Saturday, September 27, 2008

Daring Bakers—Lavash Crackers and Honeydew-Peach Salsa

Lavash Crackers and Honeydew-Peach SalsaThis month, the Daring Bakers were asked to make Lavash Crackers with a vegan and gluten-free dip. Lavash is a soft, thin flatbread of Armenian origin. (This is going to be an "almost wordless" post since it's been a busy month! Just a reminder to enter this month's food photography event, Does My Blog Look Good In This? The deadline is Tuesday, September 30th at 11:59 p.m. Click here to read the submission guidelines.)
Vegan means no animal products of any kind.

Gluten-Free means no wheat (including kamut and spelt), barley, rye, and triticale, as well as the use of gluten as a food additive in the form of a flavoring, stabilizing or thickening agent.
For my Lavash crackers, I sprinkled toasted sesame seeds and black pepper on them. I used half the dough to make cracker bowls by cutting the dough into squares and carefully laying the square inside a sprayed ramekin.

To see the different versions of Lavash crackers and dips cropping up all over the foodblogosphere, check out the Daring Bakers Blogroll. Thanks to Natalie from Gluten-A-Go-Go and Shel of Musings From the Fishbowl who hosted this month’s Daring Bakers event.

Recipe for Lavash Crackers

ingredients for Lavash Crackers and Honeydew-Peach Salsafrom The Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhart (Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, CA. Copyright 2001. ISBN-10: 1-58008-268-8, ISBN-13: 978-158008-268-6)

Note: The following recipe includes directions for both gluten-free crackers (care of Natalie from Gluten-A-Go-Go) and traditional all-purpose flour 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)
1/2 tsp (.13 oz) salt
1/2 tsp (.055 oz) instant yeast
1 tbsp (.75 oz) agave syrup or sugar
1 tbsp (.5 oz) vegetable oil
1/3 to 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp (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 tbsp of water, but be prepared to use it all if needed.

2. 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.


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 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.


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˚F 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.

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.

Recipe for Honeydew-Peach Salsa
from The Splended Table

Try the salsa with grilled seafood and poultry, or over rice noodles. Chile could be added to taste. It is best eaten within several hours of preparation. Use organic ingredients if at all possible.

juice of 1 lime
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 to 1/2 cup finely diced red onion
1 Red Fresno and 1 Hot Yellow minced chile (seeds removed)
1 to 2 tsp sugar,
1/2 ripe sweet honeydew melon, cubed into bite-sized pieces
4 small, ripe peaches, peeled and cubed into bite-sized pieces
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup minced fresh coriander, or coriander and mint combined

In a medium bowl blend the lime juice, garlic, onion and chilies. Let stand 20 minutes, then blend in sugar and fruits with salt (a generous pinch) and pepper (to make piquant) to taste. Refrigerate up to 3 hours. Fold in fresh herbs just before serving.

Copyright 1997 Lynne Rossetto Kasper, all rights reserved.

Lavash Crackers and Honeydew-Peach SalsaTasting Notes
The crackers were easy to put together and tasted wonderful, even after storing for a day or two. The salsa was a big hit and definitely a recipe worth keeping.


Isabelle Lambert said...

la 1ère photo est absolument géniale :)
nous avons eu la même idée de se servir des crackers comme contenant!

Christine said...

Wow that looks so amazing! Plus the salsa sounds delicious!

Gretchen Noelle said...

These sound delicious together! Wonderful job on the crackers and the salsa! Yum!!

Marija said...

How artistic do those little cups look! Wonderful job on this challenge!

Lori said...

Beautiful crackers and salsa!

Anonymous said...

Great photo!

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous photos, Shari! Your salsa looks so vibrant and fresh!

Lynne Daley said...

Lovely flatbreads and the salsa looks beautiful with it.

Argus Lou said...

Very pretty! Love it all. ;-)

Katie said...

What a clever idea to use osme of the cracker dough to make little baskets to hold the salsa. They look fab.

Leslie said...

Stunning! You are so very talented!!!

Rachael Hutchings said...

I love the little cups, so pretty with the salsa in them! I don't think I've had a single recipe I wouldn't make again off of The Splendid Table, mmmm. If you haven't tried the Touch of Grace biscuits mentioned on there, they are a must! I like to use them for strawberry shortcake. I like the new design by the way!

Zoe Francois said...

What a wonderful idea, they are lovely!

Susan @ SGCC said...

Love what you did with your lavash! They look so pretty! That salsa looks wonderful too. So fresh and lovely! Well done!

Maggie said...

Great looking bowls! The fruit salsa sounds delicious.

Katrina said...

I love seeing what everyone has done with this crackers. Looks great. You will not be disappointed with the apple crumb bars. SO good!
Cool blog.

Clumbsy Cookie said...

I can't get over how beautiful your pictures are! I love what you did with them!

Mari said...

Great job, as ever! Love your new look too!

Anonymous said...

I haven't seen honeydew recipes in a long time, how delicious and refreshing!

I just love all your photographs!

friedwontons4u said...

Your lavash are just simply stunning!

Shari said...

isabelle - your bowls and spoons are wonderful!

christine - the salsa is wonderful with shrimp too!

gretchen noelle - Thanks!

marija - Thanks for dropping by!

Lori - You're a sweetie!

Dana - I can't believe how many bloggers you visit and leave comments for! You're wonderful!

angela - Thanks! The salsa was wonderful and fresh!

lynnylu - Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment!

argus lou - Thanks!

katie - It was so easy too!

leslie - You're such a sweetie, Leslie!

fuji mama - Thanks for the tip about the biscuits! I'll check them out!

zoe francois - thanks for dropping by and taking the time to leave a comment! Especially after making 800 cupcakes this week!!

stickygooeycreamychewy - thanks so much!

maggie - I'm definitely keeping that salsa recipe!

katrina - I can't wait to make your apple crumb bars!

clumbsy cookie - And you're very creative to make spoons out of your cracker dough!

mevrouw cupcake - Thanks! I'm still getting used to the new look and want to tweak it some more sometime!

white on rice couple - Thanks so much for dropping by and leaving a comment knowing that you're busy and just back from your trip to Vietnam! Thanks!!

friedwantons4u - I love your flower versions!

Thanks everyone for stopping by!!

Megan said...

I love the cracker cups and salsa. How clever!

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

Executed in true DB style...congratulations. I have a Canadian section of bloggers on my side bar that I have added you to. Glad to have found you:D

Shari said...

megan - Thanks for leaving a note!

bellini valli - Thanks for putting me on your blogroll. Nice to meet up with other Cdn food bloggers!


Family First said...

Wow! A clean new look! Great! And wont try this recipe anytime soon cos me not so "daring baker" yet .... long way to go before I attempt something so "serious" - hahaha.

Tammy said...

wow, you are so creative! they all look so good!

NKP said...

Your lavash baskets are adorable - great idea. I made mine again tonight for guests, they went over very well.

Esi said...

I love the shapes of our crackers! So creative :)

vibi said...

What a nice picture the first one is!
Originality, creativity usual.
I'm still waiting for the boring idea! LOL LOL

Jenny said...

Looks good - that first picture almost looks like a swan.

Thip said...

Very creative, I like the way you present them together.

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous pictures, as always- Your crackers look so perfectly shaped, too!

Jacque said...

Oooooh, look at you, being so creative! Your crackers are the cutest thing I've seen all day :) Very nice job!

Mary Ann said...

Amazing! Your lavash looks delicious and the salsa looks perfect. I am so amazed by what you come up with. Absolutely inspiring!

Dharm said...

Hey Shari! I didnt know you were a DB too!! Great job on the lavash and I particularly like how you fashioned them. The pics are awesome too!

Y said...

I looove what you did with this recipe. Now that's what I call thinking out of the box!

Shari said...

family first - DB isn't as hard as it seems. You should join!

tammy - Thanks!

natashya - It was such an easy recipe. Great that you did it again so soon after DB!

esi - Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment!

vibi - Will you marry me?? LOL

jenny - Thanks!

thip - Thanks, Thip!

hannah - I tried to pick the best ones for the photo shoot! Ha.

jacque - Thanks!

mary ann - Thanks for dropping by!

dharm - DB, TWD. I noticed you've recently joined TWD too. Welcome.

y - Thanks!

Thanks everyone for taking the time to leave a comment! It makes my day!

Kajal@aapplemint said...

Wow girl, these look amazing. Gr8 on flavour n gr8 on presentation !