Millions of Jews will celebrate a week of Passover beginning Friday, April 6th. The holiday commemorates the biblical story of the Exodus, in which the ancient Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt, after God inflicted the ten plagues upon the Egyptians.
As the story goes, the Jews had to leave Egypt immediately. They gathered up possessions and livestock but could not wait for the bread dough to rise, resulting in matzo, an unleavened flatbread. Thus, during the week of Passover, no leavened bread is eaten; only matzo (also spelled matzoh, matza and other variations).
So what if you want to celebrate Passover with matzo, but have gluten sensitivities?
Two brands are at the ready:
Yehuda Matza, imported from Israel, is certified gluten-free. It’s made from tapioca flour, potato starch, potato flour and egg yolks. It looks and crunches like conventional matzo, and the flavor is more than satisfactory. In fact, it has a bit of salt and even more flavor than wheat matzo, which is famously bland. The only nit: It’s more fragile and the boards break too easily. It has a two-year shelf life. Buy it online.
Gluten-free matzo. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.
Shemura Oat Matzo is made by a London rabbi, from gluten-free oat flour and water. We haven’t tasted it. It too is available online.
The Passover seder, the ritual feast celebrated on the first two nights of the holiday, is accompanied from beginning to end by a reading of the Haggadah (“telling”).
This year, participants at our seder are coming as witnesses of the Exodus. Each of us will provide a few minutes of insight into the desires, hopes, frustrations, fears and domestic lives of our characters. Participating will be will be Moses, Pharaoh, a nameless Jewish slave and an Egyptian, along with Rabbi Elazar ben Azariah, a first century scholar who appears giving commentary in the Hagadah.
We are going as a baker, faced with feeding the exodus masses without the time to leaven the bread. The result: matzo.