Lavash crackers for the Daring bakers.

by Sunita on September 27, 2008

This month’s challenge has got to be the easiest, but the fun of all the challenges so far. The best thing is that it was easy on the waistline ;-)

To quote the hosts,

”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).

The Challenge: Make Lavash Crackers and create a dip/spread/salsa/relish to accompany it. This challenge allows for large helpings of creativity and personality, with the crackers, your flavor choices for the crackers, and with your dip/spread choice.

The Rules: You can make the Lavash Crackers either with all purpose wheat flour or you can try making them gluten free. You may use any variety of spices/seeds/salt to top the crackers. All dips/spreads/relishes/salsas must be vegan and gluten free.

The Definitions: Vegan – no animal products of any kind (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veganism); Gluten Free – No wheat (including kamut and spelt), barley, rye, and triticale, as well as the use of gluten as a food additive in the form of a flavoring, stabilizing or thickening agent. For the purposes of this challenge, we are also excluding oats, even though there are gluten free oats available in some parts of the world. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gluten_free)

Heads Up :

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

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.

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,…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, 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 http://www.wikihow.com/Determine-if-Bre … ong-Enough for a description 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.

or

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 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.

or

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.”

What I did-

Based on the above recipe, I made my spicy rye and whole wheat crackers . I am noting my measurements below-

1C wholewheat flour (atta)
1/2 C rye flour
1 tblsp agave syrup
1 tblsp roasted and ground cumin
1 tblsp dried mint
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp instant yeast
1 tblsp vegetable oil
1/2 C water at room temperature

I followed the given instructions to make the dough (mixed the herbs and spices into it) and rest..

This was my first tryst with rye flour and so, I did know what to expect. but, to my pleasant surprise, everything went smoothly and I was able to roll out the dough quite thin. I divided the dough into three portions- rolled one in to a circle and cut into wedges before baking; rolled one into an oblong shape and cut into strips ( some straight, some wavy); and roled the third into a circle and broke into chards after baking.

For the topping, I used a sprinkling of the following in various combinations -

sesame seeds
crushed red chillies
cumin seeds
freshly ground pepper

They took less than 20 minutes to bake. I watched the oven like a hawk for the last few minutes.

My dip- A very simple Sprouted Moong chutney

2C sprouted moong beans
2 tblsp mustard oil
2 inch of ginger, chopped
4 green chillies, chopped(or as per taste)
salt to taste

Grind all the above with a little water to form a slightly coarse paste.

That’s it! Lovely crisp crackers are now ready to be enjoyed.

We loved the crackers. Rengoni couldn’t stop at a few. Agastya had gone to a friend’s birthday party and when he came back, the first thing that he was told about by Rengoni, was ‘mum’s crackers’. And I was glad…well, why not…so much better than crisps ;-)

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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Baking Soda September 27, 2008 at 9:12 pm

Enticing pics Sunita, breathtaking! My boys enjoyed the crackers as well and like you I secretly smiled! Rye flour! Why didn’t I think of that.

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2 Gretchen Noelle September 27, 2008 at 9:17 pm

Great job Sunita! I am so going to try crushed red pepper on my next batch – that sounds absolutely delicious!

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3 Ruth September 27, 2008 at 9:49 pm

Great job and the photos are stunning. I love all the seasonings on your crackers

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4 Anne September 27, 2008 at 10:50 pm

These are SO pretty! You did an amazing job.

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5 aparna September 28, 2008 at 2:39 am

They looks so yummy. There is something special waiting for you in my blog.

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6 Destiny's Vegan Kitchen September 28, 2008 at 6:07 am

Amazing! And I love all of your serving dishes. I’m entranced!

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7 Mahimaa's kitchen September 28, 2008 at 7:10 am

god.. i love the pics.. crackers look awesome sunita.

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8 Dharm September 28, 2008 at 9:50 am

Good job on the challenge – it certainly was a lot of fun! Great pics too!

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9 Aparna September 28, 2008 at 10:04 am

These look good, Sunita. And your sprouted moong dip is most unusual.
Your crackers and dip look like a very pretty dessert.:)

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10 Lynnylu September 28, 2008 at 10:56 am

Your crackers look perfect. Nice photos.

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11 Medhaa September 28, 2008 at 1:06 pm

Lovely Pictures, and they look lovely and crisp.

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12 Meeta September 28, 2008 at 3:26 pm

oh a great idea to use atta here. i also find your chutney idea quite interesting. a challenge perfectly done sweetie!

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13 sra September 28, 2008 at 5:51 pm

What a coincidence! You used sprouted moong too?

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14 Cham September 28, 2008 at 9:10 pm

What an healthy combo, an unique chutney and crackers , awesome :)

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15 Sangeeth September 28, 2008 at 10:57 pm

beautiful pics and a well explained post.Thanks for sharing. Darring bakers always rokz!

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16 Nirmala September 29, 2008 at 4:41 am

Those were looking wondeful! I should make them soon! Nice to know they are kid pleasers!

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17 SMN September 29, 2008 at 4:50 am

Hey Sunita this is really coolest post looks so crunchy and yummy..

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18 Jude September 29, 2008 at 7:17 am

Your chutney sounds so nice and healthy. Loving the flavor combinations.

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19 jo September 29, 2008 at 1:10 pm

Great job and lovely pictures of your lavash and dips. I especially like the close up shots showing the crushed pepper and seasoning.

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20 Psychgrad September 29, 2008 at 8:42 pm

Your crackers look lovely. I like the chutey too. Beautiful pictures.

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21 Shilpa September 30, 2008 at 2:36 pm

Gorgeous pictures as usual Sunita. I think these crackers are something we both would enjoy. Those toppings you used for crackers look too good.

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22 sunita October 1, 2008 at 9:39 pm

All,
Thank you eveeryone for your wonderful feedback. This was such a nice and healthy challenge…all four of us, especially the kids really enjoyed them. And yes, i will be making them many more times in the near future.

Reply

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