Gluten-Free Communion Bread

1 cup G-F flour (I use a maize/tapioca/rice blend)

pinch of salt

2 tablespoons shortening (I use vegetable oil or olive oil)

1/4 teaspoon guar gum or xanthan gum (optional: may improve texture)

Stir together and add enough water to make a good dough. Roll out into a thin circle on a greased baking tray. Cut lightly into squares with a pizza cutter or knife so it will break easily. Bake at 350F (175C) about 5-7 minutes until it is cooked through. The GF flour won’t turn brown. When cool break into pieces. This should be used fresh and gets too chewy when frozen and thawed.

“Gluten Free” means it has no wheat, rye, barley, or oats. Other allergies? Plain rice flour does not make a nice bread. It’s tasteless and too chewy. Try a combination of at least two gluten-free flours like maize, rice, soy or tapioca flours.

This recipe can be used with regular flour for a communion bread that is not gluten-free.

Other GF substitutions: For communion you want something that is unleavened (no yeast, baking powder, etc). Sugar aids this leavening process so some Christians feel communion bread should not have sweetener. I’ve seen GF communion bread recipes which include honey and I would avoid them for this reason. In the Bible leaven is a symbol of sin and the bread is a symbol of Christ. Since Christ had no sin and used unleavened bread at the last supper, we use unleavened bread. Christ undoubtedly used bread made from wheat because that was their standard flour. For those who can’t have wheat, a gluten-free flour doesn’t destroy that symbolism. The above recipe seems like a good substitute.

I have recently discovered a cracker that works for communion bread. It is CeresOrganics Rice Crackers with the Sea Salt flavor. It contains only rice flour and salt. If you check labels carefully, you may discover other GF crackers that work. Be sure to check labels each time as companies sometimes change ingredients.

Sometimes, however, you find you are in a communion service in a church that is not prepared for people who can’t have wheat. You probably have to quietly pass the bread by without taking any. If you know ahead of time you’ll be attending a communion service, you can put a piece of plain rice cake or cracker in your pocket or purse. Remember, it is the heart that counts. You can remember Christ in your heart even if you can’t eat the bread. On the other hand, a church that is ready to provide GF communion bread can be a blessing to those who need a GF diet.