Did you know that it’s assur to make milchig breads even if everything is kosher?
Every good mashgiach can tell you about the times he wakes up in the middle of the night with a feeling. A bad feeling about a certain factory or production. Whenever this happens to me, I make sure to check it out the next morning. I’ve learned that it’s important to trust the siyata d’Shmaya Hashem sends us via our gut feelings.
One time, in the dead of the night, I startled out of my sleep. My house was very dark and very quiet; everyone was fast asleep. It was just me and the nighttime noises surrounding the house. For some odd reason, one of the companies under our hashgachah suddenly popped into my mind. The owner was a French bread guy — a pretty easy client, actually. He always listened to anything we said, and didn’t play around too much with ingredients, unlike other companies who tried to switch things around. In fact, he had never changed his ingredients since the day he had signed up for our hashgachah.
So what was this strange, weird feeling in the middle of the night? I didn’t know, but I had a strong sensation that I have to visit his factory. Production there is from two a.m. till ten a.m. If that sounds strange, consider this: How do you think stores get fresh bread every morning? Yes, the bakeries work all night to provide you with fresh bread every day! After that, there’s just packaging and cleaning up, there is no more preparation of the actual bread.
This factory was quite a distance from my home. But I got up anyway and drove out into the still night.
As I drove, the headlights lighting the way in the thick darkness, I pondered my strange feeling. I couldn’t explain it, I just trusted my gut. When I pulled up to the factory, it was business as usual. I parked the car and strode towards the production area.
The sight that met my eyes was almost too impossible to believe. Our loyal client’s staff was in the middle of making a production run of breads… bearing our hashgachah… adding chunks of cheese into the breads! They tried to explain that they were making the breads as a sample for a particular client, but they clearly didn’t know much about halachah.
Did you know that it’s assur to make milchig breads even if everything is kosher? (Let’s leave aside for the moment that in this case, the cheese wasn’t kosher.) It is a gezeirah from Chazal because they were concerned people would unknowingly eat the milchig bread with meat (after all, they are accustomed to bread being pareve). In order to make milchig baked goods, the product must look different than the pareve product — which is the reason cheese bourekas are triangular instead of rectangular, like potato bourekas. This is not a commonly known halachah, but not being aware of it can cause big problems.
I was grateful that Hashem woke me to catch the production run before it was too late, and I thanked Him for once again guiding my every step in trying to ensure Yidden can trust the hashgachah on the things they eat.
Some breads that are not certified kosher are dairy… and they can even be real treif. Some companies use animal fats to help extract the breads from the pans… which is bassar v’chalav, meat mixed with milk, and as we discussed previously, might even be assur b’hanaah, too!
Whey protein (which is milchig, as it is extracted from milk) is very commonly used in bakeries as dough conditioner, especially for bagels.
(Originally featured in Mishpacha Jr., Issue 884)
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