I’m a little late getting my post up today for this month’s Daring Bakers Challenge. Frankly I ran off with Rick to see the Leonardo da Vinci exhibit in Orem while it is still there- (more on that later) and we didn’t get back until late this evening.
I really enjoyed the challenge this month- many thanks to our lovely Daring Bakers hosts for the month Natalie at Gluten A Go Go and Shel from Musings From the Fishbowl. This is the first time we have had two “Alternative Bakers” -the Daring Bakers members who spend each month adapting the recipes to fit Gluten Free, Vegan and other special diet recipes. They chose a recipe by one of my favourite bread gurus, Peter Reinhart -his Lavash from “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice”
A Daring Baker’s September Challenge
This month we are making Daring Bakers history as our September challenge is vegan and/or gluten free. For the first time ever, the torch has been passed to « Alternative » Daring Bakers : Natalie from Gluten A Go Go, and co-host Shel, of Musings From the Fishbowl. We wanted to make something savory this month, and we chose the recipe for Lavash Crackers from Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice (pp 178 – 180).
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 flat-breads 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…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.
* 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.
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) or 1/2 cup brown rice flour, 1/2 cup millet flour, 1/2 cup arrowroot starch, 1 tsp chia seed meal
* 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, 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 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.
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 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.
5. 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.
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 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.
RECIPE – 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.
My Verdict-Super easy to make and delicious to eat (I used regular AP flour)- we were allowed to use any toppings or flavours we chose and asked to make a spread/dip of our choosing to go with them. Since Natalie’s blog focuses on Gluten Free Baking we were given the option of exploring a gluten free version of the recipe. I was focused on trying to make my Lavash look like Armenian tiles in the “Tree of Life” pattern so I followed the non-GF recipe and topped mine with pistachios, pumpkin seeds, parsley, flax and sesame seeds (black and white) sunflower seeds, sea salt and Z’atar. I think I probably should have docked the dough to allow the pattern to stay as planned but the since the risen parts are yummy in lavash I’m not too unhappy.
Note-my apologies I guess I missed the line that said the dip had to be Vegan and gluten free- I just thought my crackers were vegan and the dip was gluten free- Sorry-forgive please?
I chose to make a Chevre, Parmesan and Artichoke Baked Cheese Dip to go with my Lavash:
Baked Chevre Artichoke and Parmesan Dip
- 6 ounces Chevre
- 2 ounces cream cheese
- one green onion chopped
- 2 Tablespoons sliced almonds
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese plus more to top
- 1/2 cup marinated artichoke hearts, drained
- 4 (or to taste) dashes smoked Chipotle Tabasco Sauce
- 1 heaping teaspoon jarred minced garlic or 1-2 cloves fresh minced
- salt and pepper to taste
Pulse all of the ingredients in a food processor and spread into an oven proof dish. Top with additional Parmesan cheese and put into the oven with your crackers until it is bubbly and baked through. Enjoy with your crackers!
Now for lots more fun go forth and see the other Daring Bakers beautiful Lavash here!