Saturday, September 27, 2008

Daring Bakers Challenge: Lavash Crackers

This month's challenge was hosted by Natalie of Gluten A Go Go and Shel of Musings From The Fishbowl.

It's been a long time since I have made lavash crackers (think culinary school-5 years ago), and I had forgotten how easy and tasty they are! I'm glad to have had a reason to make them again, for they shall surely become part of my regular menu! I have listed the recipe and directions below, and the cool thing about it is that they are already gluten free, so I didn't even have to make any changes! Score!!

I made mine with 2 separate toppings: half with cinnamon-sugar and half with kosher salt. We were also required to make a dip that had to be gluten free as well as vegan. I only made one dip, which is meant for the cinnamon crackers. Technically, it's not even a dip, it is an icing. I just whisked together about 1/2 cup of confectioner's sugar with a splash of soy milk and about a tsp of vanilla. Easy shmeezy!

One thing I recommend is to use 2 silpats to roll the dough between if you have them, as wax paper really stinks to peel off of the crackers. I try to avoid wax paper at almost all costs. Also, gluten free dough hardly rises with yeast, so don't expect it to double in size, like the recipe says. It will still work just fine :)

On to the directions....

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) 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 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 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 pre-cut 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.

6. 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.


The Irreverent Cook said...

I'm glad you enjoyed the challenge! =D Great tip about rolling between silpats, but when I didn't had much trouble rolling on wax paper =)

chou said...

I love your suggestion to roll out the dough between silpats!

Emilia said...

Those look really thin and tasty, the fermentation will probably add a great deal of flavour?

I didn't know of any of those flatbreads, well except for pita, so I learned something new :)

Tiffany said...

Thanks, TIC! Maybe I just have bad wax paper or something, but my food always sticks to it!!

Thanks Chou! I love silpats!

Yes Emilia, the fermentation makes it tase really nice! It's not often that gluten free breads taste like that!

Simply...Gluten-free said...

Great recipe, thanks! I never think to make crackers but this will perfect for the holidays coming up!

Elle said...

Oh, they look so good! I'm bummed that I missed this challenge. I can almost taste the cinnamon sugar ones!

Stewart Family said...

Hey it's been a while since I've visited your food blog. It's looking awesome. I'm proud of you. These crackers look tasty. I agree with everyone else, great idea with the silpats!

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