Lavish Crackers

by Michelle on September 8, 2009

This week for Bread Baker’s Apprentice we made Lavish Crackers. I was happy to see this on our agenda because I make a double batch of crackers at least every ten days or so but I cut them into long breadsticks. We love my breadsticks and not only eat them with dinner but as a snack, with soup or salad and I’ve even been known to grab a few on my way out the door for a quick snack in the car.

We made Peter Reinhart’s Lavish Crackers for Daring Baker’s on Sep ’08 and you can see my interpretation of the recipe here. At the time of the Daring Bakers Challenge we were just given the recipe with no pictures for reference so I was not aware of Reinhart’s wonderfully fun top striping for the Lavish! As soon as I saw the stripes I knew I had to try it! For the striping I used poppy seeds, sesame seeds, paprika, kosher salt and caraway seeds.

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Lavish Crackers
Recipe adapted from the “Bread Baker’s Apprentice” by Peter Reinhart

1 1/2 cups 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 salt
1/2 tsp instant yeast
1 Tb agave syrup or sugar
1 Tb vegetable oil
1/3 to 1/2 cup + 2 Tb 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.

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. 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.

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.

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Below are a few of my fellow BBA’ers, please feel free to click on the links to see their interpretation of this recipe.

Phyl of Cabbages and Kings
Oggi of I Can Do That!
Brandy’s Flickr Folder and she made Pita Bread which was an alternative recipe.

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Comments

  • My Carolina Kitchen September 8, 2009 at 10:19 am

    These are absolutely gorgeous. I’m not much of a baker and am usually shy when it comes to making bread, but I’ve got to give these a try. They are too beautiful to pass up.
    Sam

  • RecipeGirl September 8, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    Nice! I actually made these back in the DB challenge & thought they were really good. Fun to create different toppings. Yours turned out so great!

  • Lori E September 8, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    Never occurred to me to make crackers. Wow these would look so great on a buffet table.

  • Elle September 8, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    Wow, those are beautiful!

  • Kayte September 8, 2009 at 2:48 pm

    Those are the prettiest crackers I have ever seen. They look most delicious, no wonder they disappeared so quickly!

  • Cindy September 8, 2009 at 6:54 pm

    Your breadsticks look beautiful. Thanks for the gluten-free recipe and tips. My son is on a gluten, casein and sugar free diet and I am going to make these for him.

  • Danielle September 8, 2009 at 11:31 pm

    yum! breadsticks / crackers! they’re so pretty too.

  • Kathleen September 9, 2009 at 2:11 am

    I am back…Dell was horrendous!!!

    They look excellent!

    Go see my Mosaic Monday post…my fantastic bargain from the WSonoma outlet…:)

  • ABowlOfMush September 9, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    These look so beautiful!

  • Pam September 9, 2009 at 9:49 pm

    Those look unbelievable! I love the striping with the seeds!

  • Mags September 10, 2009 at 12:59 am

    Wow! You did a fantastic job with this recipe. Those are so beautiful!

  • Cass @ That Old House September 13, 2009 at 4:23 am

    We used to buy big round Lavosh crackers at a market in NYC and your post brings back memories of one winter in a third floor New York City walkup when mice got into our pantry closet and the ONLY thing they ate were the Lavosh crackers! I took out the unopened boxes, and they were empty! The little villains had chewed thru a corner and consumed ALL the deliciousness inside. Almost made me get a cat.

    Cass

  • [...] at What’s Cookin’ Chicago made a HUGE batch in all flavour and sizes Michelle of Big Black Dog made each cracker ‘finger” multi-flavoured Our buddy Phyl Of Cabages and King Cakes [...]

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