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Thursday
Sep052019

What is the Bracha for Quinoa?

A collection of relevant halachos regarding the Brachos on food in connection to the daily Rambam of this week – Hilchos Brachos, from AskTheRav.com & Halacha2Go.com.

By Horav Yosef Yeshaya Braun, Mara D’asra and member of the Crown Heights Beis Din

The bracha for multigrain bread

With various types of multigrain bread on the market, the question arises which bracha rishona and bracha acharona should be said when eating them.

Hamotzi is recited on bread which contains one of the chameishes minei dagan (five types of grain): wheat, barley, rye, oats and spelt. When any of these five grains is added to kemach kitniyos (flour of some other type) to make bread, hamotzi is still recited, regardless of what the ratio is.

However, in order to bentch birchas hamazon (the after-blessing for bread) the chameishes minei dagan must comprise at least one sixth of the mixture, and at least a kezayis must be eaten. In fact, some opinions maintain that one must eat an amount containing an entire kezayis of dagan itself. Thus, in a case where only one sixth of the mixture consisted of dagan, and assuming that the dagan is evenly dispersed throughout the mixture, one would have to eat an entire pras, which equals six measures of a kezayis—and eat it all within the short time span known as kdei achilas pras, which could be as little as three or four minutes, a difficult task. Since this matter is in doubt, al hamichyah should be recited unless an entire pras (or an equivalent amount relative to the percentage of dagan) is eaten.

In a case where the chameishes minei dagan are less than a sixth of the mixture, it’s a machlokes (halachic dispute) whether to say al hamichyah or borei nefashos. That being the case, we should avoid eating this “bread” by itself. One way to sidestep the problem is by eating first a kezayis of regular bread (made from dagan), and thus conclude with birchas hamazon. A second option is to eat this kind of “bread” along with both a kezayis of food after which we recite al hamichyah as well as a kezayis of food after which we recite borei nefashos.

The exception to the rules laid out above is when rice flour is added to wheat flour; because the rice tends to cling to the wheat and bring out its taste, so as long as the bread retains the taste of wheat, we recite hamotzi and bentch birchas hamazon. (Halacha2go.com #493)

Short Q&A’s

•  What is the bracha for Quinoa?

Ha’adama and Borei Nefashos, unless pureed and unrecognizable where it would be Shehakol.

While quinoa is technically classified by many as a grain, it is not one of the “five grains” (wheat, barley, spelt, oats and rye), nor is it considered a semi-grain like Orez which is Mezonos. (There is a dispute whether this refers to rice or millet). Thus, it is Ha’adama.

• What is the bracha on guacamole (avocado dip)?

If in liquid form, Shehakol. If not crushed completely to become a liquid and pieces are noticeable, Ha’etz.

•  What bracha does one say before and after eating rice cakes?

The bracha rishona is Ha’adama.
The bracha acharona is Borei Nefashos.

Even though when eating rice, since there is a doubt regarding the bracha, one should eat them in a Seuda (or make a bracha on a piece of Mezonos and Ha’adama), there is a distinction between rice cakes and rice, because rice cakes are not cooked but rather puffed and therefore they wouldn’t be Mezonos (Seder Birkas Hanehnin 1:8).

If you want to be Machmir, you can also make a bracha Shehakol – and have in mind to cover the rice cake.

•  Which bracha do we say on packaged apple sauce?

The bracha for applesauce is Ha’etz. However, if it’s pureed and has no recognizable pieces of fruit, such as commercial applesauce, there is a Machlokes as to its bracha—and therefore the Halacha is that one should recite Shehakol. There is a tradition that the Rebbe Rayatz recited Ha’etz on applesauce. However, it is not clear whether this was totally pureed or not. Likewise, in the brachos guide reviewed by Rav Marlow A”H it says that applesauce is Ha’etz. To avoid any issue, it is recommended that one should recite Ha’etz on a piece of fruit first.*

•  Which bracha should I say on homemade ices made from 100% grape juice?

There are different opinions. In practice one should say Shehakol.

Nonetheless, it’s best to add a large amount of other liquids to avoid the shailah. The most difficult aspect is the final bracha, since Borei Nefashos cannot cover an Al Hagefen, especially as some poskim maintain that the bracha of m’ein shalosh, Al Hagefen, is d’oraisa, biblicaly mandated.*

•  I made Challah using a majority of milk with about half to a full cup of water. Is it Hamotzei or Mezonos?

It would be Mezonos, since there is more other liquid than water.

However, besides the question of its bracha, there is a serious Kashrus problem here. Chazal forbade baking Challah (or any type of bread or pastry) with milk out of fear that one might come to eat it with meat, unless the shape is changed or it is made in a very small quantity designed to be eaten at one time or event. If this is not the case, then it is forbidden to eat this bread (even by itself).*

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