We are finally home! We got back to Utah late on Saturday night. We had a wonderful time in Illinois. We spent a lot of time with the family, it was fun just hanging out. We did a lot of baking, eating, relaxing, watching sports, movies, etc. The vacation went too fast, even though we were there for ten days.
Sorry I have been slacking on my blog posts. This week I will try to update you on some of the tasty things we made while we were in Illinois. We spent a lot of time in the kitchen!
We made Lavash Crackers with my dad. He has made them before, but it was a first for us. The Daring Bakers made these crackers awhile ago...I have been wanting to make them ever since. I am glad we found the time. They were excellent!
You can top the crackers with whatever toppings you like. We kept it simple with kosher salt and paprika. The crackers were thin, crisp, and delicious! We were going to serve them with some hummus, cheese, etc. but we ate them too fast. They were too good plain!!
I was surprised at how easy these were to make. Homemade crackers are so much better than store bought. I am sure we will be making these often!
from The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread, by Peter Reinhart
The key to a crisp lavash is to roll out the dough paper-thin. The sheet can be cut into crackers in advance or snapped into shards after baking. The shards make a nice presentation when arranged in baskets.
Makes 1 sheet pan of crackers
1 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp instant yeast
1 Tb. sugar
1 Tb 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 (we used kosher salt and some paprika)
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. 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 and register 77 degrees to 81 degrees Fahrenheit (You can use your Kitchenaid mixer for this step. Use the dough hook and mix until the ingredients are evenly distributed). The dough should be firmer than French bread dough, but not quite as firm as bagel 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.
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. 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.
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.
Here are a couple pictures from Christmas day!!