QUESTION: I have frequently been asked the appropriate Bracha to be recited before eating a wrap. For the uninitiated, a wrap is a thin piece of dough wrapped around a filler; which may be tuna, cheese, salad or anything else conceivable.
ANSWER: As background, it must be clarified that there are three basic categories of grain based foods.
1) Bread. Bread products are designed to be eaten as a staple food and are always HaMotzi.
2) The other extreme are products that are never HaMotzi, always Mezonos. This includes noodles, oatmeal and other items that have no similarity to bread.
3) The most difficult category to define is called Pas HaBa’ah b’Kisnin. The most accurate description of this category would be foods that bear a resemblance to bread, but are designated as something other than a staple food. This describes most cakes and pastries, as well as crackers and pretzels. Halacha prescribes that these foods are generally Mezonos, unless a significant enough quantity has been consumed that would generally constitute a meal. The big “Mezonos roll debate” revolves around the precise definition of this group, and may be the topic of a future discussion.
At first glance, a wrap would seem to be very similar to a Lafa/Eish Tanur, which is essentially a wide, pocket-less pita. Both are thin doughs that are designed to be filled for a sandwich-like meal. This would unquestionably render it a bread product, which is certainly HaMotzi. This is the position of HaRav Belsky Shlita.
However, other Poskim suggest that the extreme thinness of a wrap makes it more similar to a crepe or blintz shell, which are category #2 and Mezonos. Besides the fact that the crepe and blintz are both made from a fluid batter, the Achronim cite their lack of body as denying them “Tzuras HaPas” or “Turisa d’Nahama,” the Hebrew and Aramaic terms respectively for the “appearance of bread.” While the precise definition of this term is very elusive, it seems that it is a prerequisite to be considered a bread product. Therefore, if a wrap lacks this “appearance,” it may be ejected from the #1 classification. This is the position of HaRav Bodner and others.
A problem with this viewpoint is that there are minimal sources for downgrading a pastry manufactured from a viscous dough based on its appearance. Almost all the authorities who discuss the topic are exclusively relating to a batter. While a liquid batter that is baked becomes HaMotzi, this upgrade requires “Tzuras HaPas.” It is questionable if we can downgrade a dough based solely on its thin look.
Furthermore, no one can say with certainty what exactly defines the “appearance of bread”; however, it seems that Matza and Lafa have it. While it is true that the Poskim do mention a degree of thickness as one of the factors, to say that a wrap has crossed the invisible line that divides them is a judgment call.
Additionally, those who allow making Mezonos on a wrap generally take into account these factors and rule it a category 3 rather than a 2. So if you are eating a wrap for lunch, it is likely that you would have to say HaMotzi on it, even if it is not a pure bread. Since it is eaten as a meal, and together with the side dishes is a significant quantity, it is raised to the status of a HaMotzi product.
In conclusion, while it would be ideal to make HaMotzi on a piece of regular bread first, in my opinion a wrap always requires a Bracha of HaMotzi and one should not say Mezonos on it. However, if one did say Mezonos, the Poskim conclude that he has fulfilled his obligation ex post facto, even if it was the incorrect Bracha.