- Question: [Sunday, 19th Marcheshvan, 5783]
Which blessing should be recited over bread croutons Mezonos or Hamotzi? Is there any difference whether I will be eating it in a salad or soup?
All store bought bread croutons are Mezonos due to one of several reasons [1) either due to being initially being manufactured for this purpose to eat as croutons, which is the case by all store bought croutons, or 2) due to it being deep fried versus baked, or 3) due to its ingredients defining it as Pas Haba Bekisnin]. The only case that bread croutons eaten plain or in salad would be Hamotzi is if they were made at home through toasting slices of bread and turning them into croutons.
Hamotzi croutons eaten in soup: If homemade Hamotzi croutons are placed into soup, then if entered into a Keli Rishon [i.e. the actual pot of soup], then its blessing is Mezonos due to doubt. If, however, the croutons are placed into a Keli Sheiyni [i.e. a typical bowl of soup] then they remain Hamotzi unless it disintegrates.
Explanation: There are several factors affect whether the blessing over bread croutons is Mezonos or Hamotzi, including:
- The ingredients: If the dough is very spicy, or sweet, or was made with majority fruit juice then it is defined as Pas Hab Bekisnin, which is always Mezonos unless you set a meal over it.
- The manufacturing-Baked versus cooked: While baked dough has the potential of becoming the blessing of Hamotzi, depending on his ingredients as stated above, cooked dough always receives the blessing of Mezonos. Now, deep-fried is the same as cooked, and hence if the croutons were manufactured through baking then they can potentially be Hamotzi, while if they were manufactured through oil and deep frying, then they are always Mezonos.
- The intent of the initial dough and baking: Even if the dough is not Pas Haba Bekisnin, and is baked, it still can potentially remain the blessing of Mezonos. This depends on what the purpose of this dough and baking was. If it was kneaded and baked for the purpose of eating it as regular bread, and only after it’s baking into bread was it broken down to small pieces for the sake of croutons then it retains the blessing of Hamotzi, just as it was in its bread state. If, however, it was initially manufactured for the sake of soup or salad croutons, and that was the intent of the kneading and baking, then it is no different than pretzels, which receive the blessing of Mezonos.
- Entering it into soup: The law is that only baked dough receives the blessing of Hamotzi/Birchas Hamazon as opposed to cooked dough. Now, what is law regarding if a baked product was then cooked? So, if the baked product that is being cooked is a Kezayis in size then it retains the blessing of Hamotzi/Birchas Hamazon. If, however, the baked item being cooked is less than a Kezayis in size then it is a dispute as to what blessing it should receive and we rule that Safek Brachos Lihakel and hence one is to say Mezonos and Al Hamichyah on such bread. However, a Baal Nefesh should be Machmir to eat it within a meal if they contain the appearance of bread and he will be eating enough to make him full. Accordingly, if the Hamotzi croutons are placed into a Keli Rishon, they are defined as cooked and subject to the above debate and conclusion of Mezonos blessing. However, a Keli Sheiyni is not defined as cooked, and hence only if the croutons are left inside the liquid long enough for them to disintegrate are they defined as Mezonos, otherwise they remain Hamotzi.
Sources: See regarding bread croutons: Piskeiy Teshuvos 168:11 and Madrich of Eida that the ones they make are always Mezonos unless do Kevius Seuda, and the question is only by home made; See regarding if Hamotzi croutons are placed into soup: Piskeiy Teshuvos 168:15 See regarding cooked bread: Admur Seder 2:12-13; SHU”A 168:18-21; Ketzos Hashulchan 48:11-12; M”B 168:55; Shevet Halevi 7:23; Piskeiy Teshuvos 168:15; See regarding status of Keli Sheiyni: Admur Seder 2:14; 168:18; Ketzos Hashulchan 48:13