29 September 2008

Better late...

Yes, I am a few days late with this month's Daring Bakers challenge but I am so glad I did it. This was the first savory challenge I've done and also the first that didn't require me to buy any special ingredients, or take half a day. Not that I'm complaining- I like to spend time in the kitchen, but with the way this month has been going I had given up hope of completing the challenge until I actually took the time to read the recipe.

This month we made lavosh crackers. As the challenge was hosted by two of our alternative bakers, Natalie from Gluten A Go Go and Shel of Musings From the Fishbowl the idea was for all of us to try our hand at gluten-free baking and a vegan dip but our hosts kindly gave us instructions for wheat based crackers as well. I chose to do the wheat option since I had everything for it already in the house and I didn't get around to the dip quite yet...

I was shocked at how quickly and easily the crackers came together. Basically mix, stir, knead. Then let it rise for an hour and a half and roll out as thinly as you possibly can top and bake. That's it. I decided to top my crackers with sesame seeds (on one half) and molasses sugar (on the other) to have both savory and sweet crackers. The sesame seeds didn't adhere to the crackers as nicely as I would have liked them too but that was my only and admittedly very minor issue with the whole recipe.

The crackers are crisp, delicious and totally satisfying, not to mention way cheaper than store-bought. I'm going to try to make a batch every week for Zach and I to take with our lunches so I'll keep you posted if I come up with any really good flavors.

One note: I did use a mix of white and whole wheat flour instead of the straight white called for in the recipe. I thought it came the crackers extra flavor, and fiber, yet didn't overpower the delicate nature of the crisps. Feel free to use all white flour if you want

Lavosh Crackers
Adapted from The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering The Art of Extraordinary Bread
Makes 1 sheet pan of crackers

1 C. (4 oz.) white flour
1/2 C. (2.75 oz.) whole wheat flour
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. yeast
1 T. sugar
1 T. vegetable oil
1/2 C. warm water
1 T. sesame seeds for topping
2 T. dark brown sugar for topping

- Stir the first 5 ingredients together in a medium bowl. Add the oil and about half of the water. Stir together. Keep stirring and adding water until the dough forms a ball.

- Turn the dough out on a lightly floured work surface and knead for about 10-15 minutes. Add more flour if the dough starts sticking to your hands. The dough should be shiny and sort of springy when you're done kneading. To test if it's ready you can pinch off a piece, flatten it into a disk and gently pull on the edges. It should stretch into a very thin membrane. If it rips immediately, keep kneading.

- Put the dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Allow to rise for about 90 minutes or until doubled in bulk. (About 30 minutes before your dough is ready heat your oven to 350F)

- Divide dough in half (with a sharp knife). Lightly grease your work surface and set the dough down. Pat in to a rough square shape and lightly flour the top. Roll out as thinly as you possible can (we're talking paper-thin). You might need to give the dough a few breaks while rolling to allow the gluten to relax. Transfer to a cookie sheet. Repeat with the other dough.

- Brush the top of the dough with a little bit of water and sprinkle on your topping.

- Bake for 15-25 minutes or until golden brown. Baking time really depends on how thick your dough is. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes in the pan then break apart and serve or store in an airtight container.


kat said...

I agree, I was so glad I did this challenge as well. Matt can't get enough of these crackers. When I put my seasoning on I used the rolling pin to press it in which seemed to make it stick better

Sue said...

Wow, every Daring Baker's post I've seen has had gorgeous lavash. Yours look sooooooooooooooo good. Pretty plate too.

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

I am so glad you did it too! Wasn't it great?