September 27, 2008

Cracker-Bread - Lavosh



This month's Daring Bakers' challenge was Lavosh, a savory bread from Armenia. It is a simple bread to make but don't let its simplicity fool you. It is delicious. I have found the pizza dough I have been searching for!!! --- thin, crisp, chewy. Every year we travel to NYC and go to John's Pizza for the wonderful thin crusted pizza. I have tried to replicate this crust numerous times with little success even with the 48 hour dough rest in the refrigerator. While this dough may not handle the heavy toppings found on many American pizzas it can hold a delicate tomato sauce with basil and fresh mozzarella or other fine ingredients.

This recipe came to together in a snap and we could be as inventive as we desired with the side salsas, compotes, and dips as long as they were vegan and/or gluten free.

Thank you to our host Shel, of Musings from the Fishbowl for a wonderful recipe and my first opportunity to purposefully bake vegan/gluten free.

The recipe:

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 toppings1. 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 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
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 {I just lightly floured 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. Cover it with a towel or plastic wrap while it relaxes. When it is the desired thinness, let the dough relax for 5 minutes. {I wish I had rolled out on parchment paper as the dough is thin and delicate and would have made lifting to the pan easier} 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
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.
5. 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).
6. 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.

8 comments:

Dharm said...

See, I hate the time difference where I have to keep coming back to look for your post!! :)
Your Lavash looks just great and that pizza even better!

Angela said...

We said the same thing when we ate our first crackers... the dough would make perfect pizza crusts! Your pizza looks fantastic!

Andrea said...

I thought the same thing...good pizza crust...though huz didn't agree. He likes thick, chewy crusts, and I like the thin crusts. Looks like you had a winner! Nicely done on the challenge!

Baking Soda said...

Well...the thought never crossed my mind; thin pizza crust! Brilliant! My kids love a thin pizza with just the tomatoes, mozzarella and herbs!

Meeta said...

wow! making a pizza out of this is pretty cool! great going!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Sometimes simples fools us!
Pizza dough you say - I think I must try it that way!
Lovely Lavash AND Pizza!

Micha said...

What a great idea! I'm more of a deep dish girl (from Chicago originally), but this is a super way to make a thin crust. Great work on the challenge!

ORSprueills said...

I'm looking forward to trying this one. The boys beg me to make pizza and I love the thin crust.