Monday, September 29, 2008

September Daring Bakers Challenge



Oh my! Has it been a whole month without a post!! Well folks, time flies.
There are so many photos of things to share, let's at least get started with the DB challenge and get the blogging ball rolling again. We'll try not to post our triumphs all in one day again and then leave the virtual world for weeks. Although it's hard to complain too much when actual life takes over!

Robb and I loved this challenge. We made Lavash crackers -delicious! If you've never thought of doing it, give it a try. It was easy and so tasty. And I suppose it's a bonus, at least thankfully not a detractor!, they're vegan.

After the dough rises you roll it out- thin thin thin thin thin as you can. Then we sprinkled it with smoked paprika, poppy seeds, caraway seeds, cumin, szechuan peppercorn, and salt. Next time we will add salt over the whole surface and not just leave it in a separate stripe, the bits where there was salt and a spice were the best.



















We got to make a vegan dip or spread as well. With the last tomatoes from the garden and some jalapeno peppers, a super delicious and spicy tomato jam was created. My oh my, it was delicious. We had another yummy dip, although not vegan, made of yogurt and lemon and lots of parsley and olive oil. The two together were complimentary. The heat of the tomato jam was cooled by the citrusy herbal dip.


Robb and I have both said we'll be doing these again so prepare to be dazzled the next time there's a shin dig at one of our places. Ha!

-Janet

Lavash Crackers (with a gluten free option):

Makes one sheet pan:

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

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.
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 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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.

6 comments:

ARLENE said...

Beautiful--colorful--crackers. Wonderful job.

The Irreverent Cook said...

very true about the salt! Great looking crackers =D

Tiffany said...

Great job! So colorful, too :)

Lisa said...

You were generous with the spices and seeds like me :) They look delicious and lovely!

chou said...

tomato jam!? That sounds so good. :)

An Apron Straitjacket said...

They actually remind me of the those colorful Terra Chips (to which I'm addicted). Excellent job!