Saturday, September 27, 2008
Daring Bakers: September
Before I became a Daring Baker, I always got a little bit excited towards the end of the month to see what the challenge had been and what wonderful things the bakers had come up with. This month I’m excited not only to have survived my second challenge, but also because I got to join this lovely group and make Daring Bakers history, with the first Alternative Bakers challenge.
The September challenge consisted of two elements
- A crunchy cracker, gluten free if desired
- A vegan and gluten free dip
Because my sister is (trying to) follow a gluten free diet plan at the moment, I wanted to make the gluten free version of the crackers for her. But this month was so busy that I wasn’t even sure if I would have time to complete the challenge at all, let alone try my very first experiment with gluten free baking. This time around, I used regular bread flour but I have promised that I will try a gluten free version in the near future that she can enjoy.
This was also my first time intentionally making a vegan dish, and its something I’m thankful for. The white bean dip recipe came from the December/January issue of Donna Hay magazine, one I’d wanted to make since I saw it back in summer. The combination of roasted garlic and white beans with lemon and basil was delicious, though not the most attractive dip ever. The salsa was inspired by our bruschetta toppings, with the addition of red capsicum to the tomatoes, parsley and fragrant basil. This summery dip goes very well with a crunchy cracker.
I really liked this challenge, because it was a chance to do something a little different in the kitchen, and pushed me to cook something I’d never even thought of making myself before. I was happy with the taste of the crackers, though while baking, the ones at the edge cooked through long before those in the center and I ended up with a mixture of crunchy crackers and softer, more bread-like crackers. I am looking forward to revisiting this, and trying a gluten free version of these crackers for my sister.
Thanks to Natalie from Gluten A Go Go and Shel of Musings From the Fishbowl for such an inspiring and different theme this month!
Lavash Crackers and Dip
Adapted from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice by Peter Reinhart
• 1 ½ cups unbleached bread flour
• ½ teaspoon salt
• ½ teaspoon instant yeast
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
• 1/3 to ½ cup + 2 tablespoons water, at room temperature
• Poppy seeds and sesame seeds
Roasted Garlic and White Bean Dip
Adapted from Donna Hay Magazine
• 1 head of garlic, cloves separated
• 1 red onion, chopped
• 1 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 x 400g can white beans (cannellini), rinsed and drained
• 1 tablespoon lemon juice
• 2 tablespoons basil leaves, chopped
• sea salt and cracked black pepper
Tomato and Red Capsicum Salsa
• 4 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
• ½ red capsicum, chopped
• 2 tablespoons basil leaves, chopped
• 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
• 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
• 2 teaspoons olive oil
1. To make the crackers, stir together the flour, salt, yeast, sugar, oil and just enough water to bring everything together in a mixing bowl. You may not need the full ½ cup + 2 tablespoons of water, but be prepared to use it all if needed.
2. Transfer the dough to a flour sprinkled benchtop. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes, until the ingredients are evenly distributed. The dough should pass the windowpane test, and be medium-firm, satiny to the touch, not tacky and supple enough to stretch when pulled.
3. 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 and ferment at room temperature for 90 minutes, or until the dough doubles in size.
4. In the meantime, begin making the dip. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Place the garlic, onion and oil on a baking tray covered with non-stick baking paper and toss to coat. Roast for 25 minutes or until the garlic is soft. Peel the garlic and place in a food processor with the onion, beans, lemon juice, basil, salt and pepper and process until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
5. To make the salsa, place all chopped ingredients with oil and vinegar into a small bowl and stir to combine
6. Mist the benchtop lightly with spray oil and transfer the dough to the bench. Divide the dough in half, press into a square with your hands and dust the top lightly with flour. Roll with a rolling pin into a paper-thin sheet. You may have to stop from time to time, to relax the glutens, so lift the dough from the benchtop and wave it a little. Cover with a clean tea towel or plastic wrap while it relaxes.
7. When it is the desired thinness, let the dough relax for 5 minutes. Line a sheet pan with non-stick baking paper. Carefully lift the sheet of dough and lay it on the tray. If it overlaps the edge of the pan, snip off the excess with scissors.
8. Preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F) with the oven rack on the middle shelf. Mist the top of the dough with water and sprinkle sesame seeds on the dough. Use a sharp knife or a pizza cutter to cut rectangles or diamonds in the dough. You do not need to separate the pieces, as they will snap apart after baking.
9. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until the crackers begin to brown evenly across the top. The baking time will depend on how thinly you rolled the dough.
10. When the crackers are baked, remove the pan from the oven and let them cool for about 10 minutes. Break them apart and serve.