Do crackers, cookies and bread that do not contain any wheat require pat yisrael? For example flax bread.

Answer:

There is no issue of pas Yisrael for flax bread. The term “bread” as in (pas Yisrael) is reserved for bread that is baked from the five grains, and not “rice bread,” “flax bread,” and so on. This principle is ruled explicitly by the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De’ah 112:1).

However, although the particular enactment of pas akum will not apply, the Rema writes that the regular laws of “bishul akum” will be relevant.

It is noteworthy that some rishonim dispute this, and maintain that the concept of bishul akum applies only to cooking, and not to baking.

According to the Rema, anything that is not included in the term “pas” (bread) is automatically included in the category of bishul, for purposes of bishul akum. See also the glosses of the Vilna Gaon, who points this out.

According to other authorities (see Peri Chadash 5), which are especially relevant for non-Ashkenazim, there is room for leniency. See Shut Binyan Av, Vol. 3, no. 36.

Best wishes.

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