kosher due to its being processed on non-kosher equipment.
Emulsifiers are complex substances that are used in all
types of food production. They can perform a number of critical
functions, among them allowing incompatible ingredients
to mix together These materials are listed on the ingredient
label as polysorbates, mono and diglycerides, sorbitan monostearate,
etc. These products are produced from both animal and vegetable
sources and thus require careful supervision and controls.
The special qualities of these products (acting as surfactants
and making oil and water soluble) enable them to be invaluable
basic components in many food items, such as margarine,
shortenings, cream fillings, toppings, coffee creamers,
whiteners, prepared cake mixes, donuts, and puddings. It
must be emphasized that ice cream, frozen desserts, instant
mashed potatoes, peanut butter, snack-pack foods, and many
breakfast cereals also contain di-glycerides and, therefore,
require kashruth certification. A product whose ingredient
panel lists ‘emulsifiers’ or ‘emulsifier
added’ indicates the use of glycerides and requires
kashruth certification. Many chocolates and candies contain
such glyceride emulsifiers.
Breads, Rolls, Challah, Bagels and Bialys:
These basic household staples present several kashruth
problems and require kashruth certification.
1. The "Taking" of Challah:
The Torah requires that a portion of every batter of dough
prepared for baking be set aside as 'Challah'. The Challah
portion taken may be of any size and is to be burned. This
ritual is obligatory only when the dough is of Jewish ownership
and is made from the flour of five grains: wheat, oats,
rye, spelt, and barley. When the flour used is a blend with
other types of flour, e.g. corn, rice, etc., a Rabbinic
authority is to be consulted.
2. If this mitzvah (commandment) has not been performed
in the bakery, it may be performed in the home by placing
all the baked goods in one room, breaking open all sealed
packaged material, and removing and burning a small piece
from one of the loaves. When some of the loaves are a combination
of the five aforementioned grains challah must then be taken
from each type of loaf. When one bakes at home and has used
a minimum of 2 lbs. 10 oz. of flour in the making of dough,
challah is to be taken from the dough before baking. In
this case, a blessing is not recited.
When a minimum of 4 lbs. 15 1/3 oz. of flour is used, the
blessing is recited before performing the Mitzvah.
3. Many breads are made with oils and shortenings. Basic
ingredients of specially prepared dough mixes and dough
conditioners are shortenings and di-glycerides. In bakeries,
pans and troughs in which the dough is placed to rise, are
coated with grease or divider oils which may be non-kosher.
These oils often do not appear on the label; only specially
prepared kosher pan grease may be used.
4. Dairy Breads:
It is Rabbinically prohibited to bake bread with dairy ingredients.
Since bread is frequently eaten at all meals, the Rabbis
were concerned that one might inadvertently eat dairy bread
with a meat meal. There are two exceptions-if the bread
is baked in an unusual shape or design indicating that it
is dairy, or if the loaf is so small that it would be consumed
at one meal.
5. Cake, Pastries & Doughnuts:
These products should be considered non-kosher unless certified
kosher. The shortenings and other ingredients universally
used in the manufacture of these items require expert supervision.
Lard-based shortenings are often used in pie and other crust
preparations because of lard's unique flaking quality.
6. Fillings and Cremes:
All fillings, cremes, and fudge bases must be certified
kosher because they may contain fats, emulsifiers, and gelatin
A critical sector of the food industry is manufacturers
of flavors. Flavors, whether artificial or natural, are
components of nearly every product. Flavor production is
highly complex and uses raw materials from every imaginable
source. In addition, the flavor industry utilizes grape
and wine derived ingredients in a wide array of products.
For this reason, any product containing flavors requires
strict supervision and control.