I am all over this Daring Baker Challenge. Our hosts this month, are Shel of Musings from the Fish Bowland, and Natalie of Gluten A Go-Go. They are vegan as well as gluten-free and their pick this month are these homemade crackers from Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. The only other thing we had to do besides make the crackers was to serve them with a dip. I had big plans to get very creative with this month’s challenge; but, then last night while having a glass of wine, listening to the debate, hanging out with my man, I realized that I did not have enough time.
I basically had to throw this recipe together as we had a busy weekend planned. Lucky for me, this recipe is very easy and comes together quickly. The great thing about this recipe for homemade crackers is that they can be made with or without gluten. Both options are listed.
I tried the regular version as I only had whole wheat flour on hand. The recipe called for bread flour but it worked perfectly with what I had. I love recipes that come together this way. All of the items are basic pantry items so it can be made quickly.
I decided to use two different toppings for the lavash. I opted for fennel, garlic, black poppy seeds, and kosher salt as well as lavender sea salt. Both lavashes came out really well if I do say so myself for running completely late. The crackers were crispy as well as light and very flavorful especially served with the creamy lemon hummus that I used as the dip to serve alongside. The perfect snack food.
If you are making these homemade crackers gluten-free blend that has xanthan gum. If your GF flour does not have this then add 1 teaspoon xanthan or guar gum
Recipe: Homemade Crackers
**Makes 1 baking sheet pan of crackers
1 1/2 cups (6.75 oz) Whole Wheat Flour or Gluten-Free flour of choice (see tips)
1/2 tsp (.13 oz) salt
1/2 tsp (.055 oz) instant yeast
1 Tb (.75 oz) 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
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.
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 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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.