Thankfully, I was young enough to think it was an adventure the year my mother made fresh gefilte fish for Passover. By fresh fish, did I mention live fish swimming in the bathtub in the only bathroom in the house? The stuff in a jar was back the following year.
But those kitchen experiment genes don’t fall far from the tree, so here I am trying to master beat-the-clock homemade GF matzo the week before Passover. Using GF flours is a bit of a challenge, but nothing in the realm of using live fish. I’m taking the easier road for sure.
These matzo adhere to the 18 minute rule – after 18 minutes the flour and water begin to ferment and therefore it becomes leavened bread. I didn’t make up the rule - really. And while it seems daunting – it can be done if you can get your oven hot enough and your dough thin enough and have everything ready to go once you start the clock.
My first batch, baked at 450 degrees was still chewy in the center. That actually made me snicker a bit because if you put cookie dough in the oven at 450 for 12 minutes it would be the local fire crew removing them from the charred oven.
The second batch was better – rolled much thinner and I popped the heat up once they were in the oven. Of course, 475 degrees in a tiny apartment kitchen was a bit daunting as I waited for the fire alarms to scream. Fortunately – starting with a very clean oven helps and every fan in the place was running on high.
If I was going to do this regularly – or if I was going to make GF crackers more frequently (which I might after this) I would buy a pasta attachment for my Kitchen Aid Mixer to roll that dough even thinner. Or if you have an Atlas Pasta machine hanging around, put it to another good use and roll out cracker dough.
The formula for matzo is simple and you can use whatever flours make you happy. Read this to learn more about what is ok for Passover and what is not. The range is much more broad than I once knew about. Although I didn’t use rice flour, I certainly could have. White rice flour would probably have added a bit of crisp to the whole thing and made that first batch less chewy.
I must admit, I felt a little bit proud making homemade GF matzo. Even with it not being kosher for Pesach, I feel like I was making a decent start to a GF Passover seder.
Happy Pesach, people.
Next week – Easter chocolate (kidding, ok sort of, but not really).
Homemade Gluten Free Matzo
- 8 ounces of GF flours including starch
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 ounces of warm (almost hot) water
Preheat oven to 450 and get two sheet pans ready – nonstick or lined with parchment that can take high heat.
Using a whisk, mix up the flours, starch and salt in a bowl. Begin the timer for 18 minutes and add some of the water. Using a fork, mix quickly until the dough comes together. I used almost the entire 4 ounces of water, but add a little and then add more just in case your flour is feeling slightly moist that day.
As soon as it comes together, grab the dough and quickly knead it for a few turns. Divide in half and then halves again. I rolled them into balls and placed them on a parchment piece that I cut for the baking sheet.
Using plastic wrap, cover the dough balls and smash them flat. Using a rolling-pin, quickly flatten them into the best rounds you can – they won’t be evenly round unless you have magic rolling skills. Don’t worry about that. As soon as they are as thin as you can make the dough – pull off the plastic wrap (carefully) and dock them with a fork.
Work quickly! Do the same for the other dough balls. Grab the parchment and place the whole thing on the baking sheets and get them in the oven. If you’ve worked quickly enough you will have about 10-11 minutes left. Rotate them halfway through but keep an eye on them. Some people find they bake in about half the remaining time, but I needed the entire time.
For one batch that was a little thick, I flipped them over halfway as well as rotating the baking sheets.
Let them cool completely.
Matzo! Not kosher for Passover, but nonetheless – matzo you can eat.
Notes: I used 4 ounces of potato starch, 2 ounces of almond flour and 2 ounces of oat flour. But use what you like and make sure to include a bit of starch.
- For more matzo making at home (not GF), my friend Winnie of Healthy Green Kitchen has a great post here.
- And for Passover treats, cookies or dessert, these Flourless Espresso Shot Cookies are terrific and if you want some nontraditional coconut macaroons with lemon, click on the link for the recipe and a funny little story on the way to one of my childhood Seders.