Becoming a Daring Baker . . . My First Challenge

Lima Bean Spread and Sesame-Poppy Lavash

After long months of coveting the Daring Baker badges on other food blogs and wondering if I could possibly take the daunting leap of joining, I finally decided to throw my hat into the ring. Waiting almost a month between the time I signed on and the date the challenge was revealed, I was a little nervous. What if it was something I'd never tackled before? What if it required equipment or, worse, time I didn't have?

Sesame-Poppy Lavash

When the challenge was finally given, I breathed a huge, happy sigh of relief. Lavash! And a spread - vegan - to go with it! (Thanks to Natalie of Gluten A Go Go and Shelly of Musings From the Fishbowl for this historic gluten-free/vegan challenge!) That's right up my alley. No, I hadn't made this sort of flatbread before, but I had long wanted to. In fact, I'd wanted to make this exact recipe - from Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice - so that was an extra bonus.

Kosher Salt and Black Pepper Lavash

I resolved to make my lavash in plenty of time to make another batch if the first one tanked, photograph it in perfect lighting, come up with a spread that was really unique. Of course, life intervened, and I ended up making my lavash LAST NIGHT, and my spread this afternoon, after running to the grocery store for the primary ingredient, which I was sure I had, but no, turns out I did not.

The Windowpane, or Membrane, Test

Happily, the lavash came off without a hitch. The dough (I made mine with unbleached wheat bread flour, so it was the gluten-containing variation) was a snap to pull together, and the texture and timing were all spot on. Rolling it out proved simple too. Because I have a tiled counter, I rolled it out on a parchment-covered butcher-block cutting board, then transferred the parchment to the baking sheet. I used a plastic pizza wheel to cut the dough into strips before baking.

I made two batches, one with sesame seeds and poppyseeds, and one with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Both were good, but the latter was definitely more of a hit. Next time, I'd chop up some garlic and add that with the seeds. I had some trouble making the sesame and poppyseeds stick, so I might brush the dough with egg white (obviously, not a possibility with this vegan challenge) or spray with oil spray instead of water before sprinkling the seeds over.

Now for the spread . . .

I wanted to make something a little different, so I decided on a lima bean puree. I used large, meaty Fordhook lima beans, simmered in stock and flavored with garlic, rosemary, and Italian parsley. So, so good. If you are not a vegan or vegetarian, you can replace the veggie stock with chicken stock; either works well.

Hope you enjoy my offerings as much as I enjoyed my first outing as a Daring Baker!

The Recipes

~ Lima Bean Spread ~

  • 1/2 small yellow onion, diced (about 1/4 cup)
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon stock or water
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 pound frozen Fordhook lima beans
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crumbled or 1 teaspoon fresh, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh Italian parsley
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  1. In a medium saucepan, sweat the onions and the garlic in 1 teaspoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon stock until soft. Do not allow to brown.
  2. Add 1 cup stock and lima beans to pot. Increase heat and bring to a boil; decrease heat and let simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until beans are tender. If using dried rosemary, add 5 minutes before the end of simmering time.
  3. When beans are tender, add salt, pepper, parsley, and olive oil. Stir and remove from heat. Process with an immersion blender until reasonably smooth. Taste for seasonings.
  4. Chill and serve with lavosh and cut veggies.

Makes about 1 pound of spread.

~ Lavash ~

  • 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) ~I used unbleached bread flour
  • 1/2 tsp (.13 oz) salt
  • 1/2 tsp (.055 oz) instant yeast
  • 1 Tb (.75 oz) agave syrup or sugar ~I used sugar
  • 1 Tb (.5 oz) vegetable oil ~I used olive oil for the flavor
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup + 2 Tb (3 to 4 oz) water, at room temperature ~I used full amt. of water
  • 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. Or 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. Or 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.
    Makes 1 sheet pan of crackers. Thanks for the recipe adaptation, Natalie and Shelly!


  1. I'm glad you took the leap. The lavash and the lima bean dip look yum! Cheers on your first challenge.

  2. This IS daring!!! I love that you blogged both the "glutenous" and "gluten free" recipes! I have never had lavash, but am looking forward to trying your gluten free version!

  3. ~MaryMary: Thank you! I'm so glad I joined too. I'm excited for the next one!

    ~Maureen: The hostesses (Natalie and Shelly, blog links above) did an amazing job adapting Peter Reinhart's recipe. These lavash crackers are so easy to make, I may never buy them again!

  4. Welcome to the daring bakers! Your lima bean dip looks gorgeous!

  5. Great job on both the crackers and the dip! I found that the ones with cracked pepper were especially tasty. Welcome to the Daring Bakers!!

  6. Congratulations on completing your first DB Challenge! Your lavash turned out great and your dip looks wonderful!

  7. Terrific first challenge- welcome to the DB! It's great fun... you'll love the challenges. Looks like you did a perfect job with this one. I actually sprayed my cracker dough with oil and the stuff didn't stick well to mine either so I think that an egg wash might be a good idea next time.

  8. Excellent Job- Welcome to the Daring Bakers- it's plain to see that you're up to the challenge! :)

  9. ~ The Irreverant Cook: Thank you - I'm fond of that pale green color - no one can guess what's in it!

    ~ Gretchen Noelle: Thanks much! I love cracked pepper and salt; sometimes simplest is the best way, no?

    ~ Eat4Fun: Thanks!!

    ~ RecipeGirl: Good to know! I'll skip the oil next time and go with the egg wash. I rolled over the s & p lavash with a rolling pin before baking, wonder if that would help the seeds stay on. But then again, it kind of embeds them, so it's a toss-up.

    ~ Gabi: Thanks so much!! I'm glad to be here!

  10. I have bookmarked this spread with lima beans! Sounds fantastic! Welcome to the DB!!

  11. Fabulous job on your first DB challenge! Your lavash look perfect! Very smart to roll them out on the parchment. I had a helluva time moving mine!

    I love, love, love that dip, too. Good thing I'm not vegan. That means I can add bacon too! ;)

  12. Ooo, your lavash looks wonderful! Congrats on your first challenge!

  13. Your spread looks de-lish and your crackers look fab!

  14. Welcome to the Daring Bakers. You mean people voluntarily eat lima beans? :P

  15. The spread looks unbelievable. This weekend I had an edamame and white bean pesto spread that was delicious, I'm going to try to recreate it but this one looks like a must-try also!

  16. This looks perfect! I think mine failed the window pain test (?), but I still kept on going :)

  17. welcome to db. I made a green dip--fava bean dip, too. But, lima bean sounds even better. great job.

  18. ~Tartelette: Thank you! I hope you enjoy it if you make it!

    ~SGCC: Bacon . . . YES! Mmmm. Great idea.

    ~Lauren, Judy, Mevrouw Cupcake: Thank you! This was a great first challenge to get started with!

    ~Jenny: Well, some people do. But not my husband! :)

    ~Maris: Wow, that's some combo. I've never cooked with edamame before, but I've been wanting to try. That sounds great!

    ~Olga: Thank you! I bet your crackers were delicious too! Mine are gone already. Need to make more to use up the rest of that spread!

    ~Maybelle's Mom: Oooh, fava beans! Great idea! I'd love to try that one, too!

  19. this is lovely! the color of the lima bean spread is beautiful, and it sounds delicious!

  20. Congrats on finishing your first challenge! Looks great!

  21. Your crackers look beautiful and that dip is droolworthy! Very well done!



  22. That lima bean spread looks delicious! I love the color too... so cute (I dunno why but I just find it adorable!). Way to go on your first DB challenge, the crackers look lovely


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