Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I Suck, Here are Some Crackers

I realized the other day that this month I've only posted four entries, one of which was not of food but of my chinchilla posing as an 18th century warlord. I'm not sure why I've been lagging in the baking department but perhaps it has to do with the fact that my two new favorite activities are napping and watching 900 consecutive episodes of The Office. So I decided to whip up something last night to cram into the March section while I still had time. I chose a past recipe that the Daring Bakers did a few months back before I joined: lavash. Though I've read that some lavash recipes yield a soft flat bread, this recipe made crunchy, rustic crackers.

The original recipe also gives directions to make gluten free crackers but I think it's confusing to read those directions within the same recipe so I deleted those instructions. If you want to make gluten free lavash, see the full recipe here.

Makes 1 sheet pan of crackers


* 1 1/2 cups (6.75 oz) unbleached bread flour or gluten free flour blend
* 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. 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.

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. 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.

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.

5. 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 recipe was really pretty simple. The hardest part was rolling out the dough but compared the the lasagna dough, this stuff was a breeze to work with. After rolling out my first pan, I had some dough left over which we rolled out again (enter the use of my Joe 3000 pasta machine) but it didn't roll out as well. I think it needed to relax more but I was impatient. Regardless of the second batch being on the thick side, they were still good, more like pita chips.

I went pretty simple on the toppings: kosher salt on the first batch and garlic powder and salt on the second. I'm not a huge fan of seedy crackers. I also made an impromptu dip to go along with the crackers, which consisted of sour cream, plain yogurt, garlic, salt, pepper, cayenne and chopped dill. It reminded me a lot of tzatziki sauce, actually. I think in the actual Daring Bakers challenge, they had to make a vegan dip to go along with the crackers, which are also vegan. But I forgot about that part, otherwise I would've thrown together some hummus or something. Regardless, these would be great to make to impress your vegan buddies and they're simple to boot.

One word of warning: don't let your overzealous boyfriend score the crackers. I let Joe score the second batch and he traced bizarre patterns in the dough that made a sort of cracker puzzle. We ate them all though, fortunately hideousness doesn't negatively influence taste.

1 comment:

Katy said...

Well done! I'd love to try one with a big scoop of the dip! Slurp!!