It’s time for the September 2008 Daring Bakers challenge!
This month we are doing Lavash Crackers & Toppings
To start with, our hosts for this month were Natalie from Gluten A Go Go, & her co-host Shel, of Musings from the Fishbowl! Make sure you check out their Lavash creations.
I was so excited when I saw this challenge. First of all, our hosts are vegan & gluten free, so NO SUBSTITUTIONS!!! Yeah!
We had the option of making these regular or gluten free. I wanted to try the gluten free ones, but I didn’t have a chance. I am planning on making the gluten free version next time I make these. For the dips, they had to be vegan & gluten free, which was easy for me, although I wasn’t all that creative with them.
These crackers are wonderful! The trick with these is to get them evenly rolled out. If they are a little thicker in some areas, they don’t cook the same, so some will be a little more on the flatbread side & some a little too browned. Some of mine turned out a little too brown in sections, but they still tasted great, no burnt taste at all. These do take a little time to make, but its mostly inactive rest/rise time. You can go crazy with the dips, although I was just craving some White Bean Dip, so that’s what I made. I was also making Avocado & Hummus Sandwiches, so I had some hummus too. We ate these crackers with dinner a couple of nights & they go great with Minestrone Soup & with Soy Sausage & Peppers. You have limitless options with these crackers, they are even great naked! For the toppings on the crackers, I used cumin (my fav), paprika, toasted sesame seeds (hubby’s fav), salt & chili powder (only one spice per cracker). Dried herbs would be good too. Thank you so much Natalie and Shel!!! Oh, sorry, no pix of the dips.
Here is the recipe for you:
Recipe Reference: The Bread Baker’s Apprentice: Mastering The Art of Extraordinary Bread, by Peter Reinhart. Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, CA. Copyright 2001. ISBN-10: 1-58008-268-8, ISBN-13: 978-158008-268-6.Here’s a simple formula for making snappy Armenian-style crackers, perfect for breadbaskets, company & kids…It is similar to the many other Middle Eastern & Northern African flatbreads known by different names, such as mankoush or mannaeesh (Lebanese), barbari (Iranian), khoubiz or khobz (Arabian), aiysh (Egyptian), kesret & mella (Tunisian), pide or pita (Turkish), & pideh (Armenian). The main difference between these breads is either how thick or thin the dough is rolled out, or the type of oven in which they are baked (or on which they are baked, as many of these breads are cooked on stones or red-hot pans with a convex surface)…The key to a crisp lavash,…is to roll out the dough paper-thin. The sheet can be cut into crackers in advance or snapped into shards after baking. The shards make a nice presentation when arranged in baskets. Makes 1 sheet pan of crackers
* 1 1/2 cups (6.75 oz) unbleached bread flour or gluten free flour blend (If you use a blend without xanthan gum, add 1 tsp xanthan or guar gum to the recipe)
* 1/2 tsp (.13 oz) salt
* 1/2 tsp (.055 oz) instant yeast
* 1 Tb (.75 oz) agave syrup or sugar
* 1 Tb (.5 oz) vegetable oil
* 1/3 to 1/2 cup + 2 Tb (3 to 4 oz) water, at room temperature
* Poppy seeds, sesame seeds, paprika, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, or kosher salt for toppings
1. In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, salt yeast, agave, oil, & just enough water to bring everything together into a ball. You may not need the full 1/2 cup + 2 Tb of water, but be prepared to use it all if needed.
2. For Non Gluten Free Cracker Dough: Sprinkle some flour on the counter & transfer the dough to the counter. Knead for about 10 minutes, or until the ingredients are evenly distributed. The dough should pass the windowpane test (see http://www.wikihow.com/Determine-if-Bre … ong-Enough for a discription of this) & register 77 degrees to 81 degrees Fahrenheit. The dough should be firmer than French bread dough, but not quite as firm as bagel dough (what I call medium-firm dough), satiny to the touch, not tacky, & supple enough to stretch when pulled. Lightly oil a bowl & transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
2. For Gluten Free Cracker Dough: The dough should be firmer than French bread dough, but not quite as firm as bagel dough (what I call medium-firm dough), & slightly tacky. Lightly oil a bowl & transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
3. Ferment at room temperature for 90 minutes, or until the dough doubles in size. (You can also retard the dough overnight in the refrigerator immediately after kneading or mixing).
4. For Non Gluten Free Cracker Dough: Mist the counter lightly with spray oil & transfer the dough to the counter. Press the dough into a square with your hand & dust the top of the dough lightly with flour. Roll it out with a rolling pin into a paper thin sheet about 15“ by 12“. You may have to stop from time to time so that the gluten can relax. At these times, lift the dough from the counter & wave it a little, & then lay it back down. Cover it with a towel or plastic wrap while it relaxes. When it is the desired thinness, let the dough relax for 5 minutes. Line a sheet pan with baking parchment. Carefully lift the sheet of dough & lay it on the parchment. If it overlaps the edge of the pan, snip off the excess with scissors.
4. For Gluten Free Cracker Dough: Lay out two sheets of parchment paper. Divide the cracker dough in half & then sandwich the dough between the two sheets of parchment. Roll out the dough until it is a paper thin sheet about 15“ by 12“. Slowly peel away the top layer of parchment paper. Then set the bottom layer of parchment paper with the cracker dough on it onto a baking sheet.
Pre-baked5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit with the oven rack on the middle shelf. Mist the top of the dough with water & sprinkle a covering of seeds or spices on the dough (such as alternating rows of poppy seeds, sesame seeds, paprika, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, kosher or pretzel salt, etc.) Be careful with spices & salt – a little goes a long way. If you want to precut the cracker, use a pizza cutter (rolling blade) & cut diamonds or rectangles in the dough. You do not need to separate the pieces, as they will snap apart after baking. If you want to make shards, bake the sheet of dough without cutting it first.5. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the crackers begin to brown evenly across the top (the time will depend on how thinly & evenly you rolled the dough).
6. When the crackers are baked, remove the pan from the oven & let them cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. You can then snap them apart or snap off shards & serve.
RECIPES – Toppings
You may use your choice of topping/dip/salsa/relish/spread for your lavash crackers as long as it is vegan & gluten free.Honeydew – Peach Salsa from The Splended Table (http://splendidtable.publicradio.org/re … eydew.html)Try the salsa with grilled seafoods & poultry, or over rice noodles. Chile could be added to taste. Is best eaten within several hours of preparation. Use organic ingredients if at all possible.
* juice of 1 lime
* ½ teaspoon minced garlic
* ¼ to ½ cup finely diced red onion
* 1 Red Fresno & 1 Hot Yellow minced chile (seeds removed)
* 1 to 2 teaspoons sugar,
* ½ ripe sweet honeydew melon, cubed into bite-sized pieces
* 4 small, ripe peaches, peeled & cubed into bite-sized pieces
* salt & freshly ground black pepper
* 1/3 cup minced fresh coriander, or coriander & mint combined
In a medium bowl blend the lime juice, garlic, onion & chilies. Let stand 20 minutes, then blend in sugar & fruits with salt (a generous pinch) & pepper (to make piquant) to taste. Refrigerate up to 3 hours. Fold in fresh herbs just before serving.
Copyright 1997 Lynne Rossetto Kasper, all rights reserved.
Tahitian Almond Dipping Sauce by Robert Yarosh & Lisa Soto, from The Complete Book of Raw Food, Lori Baird, Editor.
* 1 1/2 cups almond butter
* 1/2 cup pine nuts
* 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
* 1 clove garlic
* 1/4 cup fresh orange juice (you may want to add more juice or add some water, depending on the consistancy you like).
* 1 1/2 tablespoons agave syrup or honey
Blend all ingredients together until smooth (in your blender or food processor). Serve with your favorite crackers & fresh fruit.