Saturday, September 27, 2008

A Vegan Challenge .... Lavash Crackers & Dips

This month is history in making for Daring Bakers all around the world. It's a first ever vegan and/or gluten free challenge. Also another first for our two hosts, Natalie of Gluten A Go Go and Shel of Musings from the Fishbowl

This will their very first hosting and their pick for this month is a recipe for Lavash Crackers from Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice book. The challenge does not stop at just making the lavash, we also had to include a dip to accompany our crackers. This challenge allowed our imagination juices to flow with our own flavours for the crackers as well as the dip. However there is one tiny rule of thumb, no animal products of any kind is to be used and oats is also to be omitted.




I definitely love this month's challenge even though I had absolutely no clue what a lavash was. I had to look it up on the internet before I realized I'd probably eaten some before in restaurants as part of the bread basket.

The instructions were simple to follow without too many steps and I finished it in no time at all (really unlike past challenges). This time round no collapsing cake or lumpy icing .. haha! Also not forgetting that I didn't have a stack of dirty dishes piled in my sink!! This is one recipe that I'll be making again. Thank you Natalie and Shel!


Before embarking on making the lavash I had read somewhere that the key to crisp lavash is to roll out the dough evenly and paper-thin. I decided that my lavash would have garlic flakes, carraway and sesame seeds and italian mixed herbs in a variety of shapes such as rectangles, triangles and twisted cracker sticks. I had also wanted to include poppy seeds as well. But guess what, I couldn't find any store or supermarket stocking it in Singapore. I asked one particular bake shop that I frequently visit and here's what happened.

Me: "Do you sell poppy seeds? I don't seem to be able to find any?"

Store Assistant: "(Expression with eyes wide open) Poppy seeds no, no. It's illegal to sell in Singapore. It's drugs you know, police will catch!"

Me: "Oh ... I didn't know that. No wonder I cannot find it anywhere"

Well there goes my poppy seed idea .... I'm not going to find any at all here! Hmm.. maybe I could smuggle some into the country the next time I'm on holiday!




Lavash Crackers & Dips

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp instant yeast
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/3 to 1/2 cup water, at room temperature

Method:

1) In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, salt, yeast, honey,oil and just enough water to bring everything together into a ball. You may not need the full 1/2 cup water.

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 be 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 instead retard the dough overnight in the refrigerator immediately after kneading.)

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. 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°F with the oven rack on the middle shelf. Mist the top of the dough with water. Using a pizza cutter cut into rectangles and triangles. Then sprinkle with a covering of garlic flakes, sesame seeds, caraway seeds, italian mixed herbs on to the top of the dough and press the flakes/seeds lightly into the dough sheet (you can use any other spices that you like such as paprika, cumin seeds, anise seeds, kosher salt, etc.) 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 and once baked, break it up into different sizes.

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). When the crackers are baked, remove the pan from the oven and let them cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. You can snap them apart and serve with an assortment of dips. (I've included 3 dip recipes below which I had made)




Salsa Fresca

Ingredients:

2 large fresh ripe tomatoes, 1 roughly pureed and the other chopped
1/2 large white onion, peeled and minced
1/4 tsp minced raw garlic, or to taste
1 habanero or jalapeno pepper, stemmed, seeded and minced, or to taste
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice or 1 tsp red-wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Method:

1) Combine all ingredients, taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.
2) Let the flavors blend together for 15 minutes or so before serving, but serve within a couple of hours.

Hummus

Ingredients:

1 can chickpeas in brine, drained and rinsed
2 tsp garlic puree
1 lemon, juiced
150 ml olive oil
4 Tbsp tahini
2 Tbsp chopped green onion
Salt and black pepper to taste

Method:

1) Puree the chickpeas, garlic, juice, chilli and olive oil in a blender or food processor.
2) Fold in the tahini and coriander.
3) Season with salt and pepper
4) To serve drizzle some olive oil and spinkle with chopped green onion

Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Dip

Ingredients:

2 medium sized eggplants (700g), skin on
8 small yellow tomatoes, skin on
2 garlic cloves, skin on
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 tsp tahini
1 1/2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp green onions, finely chopped

Method:

1) Preheat oven to 200°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Slice the eggplant in half and place skin up onto a baking tray. Add the garlic and tomatoes. Drizzle with a bit olive oil and roast for 35 to 40 minutes or until vegetables are soft. Set aside to cool for 15 minutes.

2) Remove skin from the eggplant and tomatoes. Using a metal spoon, scoop out flesh onto a chopping board. Roughly chop. Transfer to a bowl.

3) Squeeze flesh from garlic into a small bowl. Add 2 tablespoons lemon juice, tahini, 1 tablespoon oil and salt and pepper. Mash with a fork until well combined. Stir into eggplant with three-quarters of the green onion. Transfer to an airtight container. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

4) To serve spoon dip into a bowl. Drizzle with remaining oil. Sprinkle with remaining green onion.



17 comments:

Dana McCauley said...

Besides your great work on the challenge, I love that last picture - fun!

steph- whisk/spoon said...

how did you get your photo in an art gallery? :)

love those twisty lavash (too bad about the poppy seeds, though).

The Bahens said...

I love the twists. So cute!

Lauren said...

Ooo, your lavash looks wonderful, and those twists are beautiful!

ARLENE said...

Jo, thanks for visiting my blog. I love your idea of lavash "twists." Everything looked really delicious.

enza said...

great and funny pictures and very funny your story on poppy seeds!

zorra said...

Fortunately in Spain poppy seeds aren't illegal. ;-)

Awesome crackers no wonder your picture hangs in a museum. ;-)

Aparna said...

Great crackers and dips. I especially liked the twists.
And your picture deserves to be in a gallery.

Elle said...

It's good to go to the end! Fantastic photo. Three dips, all of them sounding wonderful, plus beautiful crackers...great without poppy seeds!

Sandra Avital said...

i love the twisted sticks!! And the roasted eggplant & tomato dip sounds delicious!

Zita said...

Aww, you made your lavash look so neat, and love how you play you pics in "bighugelab" ;)

Susan said...

That last photo is priceless. Interesting about the poppy seeds. Your twists are a lovely variation!

Jude said...

Love the little twists...
I'm a bit surprised about the poppy seeds :)

Eat4Fun said...

Very nice looking photos and the twisted lavash look fantastic... actually it all looks wonderful. Great job!

Lisa Michelle said...

Wow, you did a great job! I love all the twisty shapes and the dips. PLUS, the photos, especially the last one, are fantastic! Nice job all around :)

Jo said...

hi all, many thanks for stopping by and also for all your nice comments.

lilmizlynn said...

I didnt know poppy seeds are illegal here in SG.. i just find it funny when the store assistant said its drugs... Well. your lavash looks great and I love the way you add your photo in the art gallery... hehe

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