KOSHER RECIPES FOR GLUTEN-FREE LIVING
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.
GLUTEN-FREE MATZO RESOURCES
TO ORDER MATZO:
Lakewood Shmura Matzo Bakery
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 Kosher.com. 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.