Sunday, September 28, 2008

My first Daring Bakers Challenge

Ok... so, I was really excited to join the Daring Bakers, who will hence forth be called the DBers, it is a group of folks on the web that enjoy new and challenging baking endeavors. I found the group by randomly flipping through other blogs, like my own, about their love of, and adventures with, food. I looked over many of the old challenges and contacted with site administrator about joining. Most of the past challenges I had viewed were sweets and covered all sorts of things that people often shy away from because they think the task is too complicated for them.

When I received the September challenge, my very first one, I was disappointed. I love to bake sweets, but generally don't take as much enjoyment in baked goods of the savory persuasion. I put off this challenge until the very last minute... I wouldn't want to make too good of an impression with my new friends...ha!

I am a day late in posting, and I have n really fabulous excuse. My husband and I went out to see a movie yesterday after noon and didn't get back home until late into the evening. We were spontaneous, which we never are, and decided on a whim to head off to the Greek Festival. It was fun and the food was really great; but it detained me from posting...many apologies.

I will try to be more excited next month, but this recipe still isn't my favorite and I would have rather been baking cookies. My first batch burned and the second batch, possibly because I was nervous from the first mis-hap, took f-o-r-e-v-e-r! I rubbed the dough with white truffle oil, only a tiny bit, and sprinkled it with fresh cracked pepper and Maldon salt. They tasted fine, but nothing to write home about. I also made them with whole wheat flour, which is not what the original recipe calls for. As for rolling them out I rolled the dough out directly onto my sil-pat baking mat that goes onto a baking sheet. It worked so perfectly and so easily, if you are apt to give this a go i highly recommend rolling them out this way.

We also had to make a dip to go with them and being from Texas I decided just to make a ranch dip, but I spiced it up with cilantro and jalepeno...yummy!

This challenge was vegan or gluten crackers were vegan, but my dip was gluten that legal? Oh, well too late now. Here it fist DBers challenge:

Makes 1 sheet pan of Lavash crackers

* 1 1/2 cups (6.75 oz) unbleached bread flour
* 1/2 tsp (.13 oz) salt
* 1/2 tsp (.055 oz) instant yeast
* 1 Tb (.75 oz) agave syrup
* 1 Tb (.5 oz) vegetable oil
* 1/3 to 1/2 cup + 2 Tb (3 to 4 oz) water, at room temperature
* Truffle oil, cracked black pepper, and kosher salt for toppings

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. 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 … 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.

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. 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.

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 the spices on the dough.

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 off shards and serve.


jen said...

Great work on your first challenge! And don't worry, there will be so many sweet recipes that you'll go nuts! Actually I think that's why they chose to do savory this month. Too many cakes!

Hope you had fun at the Greek Festival! We love it here.

Welcome to DB! :)

silverrock said...

Ooo those crackers look delicious! I can just smell the white truffle oil now. Congrats on your first DB challenge, isn't it awesome to bake in groups?