Saturday, September 27, 2008

Daring Bakers' September Challenge - Lavash (Armenian Flatbread)

I must have too much time on my hands. Why else would I have taken on yet another challenge? Isn't life challenging enough already?

At the end of August I signed up to become a Daring Baker! What attracted me to the Daring Bakers' Challenge was that it combines two of my favorite activities - baking and photography. Each month the members - well over 1000 of them, from all over the world - are challenged to strictly follow the same bakers' recipe; slight variations are permitted only when specified. We have all month to complete the project, and, on the exact same day at the end of the month, we all post the results of our efforts. TODAY is that day!

The September challenge was to make Lavash (Armenian-style crackers) and a dip or spread of our choice, to accompany the Lavash. (To make it a wee bit more challenging, both the crackers and dip/spread had to be vegan. No smoked salmon spread, this time, to my chagrin!) The challenge and recipe were presented, this month, by Natalie from Gluten A Go Go, and Shel of Musings From the Fishbowl. (Recipe HERE.)

I have never before tried to make any kind of homemade cracker, so it was fun doing something brand new. Dan, who consumed the majority of them, gave my finished crackers two thumbs-up. I, myself, was a little disappointed that they were more hard than crisp. Would I make them again? Probably not. However, I think the thickness of the dough could be adjusted slightly, and it would make a wonderful pizza crust. I might try that some day soon. For my dip/spread, I made a simple fresh peanut butter (Dan's suggestion), which turned out delicious.

Here are some pictures of my Lavash and peanut butter adventure - my very first Daring Bakers' challenge:

The ingredients: flour, water, yeast, oil, sugar and salt. The dough took about twelve minutes of hand-kneading to become wonderfully pliable and elastic. Once kneaded, I set it in a warm spot to rise for 90 minutes.

While the dough was rising, I browned some sesame seeds in a cast iron skillet. It took about 5 minutes to turn them from white, like this, to ...

toasty brown like this. Toasting them really brought out the nutty flavor.

Here's the dough, after proofing for 90 minutes and doubling in size.

I rolled the dough out to the size of my sheet pan. I could have rolled it even thinner, and probably should have. I think I could have rolled it thin enough to cover one-and-a-half sheet pans, and the crackers would have been crisper. I rolled the sesame seeds, and some coarse sea salt, into the dough toward the end, then used a pizza cutter to score them into diamond shaped crackers.

Here they are, in the oven, beginning to bake.

While the Lavash baked, I made the peanut butter in the blender. All it took was a cup of peanuts and two tablespoons of peanut oil. Since the peanuts were lightly salted, I didn't add any additional salt, however it wouldn't have hurt to have added a little bit.

Blending the peanuts into peanut butter was quick and easy.

The finished project! I'm calling it a success, although most of the sesame seeds popped off as I removed the crackers from the pan.

If you would like to try making some savory Lavash - I DARE you! - you can find the RIGHT HERE.

Watch for the October challenge, here on my blog, in about a month.


shellyfish said...

Welcome to the Daring Bakers! I love that you toasted your own sesame seeds and made your own peanut butter - how cool!

Dharm said...

Welcome to the DBs Linda! You did a great job with this challenge and how awesome that you made your owm peanut butter!

Tartelette said...

Welcometo the DB Linda! You did a great job on your first challenge! Love the idea of homemade PB! Bookmarked the recipe for my husband.

Anonymous said...

Totally impressive, Linda.

I love your last picture...what great presentation! And what lucky little mice!! Nibble here...nibble there...nibble nibble everywhere....yum!

Elle said...

Glad you are a Daring Baker! Your crakers are gorgeous and the peanut butter is a natural for the vegan spread...and home made!

Passionate About Baking said...

What brilliant crackers Linda. Love the peanut dip. Try misting before you put the toppings; they stick well that way! Welcome to DBs.

Gretchen Noelle said...

Impressive! Toasting your own seeds, making peanut butter! Wonderful job on this first challenge. Welcome to the Daring Bakers!

Eat4Fun said...

Congratulations on completing your first DB Challenge! Making your own peanut butter! Wow! Great job on the lavash and your dip!

Esi said...

How cute and congrats on finishing your first challenge!

Barbara Bakes said...

Your crackers and dip look great. I lost most of my sesame seeds too!

silverrock said...

Home-made peanut butter no way!!! That's awesome :) Congrats on your first DB challenge, isn't it fun baking in groups?!