I’m a little late posting my Daring Bakers challenge for the month of September, but for once it isn’t because I procrastinated making it. On the contrary, this challenge—to make vegan or gluten-free lavash crackers and an accompanying dip—was perfect for the party I hosted way back at the beginning of the month. I just haven’t had much free time for writing up posts lately, thanks to Nolan’s ever-diminishing nap schedule.
Because I was making a number of things, not just the crackers, I ended up getting some assistance from my husband while making these. He does an excellent job of kneading dough, which saved me a lot of effort. For ease (and an excuse to buy agave nectar, which I’ve been eyeing curiously for some time), I decided to make the vegan version of the crackers.
The dough rolled out pretty easily, though it was difficult to get the edges as thin as the center. I sprinkled mine with sesame seeds, smoked paprika, cumin and kosher salt and pre-scored it in strips on the diagonal, as the book shows.Â My lavash baked up crispy in some spots and a bit chewier in others, with a few air bubbles. Jeremy expected it to be crunchier than it was, fresh from the oven, at least—it seemed to crisp up more overnight, which I hadn’t expected.
I served it at the party with muhammara, a roasted red pepper dip thickened with toasted walnuts and bread crumbs. The vaguely Middle Eastern spices I used to season the crackers paired up nicely with the muhammara, which had an elusive flavor: sweet, earthy, and a bit spicy. The crackers, however, were largely overlooked at the party, where people chose to eat the muhammara and other dips with the fresh pain a l’ancienne we made (another recipe from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, by the way). I think it may have been because I should have cut the crackers into shorter strips. Oh well—I liked them a lot, and ate them with both the leftover muhammara and garlic-white bean dip. They were definitely easy to make and fun to try, but I’d just as soon make bread if I’m going to bother with a yeasted dough, I think.
1 T red pepper flakes, or 1 small red chile (I used less than this, because I’m a wuss)
1/2 tsp ground cumin
3/4 C toasted walnuts
1/4 C whole-grain bread crumbs
1/4 C extra-virgin olive oil
2 T pomegranate molasses
1/4 C tomato paste
2-3 roasted red bell peppers
1/2-1 C warm water
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
In a food processor, puree the first 8 ingredients to a smooth, even consistency. Mix in warm water to achieve a desired texture, a bit thicker for dipping, a bit thinner for spreading. Stir in the salt and adjust seasonings if necessary.
Source: Super Natural Cooking, by Heidi Swanson (p. 102).
I’ll write up what I did with the leftover muhammara tomorrow if I have time. Meanwhile, thanks to Natalie of Gluten A Go Go, and Shel of Musings From the Fishbowl, for hosting this month’s challenge. You can find the cracker recipe on their blog. And be sure to check out all the lavash and dips on the Daring Bakers Blogroll.
I am a member of the Theta Class of the Daring Bakers, induced in July of 2007. For more information and a list of my previous challenges, click here.
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