Daring Bakers in September: Lavash Crackers & Toppings

September 27, 2008 at 6:42 am | Posted in daring bakers, groups, savory things, yeast breads | 51 Comments

seedy lavash

This month we had our first “Alternative” Daring Bakers’ Challenge!  Natalie from Gluten A Go Go and Shel of Musings From the Fishbowl teamed up to bring us a two-part challenge.  The first part involved making homemade lavash.  Lavash are thin Armenian-style crackers.  They are very popular here in Australia, and packets go for big bucks in the gourmet stores.  Funny how easy it is to make them yourself!  Lavash are great with cheese, but the second part of this challenge was to concoct a vegan and gluten-free spread or dip to go with them.

Lavash dough is a simple yeasted dough, rolled out thin and often sprinkled with a seedy topping.  We were allowed to flavor the dough itself if we so desired, so I subbed a couple of tablespoons of the bread flour for wheat germ.  This gave the baked crackers a subtle, almost Wheat Thins-like flavor.  I made a full batch of the dough and divided it into two pieces–one to use straight away, and one to park overnight in the fridge.  I used different toppings and made a different spread for each. 

When it came time to roll the dough, I busted out my pasta machine (for the first time since moving to Sydney, so I was glad to actually have used it and justified its move).  I’ve made some form of cracker in every restaurant I’ve worked in, and have always used a pasta machine to roll them out.  It makes such quick work of it and is the easiest, least frustrating way to get your crakcers paper thin.  Use the lasagna sheet section, work with one bit of dough at a time, and take it down to the thinnest setting.

For my first batch of cracker, I rolled out long, wide pieces that I sprinkled with black and white sesame seeds, cumin seeds, cayenne pepper and Kosher salt before baking (brushing on a little water first acts as glue for the topping).  I simply broke these big pieces into more manageable shards after baking.  I served them with a chunky avocado relish with heaps of cilantro, lemon juice and spices.

seedy lavash with chunky avocado spread

For my second batch of cracker, I got a bit more fussy.  Instead of just baking off big pieces in whatever form they took when rolled, I used a pastry wheel to cut them into rectangular crackers.  I sprinkled them with poppy seeds and Maldon salt.  I had a huge bag of fava beans (a.k.a broad beans) from the farmers’ market, so I took about half of them and whizzed them into a dip for this batch of lavash.

poppy seed lavash with fava bean dip

I was really pleased with challenge!  The lavash and dips made perfect pre-dinner snacks (with a glass of wine, not too shabby!).  And how impressed would your friends be if you served them homemade crackers at a dinner party?

Check out the DB blogroll!  And visit Gluten A Go Go or Musings From the Fishbowl for the lavash recipe (which was adapted from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice: Mastering The Art of Extraordinary Bread by Peter Reinhart).  I made my two spreads pretty much freehand, but the basic procedures are below.

Chunky Avocado Relish

1 avocado
leafy green herb (such as basil or cilantro)
juice of half a lemon
olive or avocado oil
ground spices to taste (I used garam masala, cayenne, and cumin)
salt and black pepper to taste

-Scoop out the avocado and dice into chunks.  Chop your herb.  In a small bowl, make a dressing from the lemon juice, a slight splash of oil, the spices and salt and pepper.  Add the avocado and herb to the bowl and toss gently to mix.

Fava Bean Dip

1 1/2 cups fava beans, shelled from the outer pod
1 clove of garlic
leafy green herb (such as basil, parsley or cilantro)
squirt of lemon juice
olive oil
salt and black pepper to taste

-Bring a medium pot of water to the boil.  Blanch the fava beans for about thirty seconds, remove with a slotted spoon and shock in ice water.  Pop the garlic clove, peeled or unpeeled, into the boiling water and blanch for about 1 minute (this just helps take the edge off the raw garlic). 

-Pop the papery outer skins off the blanched fava beans and discard.  Peel the garlic clove if you haven’t already, and rough chop.

-Put the fava beans, garlic, lemon juice, herbs, splash of olive oil, salt and pepper into a mini food processor.  Pulse until it’s the consistency you like (you can use a couple tablespoons of water to thin out, if needed).  Taste for seasoning.

 DB whisk

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51 Comments »

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  1. Oooh, love the “alternative” DBC!!! SO fun!!

  2. Wonderful! Your crackers are wonderfully thin and really beautiful! I love your dip and relish! Yummy!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  3. These look great Steph – and the chunky avocado dip sounds magnificent.

  4. Using a pasta machine was a great idea! I found the dough rolled fairly easily but if I had to make it for a crowd, that would be a great time saver!

  5. I am envious of the thinness of your crackers!!!

  6. That fava dip sounds delicious and your crackers are absolutely beautiful. Great job!

  7. i am so jealous that yours came out so thin. if i had a pasta machine, i would’ve used it too. :)

  8. I’m jealous–I wish I’d managed to make my crackers as thin as yours. But I was in a hurry. I love the idea of using the pasta machine on the dough.

  9. Your crackers look great! I love your toppings and the avocado relish sounds delicious.

  10. Wow, your crackers are so impossibly thin and crisp… I’m a bit jealous!

  11. Oh, so that is what they are supposed to look like! Great job on really getting them paper thin. Your dips looks so tasty and your crackers too!

  12. Your crackers look wonderful! I should’ve used my pasta roller… great idea!

  13. The thinness is so impressive. I thought how a pasta machine would probably do the trick as I was rolling mine. Glad to see what the results could be. I shall have to try them that way if I do them again! Great job!!

  14. they look so, so thin. fabulous!

  15. Your crackers look perfect!!! I would buy them…heee!

  16. Yumm! Your crackers look just great and I love how thin you got them – even with a pasta roller. The relish sounds just bee-yooo-tee-ful!

  17. Wow, your lavash looks beautiful!!

  18. Paper thin for sure! I didn’t dare to take them to the smallest setting but seeing yours I should have. Looking fabulous!

  19. WOW!

  20. Looks great. Love the shards. Looks like you got them really thin with the pasta roll out. Great job!

  21. Wow, how thin and perfect! Well done.

  22. Oh, you are making me wish for a pasta machine. Your crackers look so perfectly thin! And the dips look delicious. Nicely done!

  23. Your crackers look so good,The dips souns delicious too.

  24. Wow, your crackers are just whisper-thin! I’m loving the fava bean dip, too!

  25. Beautiful challenge. Love the dips; especially the fava bean one. Very yummy!!

  26. Your crackers look wonderful! You were very successful in getting them VERY thin. Great photo.

  27. I’m so impressed by the thinness of your lavash! I rolled and rolled and rolled mine with a rolling pin and they just wouldn’t go as thin as I wanted. Great idea!

  28. Ooh, perfect!! Love your avocado relish too! Yum!!

  29. Using a pasta maker is brilliant! Your dips sound amazing.

  30. I am so jealous of how ultra thin your crackers turned out. They look fabulous! I used a pasta roller too, but mine weren’t nearly that thin.

    I also love that fava bean dip. It looks great!

  31. I love how thin and delicate you got your crackers…and the dip sounds delish!

  32. your crackers look so thin and perfectly crisp!! what a great idea to use your pasta machine! and i love your choice of dip and relish – i think a must try for me !

  33. Your crackers are beautifully thin and crisp, can see that the pasta machine is really useful here.
    And your fava bean dip sounds interesting. Its new to me.
    Have to say it all looks lovely.

  34. I love the dips you made. I think my husband would love the fava bean dip. The photos are fantastic!

  35. I thought for a moment to pasta machine but I didn’t trust on my gluten free dough…what a pity

  36. They look amazing! And those dips sound delicious!

  37. these look so nice. Especially i lile the fava beans dip its healthy . And i bet its yummy too

  38. Your crackers are beautiful and so thin! Nice!

  39. Love how thin your crackers were!!! Beautiful Dips!

  40. Great job, I used a pasta maker too, I felt a little lazy until I tasted them!!

  41. That pasta machine is magic isn’t it. Your crackers look so perfect.

  42. Beautiful crackers, great dips !

  43. oh my, howwww did you manage to get your crackers to be so thin! amazing!

  44. Your crackers are perfect! The pasta machine was a great idea! Love the dips that you chose to go with it!

  45. Those look amazing.

  46. lovely! i just love how delicate the crackers look. great job steph!

  47. wow! great job!
    they look like some old fine parchment.:)))
    I’ll use my pasta machine next time too.

  48. I’m so jealous of your super thin lavash! Next time I make these and I will, I’ll have to dig out my unloved pasta maker too.

  49. Soooooooooo thin !!!! wonderful job :) and … I love avocado and fava bean :)

  50. It’s crazy how much they charge in shops for lavash, isn’t it! Considering how cheap the ingredients are as well. This challenge would have been the perfect excuse to buy myself a pasta machine. Unfortunately, I didn’t get round to it, so rolled it by hand. The machine would’ve definitely yielded a more even result – like yours! :)

  51. That’s funny that Lavash are crackers in Australia. I am Armenian and Lavash is a wrap bread. Both in America and Armenia. It’s interesting how it’s different in other coutnries.


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