I’ve been wondering, do granola and granola bars need to be Pas Yisroel?
Rabbi Hanoka responds:
First, let me explain what falls into the category of “pas” and is therefore subject to the classification of Pas Yisroel. According to most poskim, dough made from the five grains (wheat, oat, spelt, rye and barley) and then baked, and would satisfy a person as a meal (if enough is consumed) is considered “pas” and would require one to bentch Birkas HaMazon.1 This includes bread and cookies, cakes, pizza, etc.
On the other hand, stalks of wheat or oats have the brocha of Ha’adama. When deshelled or cooked, they lose some of their appearance (like oatmeal) and have the brocha of Mezonos, but they always carry the brocha achrona of Al HaMichya, regardless of how much is consumed. Because these foods always carry the after brocha of Al HaMichya, thus they are exempt from Pas Yisroel.2
Granola is made from solid ingredients (as opposed to flour), such as oat flakes, nuts, fruits and flavorings, which are stuck together by using hot honey, malt syrup and liquid sugar first (in the case of the granola bar are pressed together) and then dried in an oven, thus not having the ruling of a dough. In addition it does not carry the appearance of bread, as it is made of bits and pieces and thus never requires one to bentch Birkas HaMazon regardless of how much is consumed.
In terms of the question of Bishul Akum, granola does not require Bishul Yisroel for numerous reasons, including that it is not eaten as a meal, but rather as a snack food, and is not a food that can be classified as being of a royal nature. (It is not the norm to eat it with bread, a person does not invite one’s friend to come over just to eat it, etc.)3
1. Yoreh Deah siman 112 seif 6 and Pri-Chodosh, end of the Siman.
2. Shulchan Oruch HaRav, Birchas HaNehenin, Perek 1, seif 8 & Perek 2, seif 15.
3. Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah 113 seif 1 and Rambam Hilchos Machalos Asuros perek 17 halacha 15