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Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge: Lavash Crackers

Flatbread is the star of this week’s Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge post, and these lavash crackers were fun and easy to make, beautiful to look at, and absolutely delicious. I have tasted the soft version of lavash before, but was completely unfamiliar with crackers like these.  The dough is very similar to pita dough, but it is rolled thinner and baked longer than pita.  The crackers can be left plain or adorned with salt, seeds and/or spices – I chose to use everything.  While not quite as crisp as traditional American crackers, the flavor was outstanding and they would make a perfect accompaniment to your favorite dip or spread.

I decided to give my stand mixer a rest and mixed and kneaded the dough by hand for a change.  I first mixed flour, salt, yeast, honey, oil and water with a wooden spoon until a ball of dough formed.

Then I transferred the shaggy mass of dough to a floured board and kneaded it for about ten minutes.

The dough was rather firm and took a bit of elbow grease to knead.  But as you can see,  it was nice and smooth after ten minutes.

It mostly passed the windowpane test.  If you look closely you can see that it’s tearing in spots in the middle, but it was good enough for me.

Although I sometimes forget (or just decide to skip it), I did remember to check the dough temperature this time.  It was a couple degrees cooler than it should have been, so I knew the dough would take longer to rise and planned accordingly.

I placed the ball of dough in a greased bowl and turned it once to coat both sides with oil.  Then I covered it and let it ferment at room temperature.  The book recommends a 90 minute fermentation, or until doubles in size.  I planned on at least two hours since the dough was cool and the room wasn’t very warm.

After two hours, the dough didn’t quite look doubled, but I poked it with my fingers and it didn’t fill back in and I took that as a sign that I could move on.

Now we get to the fun part!  I love rolling out dough, even when it’s a bit stubborn.  I had to let the dough relax a few times before it finally submitted.

I eventually got it rolled out into a big, thin sheet.  Now it needed to be transferred to a baking sheet and I was a little nervous about how that would work!

But the task wasn’t as daunting as it seemed, although the dough did shrink up and thicken a bit.  I trimmed off the excess so that it fit in the baking sheet perfectly.

My favorite part was decorating the sheet of cracker dough.  I used plain sesame seeds, toasted sesame seeds, nigella seeds, paprika, hot smoked paprika, cumin seeds, poppy seeds and kosher salt.  I thought the stripes looked really cool!

Finally, I cut the crackers diagonally into long strips before putting the in the oven and baking until crisp.

After the crackers cooled, I broke the long strips by hand into even smaller pieces.  They were beautiful and tasted great!

The dough for lavash crackers can also be used for regular pita bread.  I make pita bread at home fairly often, and I think I will use this dough next time I do.  The crackers had such a wonderful flavor, I can’t wait to see how the pita turns out!

Are you ready to give lavash crackers a try?  The recipe can be found on page 178 of The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. The next bread in the challenge is Light Wheat Bread, and I’m really looking forward to having some homemade sandwich bread in the house again!

Want to Join The Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge?

There are several ways for you to join in the fun!  First of all, you need a copy of Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice.  Read the first section of the book carefully, as this will prepare you for the bread recipes in the second section of the book.  Then just jump in and bake some Anadama Bread, which is the first bread formula in the book.  You may also visit The BBA Challenge Page for more details on how to participate in the group.

If you haven’t already, you might want to bookmark the BBA Challenge Page.  From there you can see which breads are coming up soon, find answers to Frequently Asked Questions, visit and/or add yourself to our World Map, see the BBA Challenge Blogroll, and check out the continually updated slideshow of BBA Bread photos from our ever-expanding group of bakers!

Lavash Crackers from other BBA Bakers:

Please enjoy this slideshow of Lavash Cracker photos from the Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge Flickr Group.