Becoming a Daring Baker . . . My First Challenge
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!
~ 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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 http://www.wikihow.com/Determine-if-Bread-Dough-Has-Been-Mixed-Long-Enough 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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!
- Be sure to check out the Daring Bakers Blogroll to see the amazing creations everyone else came up with!