Sunday, September 28, 2008

Daring Bakers Challenge Number 3: Lavash Crackers and Toppings

"We know of an ancient radiation
that haunts dismembered constellations;
a faintly glimmering radio station."
-Frank Sinatra, as sung by CAKE

I don't know if we are talking as ancient as the dinosaurs here, but lately things here have become like the land before time. I don't seem to be able to finish anything within the confines of a deadline anymore. Wasn't it Douglas Adams that said: "I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by" ?

Well, ahem. Now that we have established that I am late with this entry, I had better move on. I had tried to enlist the help of my assistant from the Dimply Plum Cake fiasco, but due to the dinosaurs reference above, he was somewhat overcome by Frank and Ethel and their powers of persuasion.

This month's culinary adventure brought to you by the Daring Bakers is Lavash Crackers and Toppings. I have had very few experiences with making crackers, so this recipe intrigued me. It wasn't nearly as difficult as I had imagined it to be, and it is a recipe that I may try again in the future.

Frank and Ethel were very useful when it came to rolling out the dough. I used diamond shaped cookie cutters to make the crackers into pieces, but I think if I try this again, I may move the sheet of dough over to the pan, and then cut it there. Once I had my diamonds cut out, I ended up having to move them individually as they kept separating from the pack.

Here is the finished product. I topped mine with pizza seasoning, salt and pepper. They smelled wonderful while they were baking!

Frank and Ethel agree that it's all good! They couldn't keep out of the dip!

The Recipes:

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 … 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.

Chunky Veggie Dip

Dice one tomato, 1/2 yellow pepper, 1/2 onion, 3 cloves of garlic and add to bowl. Stir in 1 Tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon pizza seasoning, dash of salt and pepper. Mix well. Allow to sit in refrigerator for a couple of hours for flavors to blend.


genkitummy said...

I love how you add cute toys to your culinary creations! Good job on your crackers. Your salsa looks so fresh and delicious!

Jacque said...

Oh my gosh, you make me LAUGH!! Thanks, I needed that (still chuckling). I'm glad they turned out so nicely for you... they look fantastic.

Alexa said...

Such a cute post... I am glad you got some serious help for the Db challenge. It makes it more fun that way. Great job on your lavash and salsa.

hornedfroggy said...

I LOVE your pictures... I seriously LOL every time I see them and your commentary. :) Annnnnd, now I've remembered that I was supposed to post these a few days ago! Lovely!