Saturday, September 27, 2008

Lavash Crackers w/Sun-Dried Tomato Spread

***This month's Daring Bakers Challenge was a great one. I was happy to see that we had a savory dish for a won't find any buttercream, ganache, or cake in this post! This month's hosts were Natalie from Gluten a Go Go and Shelly from Musings From the Fishbowl. Thanks ladies for a wonderful challenge!

This month, we had to come up with a vegetarian spread/dip to go along with the lavash crackers. We were given complete creative liberty when it came to the spread, as long as it was vegan.

When given the option, there are 3 ingredients that I love incorporating into recipes: Chocolate, Coffee, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes! So naturally, I thought fresh basil and sun-dried tomatoes would make an awesome combination here.

I added chopped fresh basil to the cracker dough after the 90 minute rise...I simply kneaded it into the dough. Once I had the crackers ready to go into the oven, I brushed the tops with sun-dried tomato infused olive oil from the jar, and topped them off with a little coarse sea salt. Yum!

The recipe for the spread is at the bottom of this post, along with a link to a helpful video. It was delicious! The fresh garlic really added a nice flavor, and I always love sun-dried tomatoes. Enjoy!***

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)
* 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 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 for a discription 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.


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 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.

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).

7. 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.

Sun-dried Tomato Spread
2 cans tomato paste
2 tablespoons fresh basil
1 clove crushed garlic
3/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
1 teaspoon sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon of garlic salt

Wash and dry some basil. Use about 4 to 6 leaves to make two tablespoons. Put the basil in the mixer. Next add 1 clove of crushed garlic.

Take your sun dried tomatoes of their container and drain out some of the oil. Measure 3/4 of a cup of tomatoes and add them into the mixer. Add a pinch of salt, a teaspoon of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of garlic salt.

Put on your lid and turn on the mixer. You want to aim for a medium consistency that looks like it will be easy to spread with a knife. You may need to stop mixing and use your scraper to take food off of the sides. If the spread seems thick, slowly add 1/2 a cup of olive oil.

Scoop your spread out of the mixer and place into a service dish or storage container. Be sure to refrigerate it if you are not serving it right away. This is a lovely spread to bring to a party or to have at a picnic.


Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you liked the challenge! I also did some herb add-ins which were delicious, and I can't wait to try your sun-dried dip!

Marija said...

Photo is stunning, so are your crackers :)

Lauren said...

Ooo, your lavash looks wonderful! And the Tomato spread sounds great.

Judy@nofearentertaining said...

Oh how wonderful. They look so pretty flecked with the basil! Love the dip too!

Jenny said...

I think I'll try incorporating herbs and spices into the dough the next time I make these crackers, I really like how they look that way!

ARLENE said...

A great photo of your dip!

The Bahens said...

Your crackers turned out beautiful and your sun-dried tomato spread sounds delicious!

~Amber~ said...

Your crackers and the spread look delicious!! These crackers were so addictive I know I will be making them time and time again.

Lisa said...

To quote Wretched err Rachael Ray - Yum-O! Love that Sun Dried Tomato dip. People don't seem to use them as much as they used to, but they should!