Since I haven’t had a chance to blog much lately, I thought I’d give you a recipe for gluten-free matzo that I’ve developed for my gluten-free Jewish pals.
As you may or may not know, matzo is a cracker-like flatbread. It symbolizes the dough that the Israelites didn’t have time to leaven in their haste to flee Egypt in the great Exodus. Also, because it is also “poor man’s bread” (i.e., unleavened and made with simple ingredients), it serves as a reminder to be humble. It isn’t supposed to puff up, which symbolizes the “puffed up” egos of those who are corrupt and vain.
This recipe is quite easy and quick. One thing that is fabulous about gluten-free matzo is that it naturally conforms to the Passover guideline that the dough not be worked too much because it will develop the gluten. Ha! There is no gluten to develop! Score for the gluten-free grains!
Please note, though, that these are not appropriate for Orthodox celebrations: gluten-free grains are not allowed by the Orthodoxy because they don’t qualify for the authentic five species of grains designated as chametz, which were thought to be the grains used by the original Israelites who fled Egypt. But, they are just fine for gf folks who aren’t Orthodox.
These got a thumb’s up from D’Ahub and Girlfriend. They demolished each cracker as I removed it from the oven. They’re not fancy, but they do the trick!
Matzo (Matzah), Gluten-Free
Yield: 4 large matzo crackers
Note: this recipe uses my gf flour mix, Jeanne’s Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Mix (mix together and store in a cool, dark place):
1 1/4 C (170g) brown rice flour
1 1/4 C (205g) white rice flour
1 C (120g) tapioca flour
1 C (165g) sweet rice flour (also known as Mochiko or glutinous rice flour)
2 scant tsp. xanthan gum
(you can also use the gluten-free flour mixture (not baking mix) of your choice–just be sure it contains xanthan gum. Or, you can add 1/4 tsp. xanthan gum per cup of gluten-free flour. If you use bean flour, it will add a bean taste to the crackers. Also, please note that legumes are not allowed on Passover, which is another reason to not use bean flour)
- 3 1/4 cups (455 grams) Jeanne’s Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour Mix
- 1 1/4 cups (295 mls) water
- extra tapioca flour for rolling
- Place a pizza stone in a middle rack in the oven. Preheat oven to 475 degrees. If you don’t have a pizza stone, then just position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat it to 475 degrees.
- In a large bowl, place flour. Add water. With a spoon, mix the flour and water until combined. Complete the mixing process with your hands. The dough should be firm and tacky but not too sticky. Add a bit more flour or water, if needed, to create the right texture.
- Form dough into a large ball. Divide the dough into 4 pieces.
- Place a large piece of parchment paper on your rolling surface. Sprinkle the parchment paper with a little bit of tapioca flour. Place one of the balls of dough on the floured parchment paper. Sprinkle the top of the dough lightly with a bit more tapioca flour.
- With a rolling pin, roll dough as thinly as you can. It should look a bit transparent in places. Use more tapioca flour as needed to make sure the dough doesn’t stick to the rolling pin. With a fork, pierce the dough all over. This is called “docking.” This step is imperative, because matzo isn’t supposed to puff up. It’s supposed to be a flat cracker-like bread.
- Trim the parchment paper around the rolled out dough to about 1 inch more than the size of the dough all the way around. Place the parchment paper with the rolled dough on the pizza stone in the oven (or if not using a stone, place it on a baking sheet and place sheet in the oven). After 3 minutes, grasp the baking cracker with a pair of long tongs, and with your hands, pull the parchment paper out from underneath the cracker and discard the parchment paper. Bake for another 3 minutes. With a pair of tongs, turn over the baking cracker. Let bake for another 2 minutes, or until the edges become a bit brown. Total baking time is 8-9 minutes.
- Remove the cracker from the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool. To serve, turn it over so the docked side is face up–it will look like the commercial matzo.