Saturday, September 27, 2008

Lavash Crackers & Toppings (Daring Bakers)

Another month; another Daring Baker's Challenage. This month I was a little disapointed in what was chosen. Mainly because I was hoping for a dessert of some kind. This month's challenage was vegan and/or gluten free. We had to make Lavash Crackers with some sorth of dip or sauce that was to be both vegan AND gluten free. The crackers had to vegan but didn't have to be gluten free. Surprising, making the dip vegan was harder than making it gluten free...mainly because some many recipes called for cheese or sour cream!

Making the crackers seemed simple enough at first. I chose whole wheat flour. I mixed all the ingredients and kneading the dough for 20 minutes. Then, I let it rise. I ended up letting it rise for a few hours, because with a toddler running around I got pretty distracted.

Then, I put a piece of plastic wrap over it......

And then rolled it really really thin.

I then added my spices. I chose half mixed spice, which was kind of like pumpkin pie spice and half I brushed with lime and sprinkled on some Lime Salt. I got the Lime Salt was a vendor at the farmer's market. I LOVE IT! It taste great on anything.

It didn't bake very well. Half of it got burnt. The unburnt part was very very very good.
For the dip I just made some plain old salsa. Nothing fancy, so I didn't include the recipe. I tried making a sun-dried tomato hummus but that didn't turn out.

I'm glad that I at least tried this recipe, but I differently won't be making this again. I'm not a big cracker fan and I could NEVER be vegan...I'm too much of a cheese girl. But I do have a new found respect for vegans, though! :-)

So, without further ado here is the recipe:

Heads Up :

* You can do so much to make this recipe your own – adding dried herbs or roasted garilic, etc., to the dough, using gourmet spices-salts-seasonings-seeds to sprinkle on top, etc.

* Read carefully ! The following recipe includes directions for both gluten-free crackers (à la Natalie !) and traditional AP flour crackers.

* The key to crispy crackers is rolling out the dough as thinly as possible. We noticed that the crackers turned out better if you divide the dough in half before rolling. You’ll roll out the dough as per the directions, decorate and cook the crackers in two batches.

* We’ve included some links with examples of the finished Lavash at the bottom of the post. JRECIPE - 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 and kids...It is similar to the many other Middle Eastern and Northern African flatbreads known by different names, such as mankoush or mannaeesh (Lebanese), barbari (Iranian), khoubiz or khobz (Arabian), aiysh (Egyptian), kesret and mella (Tunisian), pide or pita (Turkish), and 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, 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.

Lavash Crackers

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 toppings1.

  1. In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, salt yeast, agave, oil, and 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 and 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 … ong-Enough for a discription of this) and 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, and supple enough to stretch when pulled. Lightly oil a bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
  3. 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), and slightly tacky. Lightly oil a bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
  4. 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).
  5. For Non Gluten Free Cracker Dough: Mist the counter lightly with spray oil and transfer the dough to the counter. Press the dough into a square with your hand and dust the top of the dough lightly with flour. Roll it out with a rolling pin into a paper thin sheet about 15 inches by 12 inches. You may have to stop from time to time so that the gluten can relax. At these times, lift the dough from the counter and wave it a little, and 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 and lay it on the parchment. If it overlaps the edge of the pan, snip off the excess with scissors.
  6. For Gluten Free Cracker Dough: Lay out two sheets of parchment paper. Divide the cracker dough in half and then sandwich the dough between the two sheets of parchment. Roll out the dough until it is a paper thin sheet about 15 inches by 12 inches. 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.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit with the oven rack on the middle shelf. Mist the top of the dough with water and 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 and salt - a little goes a long way. If you want to precut the cracker, use a pizza cutter (rolling blade) and 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.
  8. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the crackers begin to brown evenly across the top (the time will depend on how thinly and evenly you rolled the dough).6. When the crackers are baked, remove the pan from the oven and let them cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. You can then snap them apart or snap off shards and serve.


friedwontons4u said...

Glad you gave the recipe a tried! Looking forward to the Asiago cheese challenge.

Cristine said...

Way to still make it even though you didn't care for it! I enjoyed the crackers but probably won't be making them again.