Wednesday, March 19, 2008

New Source for Gluten-Free Oat Matzo

I couldn't have been more thrilled when I got an e-mail from a gentleman from Lakewood Shmura Matzo Bakery in Lakewood, NJ, telling me his bakery was now producing certified gluten-free oat matzos right here in the United States. He graciously sent me two boxes of matzos to try out.

The only source of gluten-free oat matzo I knew about before this was a company in the UK which makes a good product (and gluten-free matzo meal, too!) but is costly due to being imported. The Lakewood product is half the price of the British matzo ($20 for three matzot, as opposed to as much as $40 for three matzot). So this year I'll get to save my money for other Passover treats.

The matzo from Lakewood Shmura Matzo Bakery has a hechsher from Rabbis Katz and Klein, both of Lakewood. It is made of certified gluten-free oat flour. The final product was tested by the Food Allergy Research & Resource Program (FARRP) in Nebraska, and the bakery sent me a copy of the report from FARRP, which indicated that there is no detectable gluten in the product (the product was rated "BLD" or "below limit of detection") which means this product is reliably safe for celiacs. Please note, however, that there are some people with celiac disease who find they cannot digest oats at all.

If you're wondering why gluten-free matzo is so expensive, let me explain. First, the oats have to be grown segregated from wheat and other gluten-containing grains. They have to be harvested and milled with separate equipment. Shmura matzo is handmade rather than made with machines. This is especially remarkable given the fact that matzo must be made within 18 minutes to be considered unleavened. In addition, a dough made of only oat flour is difficult to work with as it contains no gluten nor gluten substitutes. Of course, the entire process must be supervised to ensure the product is kosher... and not only kosher, but kosher for Passover - A much higher standard of kashrut. This is why shmura matzo is always expensive, and gluten-free shmura matzo even more so.

The Lakewood matzo is good. The bakery suggests reheating the matzoh "in a very low oven for a few minutes before eating, it takes a lot of the moisture out." I second this recommendation, as the matzo can be a little stale coming right out of the box. It is definitely "the bread of oppression" - Probably not a cracker I'd nosh on just for the fun of it. However it is perfect for fulfilling the mitzvah of eating matzo on Passover and would taste fine heaped with charoset and maror (and you can grind up leftovers in a food processor to make matzo meal!) The matzos are thicker than a normal wheat matzo, which the bakery says is to make them less likely to break during shipping, so they're not as crisp as thinner matzos. There is something about the taste that definitely says "matzo" to me, which made me happy since it reminds me of when I could eat regular matzo. All in all, I can recommend these without reservation. I think they are certainly equal with the matzo from the UK.

The Lakewood Shmura Matzo Bakery doesn't have a website, but you can order by faxing (732) 364-4250 with shipping and billing information. The product is $20.00 per box of 3 matzos, plus a flat $10.00 for shipping (I believe this cost covers as many boxes as you order). If you have questions call (732) 364-8757.

The matzo is also available in many kosher grocery stores.



Lakewood Shmura Matzo Bakery
Lakewood, NJ
Phone: (732) 364-8757
Fax: (732) 364-4250
Certified gluten-free oat shmura matzo. Available by mail order or in stores.

Gluten-Free Oat Matzos (U.K., distributed worldwide)

Made in the United Kingdon but available at local distributors or from Certified gluten-free oat shmura matzo, machine matzo and matzo meal available. No direct mail order on their website.


Gluten-Free Mock "Matzo"
Gluten-Free "Matzo Balls" Recipe
Potato Kneidlach: A Matzo Ball Alternative

The mock matzo recipe above does not fulfill the mitzvah of eating matzo, as it is not made from one of the five grains specified by Jewish law. But it's still tasty!

Remember, the widely available spelt matzo is NOT gluten-free. Spelt is a form of wheat and contains gluten, thus is not safe for people who are gluten-intolerant or have celiac disease.


Cindy said...

Wow, great news! Thanks for the info. Last year @ Passover the family tried hemp wraps, but many people (except me, of course) hated them :) I'll keep these in mind.

Shannon B. said...

Wow, that's some great information there on Matzo. I'm not jewish, but it was very interesting to read for sure :D I love finding out what goes into the process of making foods.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for the review of these more-affordable matzot! I have been considering trying to make oat matzot, but it seems so iffy...
I wish they had a website, but I guess I can just call them.
Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the information. Ironically, I was born and raised in Lakewood. I left after college to go to graduate school in Maryland. I've lived in So. Florida for almost 30 years! The growth of the Orthodox/Chasidic community came after I left in 1979. I'd love to try the matzo but whoa, the cost is almost prohibitive. I did copy your matzo ball recipe and will make them this week so I can perfect them by Pesach. I enjoy your blog. Thanks.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for this information; I will be ordering these for my son's school seder --there are a bunch of GF children in his class. I am so glad not to be ordering from the UK, you have saved me a bundle!


Anonymous said...

I'm quite slow in posting this but I found these at my local shoprite in brooklyn (ave I) for $5. they're not the hand-baked round sh'murah matzot but ~$5 for 15 machine baked (info here) seem much more sane to me, especially given all the *normal* expenses this time of year. i do miss the fun of handbaked matzoh (my favourite parts are the burnt ones) but this was easier on the wallet.

I should disclaim that I've not yet opened the boxes (i bought two) so I can't yet comment on their contents. No matzoh for me until seder.

ByTheBay said...

Penny - $5?!! That is an amazing steal! and at shoprite, too? i will have to see if i can find a shoprite that has them or if it's only in brooklyn that shoprite carries these. thanks for sharing your find!

Elana - I am so glad to be of service.

Cindy - Hemp wraps... hmmm.... Somehow that just doesn't say "Passover" to me - Hehe.

Faye - Let me know how the matzo ball recipe turns out.

Shannon - I, too, am fascinated with food production.

Anonymous - making matzo is indeed an iffy process. you have to use flour that's been watched from the time it was milled (?) and your house has to be kosher for passover first, and from the time the water hits the flour to the time it's pulled from the oven can't be more than 18 minutes... whew! i don't know if it's worth the effort but i might have to try sometime just because i like a challenge!

the chocolate lady מרת שאקאלאד said...

This is wonderful news! thanks!

~M said...

I found the same matzot as Penny, but for 6x as much...still, I bought them, as the kosher vendor told me that these Lakewood ones didn't exist. Hmm. The above brand also makes a gf kosher for Passover matzo meal, which is somewhat easier on the wallet, and made of ground oat matzot; generally, however, I substitute almond meal (and maybe a bit of Gefen's baking powder for Passover). I don't want to overdo the whole oats thing :)

I also bought a box of Knaidel (gf matzo balls). Since I know that most families doctor the recipe on the side of the [gluten-containing] matzo balls, I would appreciate tips on how to improve/doctor the recipe for knaidel.

Todah Rabbah (Thank you)!

Anonymous said...

We tried a box of the gluten free oat matzo from the Lakewood, NJ bakery and it was beyond terrible - completely burned on one side and a total ripoff. Does anyone have a recipe for oat matzo?

Pam in Michigan

~M said...

Did anyone else get glutenated by the English oat matzot? I probably had 1.5 sheets over 2 days. The weird thing is, I have eaten Bob's Red Mill certified gf rolled and steel-cut oats, and they don't bother me (although I made sure that they are mixed in with something else like meatloaf or that I only have a bit every so often if I am eating them as oatmeal). Has anyone else felt sick after eating these? Oy, do I dislike the Glutenator!

Thanks and chag sameach!

c said...

this is good news, specially for the oat but also for the organic spelt, and amazing that the shipping is included. This matzah business always ends up costing lots of $$$ so any savings are always welcome.

I wonder what you mean by "a little stale"? If the matzah is fresh from the same year it shouldn't taste stale. Eating stale grains is very toxic. If the matzah tastes stale return it and exchange it for fresh matzah.

ByTheBay said...

No, all gluten-free matzo has a texture that isn't as crisp as other matzos and therefore is stale-feeling, it has nothing to do with the age of the matzo.

Also, spelt matzo is NOT gluten-free.

Anonymous said...

This is a halachic fraud. If it has no gluten, it cannot become hametz, and it therefor cannot be matzoh. There is a principle, oness, rahamana patrei, iow, the torah does not demand the impossible. If you cannot digest gluten, you are absolved of the mitzvahm, and this is as real as the mitzvah itself.

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candice said...

I've always wondered the same thing about whether, in principle, if gluten-free bread were made in a chametz-free environment, it could be eaten on Pesach, as there's no chametz in it?

And by the way, I'm from England, and have only ever had Rabbi Kestenbaum's gluten-free oat matzah. It's really like eating cardboard (if you can imagine that)! It's just about bearable, to fulfil the mitzvah, but last year, for the first time, I couldn't even bring myself to have it as I had one taste of it on the 1st Seder night, and it tasted beyond stale. What a pity - I was beside myself that I couldn't have it, not even for the 1st Seder. I had bought a box in England and had taken it all the way to Israel specially as we were to be there for Pesach. I took it all the way back home with me and demanded a refund (£25-30 sterling for 1 box)! I hope I don't have the same problem this year. I'll keep you posted.