In anticipation of Passover, I thought I would re-publish my matzo recipe for those of you who are new to my blog and my newsletter. There has been some controversy around the gluten-free status, high cost and availability of oat matzo, so save money, aggravation, worry and waste (this recipe tastes awesome!), and just make it yourself! These great saltine-like crackers are wonderful for Jewish holidays or any time of year, for that matter!
During Passover, foods containing barley, oats, rye, spelt, or wheat are forbidden, except the unleavened bread known as Matzo, which actually must be made with one of the aforementioned ingredients in order to duplicate the ingredients used by the Hebrews making bread in haste when fleeing Egypt.
Matzo is the oldest and most well-known (edible) symbol of the exodus of the Jews from Egyptian slavery. According to the Bible, Aaron and Moses warned of 10 plagues sent to cause Pharaoh to free the Jews. When the final plague killed all the first-born sons of Egypt but passed over the Jewish houses, Pharaoh finally released the Jews from their bondage in Egypt. However, they were forced to leave in such great haste that their bread dough did not have time to rise, leaving them with what we now know as “matzo” (matzah, matza, matzoth, matzot), or unleavened bread.
While matzo was the humble food of slaves, it also recalls a great moment of freedom. During Passover, special foods like matzo are eaten to symbolize both the bitterness of slavery and the sweetness of freedom.
- GF “Matzo-Style” Crackers
Gluten-free participants in Passover rites have typically not been so free to share in this great tradition, however. Matzo is manufactured for Passover using wheat flour; thus, we gluten-free’ers must think outside the proverbial cracker box to explore safe and tasty options. Fortunately, there are now some pretty tasty gluten-free ”Mazo-Style” cracker alternatives available, and you can always make your own!
Like any other wheat flour recipe we might long to enjoy again, devising a gluten-free solution is as simple as: modify, substitute and perfect using gluten-free ingredients. You will be pleasantly surprised not only at the crunchy lightness of this recipe, but also at its simplicity! Since matzo must be made and baked within 18 minutes to prevent any leavening in the dough, you have no time to dawdle with intricate details. This 5 ingredient recipe takes only 20 minutes from start to finish!
(In case you’re looking beyond Matzo for Passover recipes, I thought this one from the LA Times was interesting, advocating nuts as a Passover ingredient rather than traditional matzo. Hmmm – nuts also happen to be GF – I like it!)
- 1 cup Jules Gluten Free™ All-Purpose Flour
- 1/2 cup gluten-free oat flour (or may use almond meal/flour)*
- 1/2 tsp. sea salt or kosher salt
- 4 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
- 3-5 Tbs. water
- cooking oil spray
- coarse kosher salt or sea salt to sprinkle on tops
*Note: gluten-free oat flour or almond meal/flour is easy to make at home using this simple recipe, made even easier by using my Jules Gluten Free™ Certified Gluten-Free Instant Oats (they’re smaller and finer and easier to grind into flour)!
Preheat oven to 450° F (static) 425° F (convection).
Use a food processor or mix by hand in a large bowl: Jules Gluten Free™ All Purpose Flour, oat flour and salt. Slowly add in the liquid while pulsing or stirring with a fork. If the dough is too dry, add additional water by the 1/2 teaspoonful in order to get dough wet enough to form a ball but not be sticky. Depending on the additional flour you use — oat or almond — you will need more or less water.
Form a ball with the dough and pat out onto a pastry mat or clean counter dusted with Jules Gluten Free™ All Purpose Flour. Pat with your fingers to flatten the dough, then roll gently in each direction until the dough is the thickness of a saltine cracker. Cut to desired size and shape, lift with a bench scraper or spatula, and place onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Prick each matzo in lines with a fork. Spray tops with cooking oil to help the cracker lightly brown. Sprinkle with additional coarse kosher salt, if desired. Use remnant dough to make more matzo.
Bake for 10 minutes, or just until slightly browned.