Cooking for God: Gluten-Free Communion Wafers


In my third, and final installment of Cooking for God I’m going back to my roots. My Protestant — with some Catholic relatives and summer camps thrown in — and a little bit agnostic, roots. Which is why it wasn’t my first thought when I was diagnosed with celiac, but eventually I got around to, “What the heck do people who need to consume the body of Christ do in times like this?” Coming from the Bible Belt I just assumed you suffered on a weekly basis. You know, for your sins. But it turns out there are celiacs who pray to more than the porcelain bowl, and I’ve heard rumors about these people making their own host. They take it to their local parish, and voila, they’re back in the game. So I gave it a try.

It’s actually an incredibly simple recipe that only requires that you own something that can really whisk up olive oil and water. I suggest my favorite latte tool. Or milk frother, or whatever you want to call a battery operated mini-whisk. Singing, “Oh, Holy Night” as you froth is totally optional, but recommended.

After you loosely mix in the gluten-free flour, you’re going to want to lay that dough out on a cookie sheet. I find the best way to flatten gluten-free dough is either with a well-oiled spatula, or a sheet of parchment paper pressed lightly into the dough. Either way, it’s not totally easy so you might want to say a prayer before you try to get a nice thin layer of dough on the cookie sheet.

To make sure you can get some good cracker action, perforate the dough with a fork or a knife (I used a knife) so you’ve got a lovely pattern like this. Then you’re just breaking off wafers and ready to have your own gf service right there in your kitchen.

This is my son, who devoured these crackers, aka, wafers. He’s looking over his shoulder to make sure no one from his future Jewish pre-school is watching as he enjoys washing away his sins.

Please note, I did not force any man or woman of the cloth to bless my crackers. That would be sacrilegious.

Here’s how you make your own communion wafers.

Gluten-Free Communion Wafers

adapted from Be a Bree

Prep time: 5 minutes Cook time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup water
Dash of salt
2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F
  2. Combine the olive oil, water, and salt. Whisk until it’s near-frothy white.
  3. Loosely mix the flour to the blend. Don’t over mix, and make sure the dough is the same consistency of a drier batch of cookie dough.
  4. Grease a cookie sheet well, as this stuff sticks.
  5. Roll the dough flat, as thin as pie crust.
  6. Once the dough is flat, make incisions that will allow to break the dough apart into crackers.
  7. Bake for about 20 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool then break apart.

Makes: 20 wafers/crackers

15 Comments

Filed under Celiac Disease, Recipes, Uncategorized

15 responses to “Cooking for God: Gluten-Free Communion Wafers

  1. Cannon Law requires that the communion wafer contain wheat and that communion wine be alcoholic and made from grapes. There are Benedictine nuns making extremely low-gluten wafers that meet the Church’s requirements and low in gluten enough (hopefully) to allow celiac Catholics to receive them. You buy them and take them to your church and hope the priest is cool with using them. And that he doesn’t get them mixed up with the other hosts. Or you can choose to take just the wine species, nicely cross-contaminated with the backwash of gluten-host-chewing communicants.

    In 1995, the Vatican issued a ruling that read, “Given the centrality of the celebration of the Eucharist in the life of the priest, candidates for the priesthood who are affected by celiac disease or suffer from alcoholism or similar conditions may not be admitted to holy orders.” That one was amemded a few years later. But, seriously….

  2. Nicole

    As a half-lapsed Catholic, I find this amazing. And hilarious!

  3. Jen

    Seriously, stuff like this is why I left the Catholic church. If I’m ever stuck on a plane next to a priest, I plan to ruin his day (politely) by bickering about celiac disease and alcoholism as pertains to transubstantiation. If it actually BECOMES the body and blood of Christ once I swallow it, wouldn’t I not get sick or feel the effects of alcohol? Anyhoo, I do take my own crackers to our evangelical church once a month when they do their own loosey-goosey version of communion. Maybe I’ll try making these.

  4. @Lisa. Coming from a MethodistPresbyterianWhatever background, we don’t even have wine. It’s Welch’s all the way, baby. I have to say I am surprised at the specificity of the Catholic business. Although, should I be?

    Thanks everybody! Enjoy some gfree wafers.

  5. My Methodist church has a separate station/tray with gluten free communion. We just use crackers, though, for convenience.

  6. kathy

    At our Episcopal church south of Denver Colorado, we have actual scaramental gluten free host that is used in the mass. …. We have gluten free goodiez at out coffee hours!

  7. As a pastor of a bold, traditional doctrine, contemporary practice, Lutheran Church, the Lord’s Supper is celebrated twice per month and we put a very small silver cup in center of tray and let the celiac-smitten pick it out from the cup themselves. but 20x as expensive, so i was looking for a recipe and maybe use only gluten free for whole congregation. Sounds possible in small quantities, but maybe too much for 1500/month. thanks, for experimenting and sharing though, we’ll try your recipe. Blessings

  8. cgl

    Worked great. To make it easier, I rolled the dough out on a piece of parchment with a rolling pin, scored it, then transferred the rolled dough on parchment to the pan. It broke apart nicely. I scored some too big and was able to cut them before they were all the way cool into triangles – symbol of the trinity – so I did not have to throw them out. Low cost easy way to have them for folks who need them. They taste fine – better than the standard white cardboard-like round hosts. Will freeze to use as we go as we have a small congregation.

  9. PHAT

    In case you are a Catholic Celiac, the following link gives you a Canon Law compliant version of gluten free Hosts…. i.e. communion wafers.
    http://glutenfreehosts.com/index.html

    And in case anyone wants to learn more about actual Catholic Church teaching I can recommend phatmass.com. You will find a qualified group of theologians with a tongue in cheek sense of humor which will be very happy to answer questions…. or engage in friendly debate. All religions are welcome. :-)

    http://www.phatmass.com/phorum/forum/13-catholic-qa-ask-a-scholar/

    Peace out.

  10. PHAT

    http://www.catholicceliacs.org/Options.html

    One more link for Catholic Celiacs, or anyone who is interested

  11. Phil

    Although wheat being a local and common grain in Egypt, that would not have been the local and common grain in other areas. The Bible does indicate that it would be an unleavened bread, but does not specify that it must be made from wheat and the last supper may have used a millet or flax grain that would have been more common to that area.

    The Lord’s Supper is noted four times in the New Testament, and it is specific that you take the bread and wine and that it is the body and blood of Christ. So gluten free grains would not be prohbited (except by man making his own rules above and beyond Biblical statements), but grape juice would not be a valid substitute for wine (you can purchase wine that has had the alcohol removed for those whom that is an issue). Grape juice would not have been used in the original church, as there was no means to store the juice from grapes and thus it would end up either vinegar or wine.

    There are a number of church bodies that would serve gluten free host if they were aware of the need within their congregation, included in that would be those whom treat the Lord’s Supper as symbolic, along with liturgical conservative church bodies such as most Lutheran Synods. You may find that far too often, it is the fact that there is an issue that prevents something (e.g. gluten sensitivity that prevents individuals from taking the common host), but those individuals never bring it to the attention of the church so that it can be addressed. Some may reject it outright, but many will make the adjustments with your help in assuring the required changes are understood and handled properly. I am currently making gluten free wafers for our church members, this is a reslut of a slip of the tounge by someone that they were unable to take the host but had not brought to the attention of the Pastor or Elders as they did not want to burden them with their issue and they were embarrased about it. The good thing is that that one individual has now provided a means for a few others were also avoiding Communion or the Host, to participate in the full Sacrament because we were able to adapt to their needs and still remain true to the doctrine and practices that are taken from both the Old and New Testements. If you are not sure if your church body allows gluten free wafers, try seeing if they have suppliers that cater to their denomination; if so check out their catalog to see if they sell gluten free wafers, if they do then you should have no problems asking your pastor or priest why they do not make it available for individuals such as yourself.

    This is does add to the cost, but the participation in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper is of greater value than the added cost of assuring every member eligible can partake in the full sacrament.

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