Passover is celebrated in many Jewish homes by having a Seder. Seder means order, and we read the Passover story in a special order from the book called a Haggadah. Haggadah means “to tell” and we tell the story of our ancestors, and remind ourselves that we are now a free people.
One of the underlying themes of Passover is order. This order comes natural to us as spring is in the air and we prepare to do our Spring Cleaning. As we clean our garage, our shed and the back of the crawl space in the basement, we should also consider cleaning up our insides as well. Think about what you are eating that is not doing your body any good and get rid of it. You will feel clean and clear for spring. As I mentioned last week, this may take a bit of effort, but it will be worth it.
There are different parts of the Seder. During the Seder, we eat traditional and symbolic foods that remind us of the Jewish people and their adversity. One of the things that we do is to dip a spring vegetable into salt water. The vegetable is a sign of spring, or rebirth, and the salt water represent the tears of the slaves. We eat bitter herbs, to remind us of the bitterness of slavery. We eat a special mixture, called Charoset, which is made of apples, nuts, wine, and cinnamon that reminds us of the mortar from which the slaves made their bricks. We also eat Matzah. Matzah is unleavened bread, made simply from flour and water and cooked very quickly. The Matzah reminds us of when the Jews were fleeing from Pharaoh and they had to gather their belongings quickly and did not have time for their bread to rise. However, as the Jews were fleeing, Pharaoh changed his mind, and sent his army after the people to bring them back. G-d parted the Red Sea for the Jews to cross, and as soon as they were safely to the other side, the waters closed on the soldiers, drowning them all. The Jewish people were saved.
Again, the symbolism from slavery to freedom is uncanny in our journey through a gluten-free lifestyle. We were slaves to bread, to pain, to medicating and now we are free. Unfortunately, a diet of Matzah, which is made of wheat flour and water that has been cooked in under 18 minutes under the observation of a Rabbi, is not something that we can do at any cost. To purchase gluten-free Oat Matzah, it will run you about $25 per box (here’s a link). So, I decided to make my own. And although the gluten-free Oat Matzah that I make is not ‘kosher for Passover,’ I feel that it is the best we can do without having to buy it (it’s hard to find Kosher for Passover oat flour, but potato starch and Kosher for Passover almond flour are both available). Make it in less than 18 minutes! This recipe is adopted from About.com gluten-free cooking.
Gluten Free Oat Flour Matzah
2/3 cup finely ground, certified gluten free oat bran
2/3 cup potato starch
2 T almond flour
¾ t salt
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup water
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Place ½ of your oat bran in a coffee grinder and pulverize to a powder, repeat with other half.
In a large bowl whisk to combined oat bran, potato starch, almond meal and salt. Transfer to standing mixer.
Add olive oil and add water and beat for 1 minute.
Use a spatula to scrape the dough onto a cutting board sprinkled lined with an 8 inch piece of parchment paper. Knead dough to form a ball. Divide dough into 5 equal portions.
Place a dough ball in the center of the parchment paper on a cutting board and form into a disc.
Use a rolling pin to roll the dough in a circle of about 6 inches in diameter.
Use a fork or meat tenderizer to prick holes in the dough and sprinkle with more oat bran.
Cut excess parchment paper from around the dough and carefully lift the dough with the bottom sheet onto cake pan.
Bake for 8 minutes. Matzah will be lightly browned on the edges and crispy.
Repeat with each dough portion.