I am currently playing Daring Bakers catch up; the September challenge hosted by Natalie from Gluten A Go Go, and Shel, of Musings From the Fishbowl made history by being the first “alternative” Daring Bakers challenge being vegan with a gluten free option. There are many alternative Daring Bakers, who all have to use every ounce of skill and wit to adapt the already challenge recipes to vegan, gluten free or what ever their needs are. Being increasingly occasionally omnivorous I was delighted to see a vegan challenge that was also savoury.
The Lavash cracker recipe comes from Peter Reinhart’s Bread Baker’s Apprentice, and I have copied it below from the Daring Bakers’ website.
The key to a great Lavash cracker is to roll out the dough very thinly. I made nornal non gluten free crackers in two batches one with smoked salt from Brown and Forest (who make wonderful smoked eels and other goodies) and the other with chilli flake. Both were served with guacamole; in my flat guacamole is a food group!
Many thanks to Natalie and Shel for hosting the challenge and apologies for being so appallingly tardy about posting, I did make them in September last year but life took over and I didn’t post them.
The crackers were amazing; in fact that I had forgotten just how good and am off to make another batch right now!
- 1 1/2 cups 6.75 oz unbleached bread flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp instant yeast (.055 oz )
- 1 Tbs agave syrup or sugar (.75 oz )
- 1 Tbs vegetable oil (.5 oz )
- 1/3 - 1/2 cup + 2 Tbs water, (at room temperature)
- sesame seeds, paprika, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, or kosher salt for toppings, poppy seeds
- 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.
- 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 window pane test 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.