Saturday, September 27, 2008

Daring Bakers Challenge - Lavash Crackers

I was pleased when I saw that this month's Daring Bakers challenge was something savory, and even more pleased when it was vegan! The idea was to make the lavash cracker recipe from The Bread Baker's Apprentice and make any vegan and gluten free dip to go with it. It was optional to make the crackers themselves gluten free, but since I had bread flour in my freezer needing to be used, I went with regular for that. Thanks to Natalie of Gluten A Go Go and Shel of Musings From The Fishbowl for picking a great challenge. (You can view the recipe at Shel's blog, or pick up a copy of this cookbook for yourself. I know it is on my wishlist!

Lavash with Dips
But back to the crackers. The posting date for this coincided with a international dinner night with friends, the theme of which was food from Saharan Africa. So I adapted the lavash and the dips that went with it to go along with this theme. I made the recipe for the first time last weekend, and didn't cut the crackers before baking. This meant breaking it into shards after it had cooled, and this worked okay, but I think they looked better the second time I made them, and precut them into squares or strips. The kneading also went better the second time, because I felt a specific moment when suddenly the dough felt like it was perfect, right around 8 minutes.

More lavash crackers
You can see poppy seeds, kosher salt, and a greenish spice on the crackers in various combinations. The green herb blend is za'atar, which is a mixture of thyme, sumac, sesame seeds, and salt. With its Arabic origins, I thought it was probably something that people in northern Africa would be familiar with, so it went along with my theme.

Muhammara
Ever since visiting my friend Abbey in Chapel Hill, NC, and seeing her amazing cupboards of gastronomic wonder, I have been wanting to try to make something with pomegranate molasses. Last weekend when I sat down and went through my stack of magazines, I found a recipe for muhammara in the July/August issue of Vegetarian Times. It called for pomegranate syrup, but I pretended it said molasses and substituted accordingly.
Muhammara is a dip made from roasted red peppers, olive oil, sauteed garlic, and toasted walnuts. It was tasty but I think next time I would use less of the pomegranate molasses and a little more garlic.



Foul mudammes (Fava bean dip)
The other dip I made was Foul Mudammes, or Egyptian Fava Bean Dip. The hardest part about it, actually, was tracking down fava beans in town to make the second batch. I'm pretty sure Pita House is the only place selling them in a can, and I can always use an excuse to have to go there. From what I've read, fava beans and a bread similar to lavash is a traditional Egyptian breakfast. If this is true, I will be relocating to Egypt and continuing to blog from there. It was delicious and a perfect balance of spices and tomato and beans. I think it will become a staple in our house, pureed and lumpy.

This is the first time in a Daring Bakers challenge that I have felt that the recipe chosen would be something I would make repeatedly. I hope we see more savory challenges!!

Since I'm a music librarian in my day job, I thought I would say that today I listened to Cheb Mami - Meli Meli as I baked the crackers, and as I blogged them. Too bad I didn't have any Umm Kulthum!

Categories: Bread, Crackers, Daring Bakers, Vegan

60 comments:

Bronwyn said...

What pretty spices designs on the crackers! I love making food pretty. Great job!

Laurie said...

Your lavash is so pretty!

Em said...

So creative!!! Great job :)

kat said...

How beautiful your spices look on your crackers. I agree this is one challenge I'll make again too.

shellyfish said...

How beautiful! I'm so happy you liked this challenge! And I'm totally in for moving to Egypt with you!

Andrea said...

The za'tar is a wonderful idea, and perfect for a flat bread. Your lavash looks wonderful!

Zita said...

Ohh..love how you sprinkle the za'tar :)

genkitummy said...

your dips and crackers look amazing! how did you make those swirls? did you use a stencil? it's so pretty!

Isabelle said...

tes photos sont superbes :)

creampuff said...

Very nicely done, Jenny! I love the swirl design on your crackers and the dips you made are tremendous!

Barbara Bakes said...

Your crackers are gorgeous!

Claire said...

A great idea to use za'tar! I went for straight sesame seeds, but I'm contemplating another batch and will likely follow your lead. Beautiful presentation, as well.

Baking Soda said...

That's a nice extra challenge you set yourself, love the theme and execution!
(Savoury is nice for a change :-))

MaryMary said...

I just tested my pomegranate molasses awhile back--it is pretty fantastic! Your lavash look so beautiful. Cheers!

ARLENE said...

Jenny, thanks for stopping by my site. Your photos are wonderful--how patient you were with your lovely green spice!

Marija said...

The ones with za'atar are so cute! Very creative!

Natashya said...

I love the spiral designs on the crackers. You got them nice and flat - good work.
BBA is a great book for the collection, I encourage you to pick it up!
I love ful too, mmmm.

natalie said...

Liking your lavash! What creative dips! I've never heard of pom. molasses! I'm planning to make these again, too!

Hannah said...

Wow, what attention to detail- that's the most artful decorating job I've seen yet!

JaySpice said...

Thanks for checking me out! Pomegranate molasses? Oh my, sounds like it would cause a celebration in your mouth.

jo said...

lovely looking lavash. i do like the spiral spice design and your pictures as well.

prettyashley said...

i love the swirls on your crackers! how fun!

Dana McCauley said...

Love that scrolly pattern on your crackers!

The Irreverent Cook said...

Oh, the spirals are simply gorgeous. and the dips! yummy! =)

AbFab said...

*blush*
OMG a mention in your blog? I'm so honored!!
My "amazing cupboards of gastronomic wonder" have since moved to MN, but I now have a bigger kitchen to fill, which is always a good thing! :-)

btw, the BEST thing I've made so far with the pomegranate molasses (and I know you'd like!) was a marinade/bbq sauce for grilled veggie kabobs.

Aparna said...

Really beautiful looking crackers. They're so thin and crisp.
Many of the flavours in Indian cooking are similar to North African and Middle eastern flavours so I know your dips are fabulous.

Dharm said...

very nice and very pretty! How creative are you with the spirals??!!

bakinginoregon said...

Beautiful crackers! And I love the fava bean dip idea, I'm marking that one down for later.

Lauren said...

Ooo, your lavash looks amazing! I love you swirls with the spices!!

Joy said...

I'm jealous of how crispy your crackers turned out!

Clumbsy Cookie said...

Wonderful! I love thr cute swirl!

Tanya said...

The swirl design with your spices looks great! Very pretty!

Jaime said...

wow i love how you decorated them....the diagonal stripes and the swirls! great job!

Rebecca said...

Great job! I think I'm going to have to try that fava bean dip myself!

Sandra Avital said...

I love how thin your crackers are! And the muhammara dip sounds very yummy!
Now I have to find zaatar here in Paris because I love it and the idea to sprinkle it on the lavash is great! Thanks!

Regina said...

Beautiful lavash! They really crisped up nicely. I'm totally with you for more savory DB challenges!

Meryl said...

Totally agree on the savory challenges! And your lavash is so pretty--love the swirlys!

fatboybakes said...

your lavash looks fantastic!

Sandy Smith said...

LOVE those spirals! Your dips looks amazing too. You really went all out for this one!

culinarytravelsofakitchengoddess said...

Gorgeous crackers and great sounding dip.

Sarah said...

so pretty. Great job!

Meeta said...

this certainly is a great looking spread jenny. love your dip ideas.

Fit Chick said...

I like the idea of cutting the dough into squares and the design is a great idea! I have some pomegranate molasses and will try your dip.

marion said...

I love Za'tar, your crackers look sooooooooo great !!! I'll bake this as soon as possible as well :)

Maria said...

Wow, your crackers turned out great!!

Micha said...

I love the swirls you put on your crackers. It's really neat that you were able to incorporate your challenge into a dinner with friends. ..I hope they enjoyed the lavash as well!
Also, I am totally jealous of your homemade peach ice cream (a fav), and I just made a plum cake that is a family recipe of ours...your post about the "challenged" plum cake at the end of August caught my eye. I love plums :)

Tenina said...

WOW, yours are gorgeous too Jenny...congrats!

Courtney said...

WOW these look so beautiful. i love the dip you made how creative.

Vera said...

Jenny, the crackers and dips look delicious! The dips sound very intriguing! I'll have to try them.

Lisa said...

Oh wow, your lavash and dip look gorgeous, and the photos are amazing! Mine don't even hold a candle, although I wish I could have set up and taken the final photos of them!

With that said, you must try the Shichimi! Would you believe the first time I tried it was in chocolate fondue with deep fried bananas?!? The stuff is amazing :)

Dianne said...

Blog twin! I love your post -- your lavash looks so artistic and beautiful (and yummy!)

And a dinner party with a Saharan African theme...what fun.

So, cheers! Here's to favas and zatar....

Eat4Fun said...

Very nice spice combinations and creative sprinkling of splices. The spirals look fun! :-)

Tiffany said...

Oooh, beautiful designs!! Your dips sound so tasty as well! Great job :)

littlelisa said...

Wow, the zataar swirls are beautiful! Great job on the challenge.

~Amber~ said...

What beautiful delicious looking crackers. Great job.

An Apron Straitjacket said...

Pure artistry!

Polka_Roo said...

I love the swirly spice designs on your lavash. They look almost too pretty to eat!
And your dips look absolutely delicious too (especially the muhammara, which is on the top of my to-make list).

reprehriestless warillever said...

Will you take me to Egypt too?

I am in love with the Fava bean dip just from the pictures.

Esi said...

I absolutely love that design on your crackers. Reminds me of a design I saw in Greece that means a lot to me :)

Jules said...

I am so looking forward to eating in your house. I think I'll start making a list. Or maybe I should let you choose because you're the creative yummy one. Hmmm...these crackers are so cute! I get behind on your blog...might have to try making the marble pumpkin loaf stuff sometime too...