As a departure from the past few sweet treats we’ve been baking up, this month’s challenge was to bake crackers, Lavash crackers, to be precise, along with something to dip or spread on the crackers.
This challenge was a seemingly simple one. The ingredient list was fairly short and the process would not be too time consuming, which is a welcome respite from time to time. Since this month’s challenge is being hosted for the first time by a couple of Alternate Daring Bakers: Natalie from Gluten A Go Go and Shel from Musings From the Fishbowl, this month’s challenge stated that, while the crackers could be made gluten free or regular, the dip or spread (at least one anyway) had to be both gluten free AND vegan. There was a lot of latitude given on this challenge, which allowed for some really neat ideas as I’ve already seen on some other blogs – everything from savory to sweet. I love the vast array of talent and creativity that populates the Daring Baker’s Blogroll; I’m pleased to be a member of this great group.
My crackers went fairly well. I decided to make use of my mighty KitchenAid 6qt Stand Mixer. First mistake. This recipe does not contain a large number of ingredients, so when I placed them all in the big stainless bowl and lowered the dough hook, it hardly touched them. I had to use my spatula frequently to keep things going – next time, I’ll either double the batch or just kneed it by hand. Second mistake was that I couldn’t find my bag of bread flour – I know I bought it, but it’s missing – how in the world can you lose a bag of flour?? I’m thinking the same gremlins that steal socks from the dryer were getting hungry for some homemade bread. Anyway, I used AP flour, which, according to what I read, should be okay. Maybe it was or maybe it wasn’t, but I ended up with a very wet dough even though I didn’t add the full amount of water called for. I had to keep adding and adding flour until I had added another ½ cup to the ball. I finally stopped because I risked over-kneeding the dough.
The crackers actually rolled out beautifully. No shrinking back of the dough. When I went to roll it out ‘paper thin’ to the size rectangle called for in the recipe, it was still fairly thick. I had to keep rolling until I got to the edges of my baking mat. By that time, I still had some thick edges, but I ran out of room to roll. I ended up cutting the big sheet into two pans’ worth of crackers – it made a lot more than I expected. I added kosher salt and toasted sesame seeds and rolled them into the dough with my rolling pin to help them stick – which they didn’t, but that’s okay. The crackers turned out fantastic. I simply broke them into shards when they were done.
As for the dips, I couldn’t make up my mind, so I made three – two that were gluten free/vegan and one that wasn’t. For the first dip, I did a Roasted Tomatillo and Garlic Salsa that I’ve made before. It was very good, but wasn’t my favorite with the Lavash. Dip #2 was Garlic Hummus. This was my wife’s favorite with the crackers, and my second favorite. Dip #3 is one of my all time favorite dips, a simple Smokey Salmon Dip – definitely my favorite with the crackers (sorry vegans, I just couldn’t help myself, it was really good).
I enjoyed this challenge and I’ll definitely be making these again. Arika over at My Yummy Life made a sweet version with an Apricot Coulis that I can’t wait to try myself.