Matzo crackers play an important role in the celebration of Passover, and for those who live with celiac disease or other gluten intolerances, gluten-free matzo crackers can make the perfect substitute. The good news is: some manufacturers do make them. The bad news is: they aren't easy to find and they don't usually taste like traditional matzo crackers.
Matzo crackers are actually a form of unleavened or flat bread. Unleavened means that the bread is made without a leaving agent such as yeast. This bread or cracker is best known as a kosher food eaten during the Jewish observance of Passover. During the observance of Passover, leaven is also removed from the home. This tradition marks the time when Moses led the Jews from Egypt in such a hurry that their bread didn't have time to rise. On a spiritual level, the cleaning out of leaven from the home also symbolizes the removal of sin from the household.
The recipe for matzo is quite simple. The two primary ingredients are flour and water. However, for a celiac it's not quite as simple as it is when converting most recipes, especially if they are trying to keep the matzo kosher. In fact, it grows more complicated for an observant Jew who has celiac disease because not all grains are kosher. The five kosher grains include:
Of these five grains, all contain gluten except for oats, and while oats are naturally gluten-free, gluten cross-contamination often occurs in the growing and processing of oats. The up side is there are certified gluten-free oats available on the market today. Such oats are not only grown and processed separately from wheat, but they are also tested to confirm that they don't contain any gluten. Matzo crackers made from certified gluten-free oats are the only kosher option open to those who wish to celebrate Passover but cannot ingest gluten.
Make Your Own Gluten-Free Matzo
If you can't eat gluten and want to eat matzo crackers, one option is to make your own gluten-free matzo using a gluten-free all-purpose flour and to follow your own family recipe. However, if you haven't tried your hand at gluten-free baking, it is probably best to use a gluten-free matzo recipe that's been tried and proven. Here are a few recipes to get you started:
- Jules Gluten Free Matzo: uses all-purpose gluten free flour and a little almond flour.
- Recipe for Matzah Crackers - Gluten Free - pareve: This recipe is made using potato flour and ground almonds.
- Gluten-Free Non-Gebrokts Matzah Crackers: Made with potato starch, almond meal and a little flax seed.
- Gluten Free Passover Matzah Crackers: Made with soaked almonds, almond meal and other gluten-free ingredients.
Where to Find Gluten-Free Matzo Crackers
Whether you're a Jewish person suffering from celiac disease or a non-Jew looking for a great tasting cracker that's gluten free, it takes a little hunting to find kosher, gluten-free matzo crackers. Still, they are available. Before you start your hunt for the right gluten-free product, talk with your local bakery and see if they would be interested in making a gluten-free variety of matzo crackers using certified gluten-free oats. If you have no luck locally, gluten-free matzo is available online, though it is not usually available year round. Most often you can find it as the time of Passover draws near.
Here are a couple of resources that allow you to order kosher Matzo online, though be sure to contact the manufacturer directly with your specific questions: