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!
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.
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.
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.
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