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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Daring Bakers are Awash in Lavash

lavash2

It doesn't matter how well I plan, I always seem to be pulling up the rear on Daring Bakers reveal days. I suppose that could be because of some deep-seated character flaw within me. This time, however, it was because I was a careless reader. I could have sworn that this month's reveal day was tomorrow, and I had planned to spend today leisurely completing the challenge. Last night, when I dug out the recipe and instructions, I was horrified to see that the reveal was scheduled for TODAY! In my Nyquil-induced haze, I frantically ran around the kitchen, gathering ingredients and equipment and got to work. Fortunately, I was able to get it all done before sunrise.

September's challenge is kind of an historical one for the DB group. It is our very first gluten free and vegan challenge - and a savory one at that! I've always been so impressed at the resourcefulness displayed by our alternative DBers in adapting our usual flour and butter laden creations to fit their lifestyle and dietary parameters. This month you will see an inspired array of Lavash Crackers and vegan dips all around the blogosphere, thanks to our hostesses, Natalie from Gluten A Go Go, and Shelly, of Musings From the Fishbowl.

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The lavash recipe was selected from Peter Reinhart's wonderful book, The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering The Art of Extraordinary Bread. According to Reinhart, a lavash is an Armenian-style flatbread, similar to many others found in various middle-eastern cultures, such as mankoush or mannaeesh (Lebanese), barbari (Iranian), khoubiz or khobz (Arabian), aiysh (Egyptian), kesret and mella (Tunisian), pide or pita (Turkish). The main difference between these breads is how thick or thin the dough is rolled out, the type of oven in which they are baked or on what they are baked. Many of these breads are actually cooked, not baked, on stones or red-hot pans with a convex surface. The key to a crisp lavash is to roll out the dough in paper thin sheets. The sheets can be cut into crackers before baking or snapped into shards after baking.

In addition to the lavash, we were also asked to make a dip to serve along with them. The catch was that the dip had to be fully vegan. Oy!

I couldn't decide which way I wanted to go, so I ended up making two batches of lavash. The first was topped with a sprinkling of Asian five spice seasoning, House Spice Red Pepper Blend (Shichimi Togarashi), Maldon salt and sesame seeds. I made an Asian inspired sweet and spicy plum chutney to accompany it, using cinnamon, star anise, cloves, mustard seeds and pink peppercorns. I really loved how this chutney turned out!

lavash5

For my second batch of lavash, I used cumin, smoked paprika, sesame seeds, more Maldon salt and toasted pumpkin seeds as my toppings. My dip for these was a zesty Italian-style caponata, made with eggplant, olives, capers and garlic. My mother made this dip a lot when I was growing up and it is still one of my favorites!

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Thankfully, the recipe for the lavash was pretty straightforward and uncomplicated. The dough was actually a dream to work with. Since my skills with a rolling pin are spotty at best, I decided to use my pasta maker in order to get my dough as thin as possible. I used the lasagne sheet attachment and it worked like a charm! My sheets of dough were paper thin and the lavash were delightfully crisp and crackly.

Although, I would never have thought to make these on my own, I'm so glad I did. Mr. SGCC absolutely loved them. Actually, they were the first of my DB concoctions that he ever really enjoyed, as he is not a fan of sweets.

My thanks go out to both Natalie and Shelly for giving me yet another chance to stretch out of my baking comfort zone. Don't stop here, though. Head on over to the Daring Bakers Blogroll to see many, many other wonderful versions of this lavash!

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Lavash Crackers

(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)-I used Whole Wheat Flour
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 pass the windowpane test (see http://www.wikihow.com/Determine-if-Bre … 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

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.

or

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.

Spiced Plum Chutney

Ingredients:

2 whole star anise
4 whole cloves
1 2-inch piece cinnamon stick
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp whole mustard seeds
1 tsp pink peppercorns
4 medium red, black, green, or blue plums pitted and cut into chunks

Method:

Combine ingredients in a small saucepan. Stir over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until chutney thickens and a chunky sauce forms, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. Cool.

Eggplant Caponata Dip

Ingredients:

5 tbsp olive oil
1 pound eggplant, unpeeled, cut into small cubes
1 medium onion, chopped
4 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 14 1/2-ounce can Italian-style diced tomatoes
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp drained capers
1/4 cup Gaeta olives, pitted and chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
Toasted pine nuts for garnish

Method:

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add eggplant, onion, and garlic cloves. sauté until eggplant is soft and brown, about 15 minutes.

Add diced tomatoes with juice, red wine vinegar and drained capers. Cover and simmer until eggplant and onion are very tender, stirring occasionally, about another 15 minutes.

Season caponata to taste with salt and pepper. Mix in fresh basil.

Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with toasted pine nuts.

Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Enjoy!

62 comments:

Maggie said...

Both versions of the crackers look wonderful! I have a slight plum addiction so that wins in the dip catagory. I've got to find time to try it while plums are still in season.

Shari@Whisk: a food blog said...

I love your idea of using the pasta maker to roll out the dough! Very inventive.

RecipeGirl said...

You made it! They look wonderful, and so does that dip!

Eileen said...

Great presentation. Love the sound of the spiced plum chutney!

Judy@nofearentertaining said...

Oh Susan, cold and all those look great!!! Thanks for the tip on the toppings! I can't wait to try your chutney with my next batch!

Elra said...

Very good looking crackers you have here. I like both of your dips as well.

Andrea said...

Ooooh, that looks so good. Your chutney sounds fabulous, I'll have to try that one.

Bellini Valli said...

I made these for my daughters birthday...it was such a fun challenge wasn't it?

Clumbsy Cookie said...

All the flavours you've used I adore! Asian 5 spices and maldon salt are some of my favourite things! They turned out great!

kellypea said...

Smart choice on the pasta maker! It didn't roll out too badly by hand though. I was surprised! Beautiful choice of toppings and flavors. Your photos certainly make me wish I could have a dip right now...

Sandy Smith said...

Using a pasta maker to roll out the dough was genius! Must borrow one the next time I make these.

Your crackers and your dips are predictably gorgeous. They're making me hungry for lavash . . . and I made my own! (But want some of yours.)

Now go get some rest!

Lori Lynn said...

Wow! Both versions look so good, I can't pick which I like better. But I really like the addition of pumpkins seeds...and the bit of green on the cracker.

culinography said...

Mmmm... everything looks wonderful! Making me hungry all over again!

Tanya said...

Great job making the crackers in such a rush. They look great!

Dianne said...

Oh wow your crackers look amazing! I love the toppings...Just stellar!

Anita said...

So tasty looking! I love what you came up with!

Manggy said...

Susan, I can't believe you managed to do this in a haze. When I'm sick I can barely pick up the remote! And you had to photograph it too! Well, your dedication paid off because it looks awesome! And those DIPS! Win win! (I can't decide which I love more...)
Now rest it's Sunday!

StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

Maggie- Thanks! I'm going to use the leftover chutney to glaze a pork tenderloin.

Shari- Thanks! I might as well. I never use it for pasta anymore!

RecipeGirl, Eileen, Judy, Elra, Andrea,- Thank you! I'm so glad you like them!

Valli- Yes, it was. I love it when we get to be creative!

Cookie- I wasn't sure about the 5 spice, but it really was good!

Kellypea- Thank you! The pasta maker was a lifesaver for my bad shoulder.

Sandy- I'm so glad you like them! Thanks! The pasta maker was definitely the way to go.

Lori Lynn- I was partial to the pumpkin seeds too. :)

Culinography, Tanya, Dianne, Anita- Thank you all very much!

Manggy- Cut it out! You're going to give me a swelled head! ;) I'm glad you like them, though.

I've got my feet up on the couch right now.

Cindy Ruth said...

Your crackers look great, and I'll have to try the chutney recipe as it sounds wonderful. I loved this recipe. Although I didn't use the pasta machine to roll mine out, I used 2 baking sheets rather than 1 as called for, and rolled twice as thin, so mine were also very crispy.

Cakelaw said...

Fab lavash flavours and dips - I am especially enamoured of the plum chutney, which is calling my name for when the plum season comes here at Christmas time. Double marks for doing it with a bad cold and close to the wire.

Tartelette said...

Love the plum relish!! You did great under pressure Susan, the crackers are perfect!!

Gretchen Noelle said...

Your crackers look so colorful and those dips sound absolutely tasty! Great job!

Cynthia's Blog said...

Brilliant idea to use the pasta maker. That caponata looks incredible. Mouthwatering post.

enza said...

only admiration!
glad to have the right amount of blue plum...mustard seeds are "senape" seeds isn't it?

Mary said...

You are BRILLIANT! I wish I'd thought of using the pasta maker. I rolled the first sheet by hand & it turned out great, but I couldn't get that second sheet thin.
And your caponata and chutney look really delicious too!

ejm said...

Brava!! I really like the sound of the caponata.

I wonder if I'm the only one who is reeling trying to imagine what you would have achieved if you'd had the leisurely day you thought you were going to have.

-Elizabeth

P.S. Found you via Lien's blog "Notitie Van Lien". Thank you Lien!

Gabi said...

Oy- I had the same exact situation right down to the cold! On top of that I missed the specific of the "Vegan" for the dip and went GF Vegetarian- oh well! Your creations are magnificent as usual and I laugh at the picture of you dashing around your kitchen :)
xo feel better xo

noble pig said...

I think your crackers are the prettiest! The plum chutney also sounds magnificent, and perfect for this time of year!

StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

Cindy Ruth- Thanks! The pasta maker did make it a little easier, esp because I have a bad shoulder.

Cakelaw, Tartelette, Gretchen, Cynthia- Thank you all! So glad you liked them!

Enza- I do believe that they are the same thing. If anyone else knows for sure, please jump in.

Mary- Brilliant, not really. Lazy? Probably. ;)

Elizabeth- Thanks for the vote of confidence! You're very sweet!

Gabi- Oy is right! I hope you feel better soon.

Noble Pig- Thank you very much! So glad you liked them!

zorra said...

Wow, and you have done these all on last minute! I'm impressed.

enza said...

ho I've understood perfectlyt your italian, thanks for your kindness.
I've read of more attempts in gluten free cases and I've missed the gum .
sooooo well done again

haleysuzanne said...

Looks amazing, and I am going to have to make both of those dips - they would be great for having friends over. Many of mine are vegan, and we're all wearying of salsa. Beautiful!

Zoe Francois said...

Fantastic! I just love the plum chutney. The sugar plums would probably work well with this? Can't wait to try.

Joy said...

Yum - those look delicious

Cakespy said...

Wow, your lavash looks so delicious! And that eggplant dip...oh my. Absolutely tantalizing!

Mevrouw Cupcake said...

I think I have that same character flaw, hee-hee-hee! ;-)
Your caponata looks yummy!

Alexa said...

Lovely lavash crackers and the plum chutney sounds amazing. I can't believe you did all that at the last minute. Impressive!

Claire said...

That eggplant dip sounds wonderful!

Esi said...

Ooh, just saw pepitas at the farmers market today and thought they would have been great with these crackers. Lovely!

CECIL said...

Beautiful lavash! I hope it's not rude, but I am practically drooling just looking at the dips and chutney!

Heather said...

mmmm that plum chutney looks lovely! and the crackers look great too, i love the addition of the various seeds.

Jaime said...

you're not the only who thought she had more time to complete this month's challenge!

your lavash looks so colorful and delicious...love your various dips too

TeaLady said...

WOW!!! and OMG!!! I completely let this one slip up on me too. Yours look great. I will have to try these. Just not this time.....

Regina said...

You have such a creative way of combining flavors! The plum chutney sounds amazing, as does the caponata. (I made a caponata for this challenge as well, though mine didn't turn out looking anywhere as nice as yours. Kinda makes me wish I was Italian. :P )

Sonia Martín said...

They really look great. I've never tried with this kind of bread. Thank you for the recipe. Sonia

Grace said...

yes, your crackers are marvelous, but to tell you the truth, all i'd need is a bowl of each of those dips and a spoon and i'd be perfectly content. bravo! :)

StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

Zorra- Thank you!

Enza- My pleasure!

Haley- I'm so glad you like them! The caponata makes a really nice bruschetta too.

Zoe- Thanks! Any plums you have would work.

Joy, Cakelaw, Alexa, Clare, Heather- Thank you. Glad you like them!

Mevrouw Cupcake- Lol!

Esi- The pepitas were my favorite part. I loved how crunchy they became.

Cecil- Not rude at all. I'm delighted that you're drooling! ;)

Jaime- They really need to standardize the reveal dates. It is getting confusing!

Tealady- Oops! I hope you do try these. They don't take too long and they really are very good!

Regina- Thank you very much! You are very sweet to say that.

Sonia- Thank you and you're very welcome!

Grace- Lol! I have eaten that caponata with a spoon before. Thanks!

Choosy Beggar Tina said...

I wish that I was a Daring Baker! I just put up a post for Lavash today that I made last week. I LOVE lavash, and your variations look absotively divine.

Bumblebutton said...

Lovely outcome, despite your haze! I especially love the idea of your plum chutney. Yum!

Maria said...

Great looking crackers and I love the eggplant dip to go on the side! Well done!

Bridgett said...

Just look at the chutney! I am in love with that picture as well as the recipe.

Hannah said...

Your crackers look really good- I wish I had thought to bust out the pumpkin seeds, too! I have a big bag of them and this would have been an excellent way to use them.

Pat said...

Yummy looking lavash crackers and dips!

You think you were late? I posted TODAY! I thought the post date was the 30th and only when I saw others had their recipes up did I push it up ...duh. I have to learn to read those instructions more carefully!

Lori said...

Love the dips and pictures. Everything looks fantastic. I need to try out the plum chutney.

Proud Italian Cook said...

Oh wow, I love that caponata! Beautiful photo's of everything here! I want to eat it all!!

Prudy said...

Those look incredibly spicy and crunchy and delicious-especially with that plum dip!

Darius T. Williams said...

Sooo - I'm really loving ALL these flavor combinations! Really - this is like a party in your mouth.

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

You did all of this while you were still sick? You have my complete and utter respect!

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

Wow Susan! Everything looks so good, I can't even pick a favorite! Great pictures as well!

Laura said...

I have been dying to find out if anyone used a pasta roller for this as I bought one specifically for crackers and these look divine--I am glad to hear it worked. I *suck* at rolling things out. Paper thin is not happening. I LOVE your flavor combos--they look and sound scrumptious.

Usha said...

The crackers look wonderful and the plum chutney looks fabulous :)

Y said...

Caponata! Darn, why didn't I think of making that! Love the stuff! Great crackers, by the way.