As you might know by now, I belong to on online group called Daring Bakers. Each month we have a challenge posted, and are given the recipe and told what changes we are allowed to make. There are many Alternative Daring Bakers, some Vegan, and some Gluten-free in this group. Two of the Alternative Daring Bakers made the choice this week. They chose Lavash Crackers from Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice. We were allowed to make the crackers with wheat or gluten-free. I chose to use bread flour for mine. We also were to make a dip/spread for the crackers, which had to be gluten-free and vegan. I hope I met the criteria for that.
I LOVE these crackers. They were fast to make, once the dough had 90 minutes to rise. The dough was very easy to roll out. I did make some variations from the recipe, and I'm posting the recipe as I made it. I divided the dough in half and rolled out to cover two baking sheets, not one as the recipe called for. This makes the dough much thinner, which makes the crackers very crispy. I also rolled the dough directly onto a silpat, covering it completely then just lifting the entire silpat and setting it down on my baking sheet. The recipe also called for spritzing the dough with water before sprinkling on any seeds, but instead of doing that, I very lightly brushed with olive oil then sprinkled on. I used fleur de sal (did I spell that correctly?) and freshly ground pepper on both, then added chopped fresh rosemary to one. You can cut the dough into shapes before baking (I used a pizza cutter to cut one tray into rectangles) or you can bake whole and break into shards after they have cooled. This dough can also be rolled thicker and made into pita.
The dip I made was Beet, Chickpea, and Almond Dip. It sounds very strange, and the color is very unique, but make this dip-it is great! Very garlicy, and addictive. If the color really turns you off, use golden beets.
Makes 2 sheetpans of crackers
1 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon yeast
1 tablespoon agave syrup or sugar(I used agave syrup)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons water, room temp (watch this quantity-may need less)
Any toppings you want, such as poppy seeds, sesame seeds, paprika, cumin seeds, kosher salt, etc.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, salt, and yeast. Add the agave syrup, oil and enough water to bring everything together to form a ball.
Sprinkle some flour on the counter and transfer the dough to the counter. Knead the dough about 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and 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 a towel or plastic wrap. Let set at room temperature 90 minutes, or until the dough doubles in size. (You can also retard the dough overnight in the refrigerator immediately after kneading.)
Lightly dust the counter with flour (or for ease, use a silpat) and divide the dough in two. Press each half of the dough into a square with your hand. Roll it out with a rolling pin into a paper thin sheet about 15 inches by 12 inches. If the dough stretches back, let it rest so the gluten can relax. Either lift the silpat directly onto your baking sheet, or if not using silpat, line a sheet pan with parchment paper and transfer the dough to the parchment paper.
Very lightly brush the tops with olive oil and sprinkle on your choice of salt/seeds/herbs. Press into dough. If you want to precut the crackers, use a pizza cutter and cut diamonds or rectangles in the dough. You don't need to separate the pieces. If you want to make shards, bake the sheets of dough without cutting it first.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until crackers are browned evenly. It helps to alternate racks and directions of the pans to evenly brown.
When the crackers are done, remove the pan from the oven and let cool about 10 minutes. You can then snap them apart or snap off shards and serve.
BEET, CHICKPEA, AND ALMOND DIP
1 large beet, peeled, cut into 3/4 inch cubes
1 cup drained canned garbanzo beans(chickpeas; from a 15 1/2 oz pan)
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup slivered almonds
5 garlic cloves, peeled
1 1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Cook beet in med saucepan of boiling salted water until tender, about 12 minutes. Drain;place in food processor. Add garbanzo beans, olive oil, almonds, and garlic. Blend until smooth. Add the red wine vinegar and blend well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer dip to med. bowl. Leftovers keep well in the fridge, but bring to room temp. before serving.