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Daring Bakers are Awash in Lavash

It doesn’t matter how well I plan, I always seem to be pulling up the rear on Daring Bakers reveal days. I suppose that could be because of some deep-seated character flaw within me. This time, however, it was because I was a careless reader. I could have sworn that this month’s reveal day was tomorrow, and I had planned to spend today leisurely completing the challenge. Last night, when I dug out the recipe and instructions, I was horrified to see that the reveal was scheduled for TODAY! In my Nyquil [1]-induced haze, I frantically ran around the kitchen, gathering ingredients and equipment and got to work. Fortunately, I was able to get it all done before sunrise.

September’s challenge is kind of an historical one for the DB group. It is our very first gluten free and vegan challenge – and a savory one at that! I’ve always been so impressed at the resourcefulness displayed by our alternative DBers in adapting our usual flour and butter laden creations to fit their lifestyle and dietary parameters. This month you will see an inspired array of Lavash Crackers and vegan dips all around the blogosphere, thanks to our hostesses, Natalie from Gluten A Go Go [2], and Shelly, of Musings From the Fishbowl [3].

The lavash recipe was selected from Peter Reinhart’s [4] wonderful book, The Bread Baker’s Apprentice: Mastering The Art of Extraordinary Bread [5]. According to Reinhart, a lavash is an Armenian-style flatbread, similar to many others found in various middle-eastern cultures, such as mankoush or mannaeesh (Lebanese), barbari (Iranian), khoubiz or khobz (Arabian), aiysh (Egyptian), kesret and mella (Tunisian), pide or pita (Turkish). The main difference between these breads is how thick or thin the dough is rolled out, the type of oven in which they are baked or on what they are baked. Many of these breads are actually cooked, not baked, on stones or red-hot pans with a convex surface. The key to a crisp lavash is to roll out the dough in paper thin sheets. The sheets can be cut into crackers before baking or snapped into shards after baking.

In addition to the lavash, we were also asked to make a dip to serve along with them. The catch was that the dip had to be fully vegan. Oy!

I couldn’t decide which way I wanted to go, so I ended up making two batches of lavash. The first was topped with a sprinkling of Asian five spice seasoning, House Spice Red Pepper Blend (Shichimi Togarashi [6]), Maldon salt [7] and sesame seeds. I made an Asian inspired sweet and spicy plum chutney to accompany it, using cinnamon, star anise, cloves, mustard seeds and pink peppercorns. I really loved how this chutney turned out!

For my second batch of lavash, I used cumin, smoked paprika, sesame seeds, more Maldon salt and toasted pumpkin seeds as my toppings. My dip for these was a zesty Italian-style caponata, made with eggplant, olives, capers and garlic. My mother made this dip a lot when I was growing up and it is still one of my favorites!

Thankfully, the recipe for the lavash was pretty straightforward and uncomplicated. The dough was actually a dream to work with. Since my skills with a rolling pin are spotty at best, I decided to use my pasta maker in order to get my dough as thin as possible. I used the lasagne sheet attachment and it worked like a charm! My sheets of dough were paper thin and the lavash were delightfully crisp and crackly.

Although, I would never have thought to make these on my own, I’m so glad I did. Mr. SGCC absolutely loved them. Actually, they were the first of my DB concoctions that he ever really enjoyed, as he is not a fan of sweets.

My thanks go out to both Natalie and Shelly for giving me yet another chance to stretch out of my baking comfort zone. Don’t stop here, though. Head on over to the Daring Bakers Blogroll [8] to see many, many other wonderful versions of this lavash!