Saturday, September 27, 2008

Lavash with Creamy Avocado Chipotle Dip-A Daring Baker Challenge For September

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Gosh, I almost forgot about this month's Daring Baker challenge! I've just now recovered from my ten day trip to visit friends in England so began seriously deciding what I would cook for the Fall which, by the way, is my favorite time of the year. Somehow I thought that this Daring Baker challenge was a week away instead of a day away. Baking bread really gets me excited and I couldn't miss the chance to make Lavash.

I was going to Savannah for the weekend so hopped out of bed early Friday morning to make the dough for the cracker-type flatbread known by many different names in Middle Eastern and North African cuisine, but shares the basic premise in that the dough is flattened out before baking. Flatbreads were on my mind. This past week, I made a flatbread from one of my favorite cookbooks by the brilliant team of Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid, so I was in the bread making zone.

The Lavash recipe that Shelly of Veganfish and Natalie of Glutenagogo, hosts for the September challenge, chose for us was a simple, no frills dough with flour, yeast, salt, sugar, a little oil and water. A gluten-free choice was given and a dip of our choice for the crackers as long as the ingredients were vegan. Perfectly ripe avocados were waiting to be transformed into some sort of dip, but I had to make sure that the ingredients follow the vegan rules. Looking at recipes on the Internet, I found a vegan sour cream using silken tofu as a substitute for sour cream. I had found my dip so got to work making the vegan sour cream to blend with the avocados. Red onion and chipotles en adobo added extra flavor and some heat to the dip. Toasted cumin seeds were used to top the crackers before baking.

A great challenge! Lavash will be an important bread in my baking repertoire.


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 toppings

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. 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 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.


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. 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.


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.

Creamy Avocado Chipotle Dip
Ripe avocados bought in a grocery store sometimes have bruises and bad spots on them which is why I buy my avocados rock hard about a week before I plan to make guacamole. They ripen much better without being tossed about and dropped in the produce section. Once they ripen, if I'm not using them immediately, I'll store them uncovered in the refrigerator for a few days. When in a pinch and you have to buy your avocados the day you plan to make the guacamole, be sure to check for bruises and give them a sniff to make sure they don't smell sour.


2 ripe avocados, cut in half, seed removed and flesh coarsely chopped
2 tablespoon freshly squeeze lime juice
2 tablespoons chopped red onion
1 tablespoon finely chopped chipotles en adobo
1/2 cup vegan sour cream
salt and pepper to taste

In a food processor, process avocados, lime juice, vegan sour cream and chopped onion until smooth. Add chopped chipotles en adobo and salt and pepper to taste. Makes about 1 1/2 cups dip.


rainbowbrown said...

I love the look of your crackers, they're so pretty. And not to get too personal or anything, but your dip made me remember the dream I had last night, it was about picking avocados. Pretty cool, no?

Erin said...

Your crackers look great! The avocado dip sounds delicious!

Andrea said...

Your lavash look wonderful, and that avocado dip is calling my name. We also buy our avocados several days before using them for the same they don't get banged up in the grocer's bin. Great job on the challenge!

Angela said...

Your lavash look fantastic. Such beautiful pictures!

Shari@Whisk: a food blog said...

Your dip sounds so good, and your crackers look crackly and delicious!

Tammy said...

lovely thing lavosh! and i love avocado!

Jude said...

Your photos are so beautiful. The color on the avocado dip looks so cool.

Meeta said...

Simply gorgeous! they look lovely!

Alexa said...

Your DB crackers turned out perfect and look so pretty with the avocado dip. Gorgeous presentation and pictures by the way!

Jaime said...

your lavash looks wonderful; i'm jealous you had avocados on hand, i would have loved some w/mine!

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