September 27, 2008
Daring Bakers Challenge September 2008: Lavash Crackers and Vegan Caramelized Onion Blue Cheese Dip
It's that time of the month again...The Daring Bakers reveal! This month's challenge was Lavash Crackers from Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice (pp 178 - 180) and was chosen by Sheltie Girl of Gluten A Go Go and Shel of Musings from the Fishbowl.
When I saw this month's Daring Bakers challenge I was excited! I've always wanted to make crackers, but just never got around to it before now! Somehow though I lost track of the month of September and found myself waking up yesterday morning thinking "You know...I really need to make my Daring Bakers challenge! It's got to be due soon!" only to log into the message board and see it was due on Saturday!
Me and time...Not such great friends lately! I need a couple extra days in the week that no one else knows about it seems!
Anyway, so I whipped up the cracker dough yesterday afternoon, which I must say was a breeze, and after we ate dinner, I rolled them out, cut them, spritzed them with water, sprinkled them with sea salt and put them in the oven. A little while later voilà crackers! Alexis even loved them!
The other part of the challenge was to come up with a vegan/gluten free dip to pair with the crackers. I wanted to do something creamy so I set off to My Organic Market to see what I could find. I knew I wanted to get some vegan cream cheese and sour cream, and I knew I wanted to use caramelized onion as an element for the dip too. I saw the Soy Bleu I decided it would be perfect! The mix turned out great, and while at first I thought it was a bit bland, after it sat in the fridge and the flavors had a chance to meld it was fabulous!
We also had the choice to do the crackers gluten free, but I knew this wasn't something Jamison would be interested in, so I decided to just make the standard cracker. I think it would be fun to top them with sesame seeds or something a bit more exotic, but since Alexis was interested I just stuck to sea salt. Next time I might experiment a bit...And I will make these again!
So there you have it...This month's Daring Bakers challenge! Stop by the Daring Bakers blog roll and see what everyone else came up with and I can't wait to see what next month's challenge brings!
What You'll Need For The Vegan Caramelized Onion Blue Cheese Dip:
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 cups of chopped red onion
8 ounces of vegan cream cheese, softened
6 ounces of Tofutti sour cream
3 ounces of Soy Bleu
Freshly ground black pepper
In a skillet over medium heat sauté onions in olive oil until slightly caramelized. Remove from heat and set aside to cool to room temperature.
In the bowl of a mixer beat together vegan cream cheese and tofutti until smooth. Stir in Soy Bleu and cooled caramelized onions until completely incorporated. Add a pinch of sea salt and a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper and stir to mix.
Serve immediately or chill before use.
Notes: The Soy Bleu really smelled like cow's milk bleu much to my surprise. Taste wise it wasn't quite on tap with blue cheese, but it was close. I've had rice cheeses that tasted similar to their counterparts in the past, but this is the first soy cheese that has passed the taste test even remotely.
What You'll Need For The Lavash Crackers:
1 1/2 cups (6.75 oz) 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 (.13 oz) salt
1/2 tsp (.055 oz) instant yeast
1 Tb (.75 oz) agave syrup or sugar
1 Tb (.5 oz) vegetable oil
1/3 to 1/2 cup + 2 Tb (3 to 4 oz) water, at room temperature
Poppy seeds, sesame seeds, paprika, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, or kosher salt for toppings
Makes 1 sheet pan of crackers
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 (see http://www.wikihow.com/Determine-if-Bre … ong-Enough for a discription of this) 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.
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.
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.
Posted by Dianne at September 27, 2008 12:01 AM
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caramelized onions+ crackers=yumyumyum!
Posted by: cheryl at September 27, 2008 7:58 AM
yummy! I want some! :)
Posted by: katherine at September 27, 2008 8:53 AM
Wow, that dip looks wonderful, just perfect with your lavash. Nicely done!
Posted by: Andrea at September 27, 2008 4:23 PM
Your crackers turned out great! I'm dying over that dip! It looks amazing! I'd never guess it wasn't the "real" thing. Well done!
Posted by: Susan at Sticky,Gooey,Creamy,Chewy at September 28, 2008 2:25 AM
Your spread is so resourceful and looks really tasty: a perfect match with your pretty crackers.
Posted by: Alexa at September 28, 2008 11:28 AM
Nice job--your crackers and dip both look great! I've never tried any of the vegan dairy alternatives. Interesting.
Posted by: Di at September 28, 2008 2:39 PM
Great looking crackers
Posted by: Joy at September 28, 2008 4:08 PM
Very nice - and a great choice for the dip. I didn't think to score mine before I baked it, but we had fun breaking them into pieces~
Posted by: Megan at September 29, 2008 12:20 AM
Ooo, your lavash looks wonderful! The dip sounds great as well!!
Posted by: Lauren at September 29, 2008 6:35 PM
Great job. Let's hear it for the last-minute Daring Bakers!
Posted by: Susan/Wild Yeast at September 29, 2008 7:48 PM
Thanks everyone! This was a really fun challenge...It really made you think outside the box! :o)
Posted by: Dianne at October 1, 2008 3:50 PM