I’ve never made crackers before. For some reason it always seemed like a pain in the butt, when I could just go out and grab a box. However, my love for fine (and expensive) crackers made me perk up when I spotted Peter Reinhart’s recipe for Lavash crackers while perusing through The Bread Bakers Apprentice.
How could I not try another recipe of his? I mean, they’re always bang on.
He’s the bread God.
So here’s some crackers sent from heaven above…
From Peter Reinharts ‘The Bakers Apprentice’
- 1 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup + 2 Tb (3 to 4 oz) water, at room temperature
- Fresh rosemary, 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.
- 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 register 77 degrees to 81 degrees Fahrenheit. The dough should be firmer than French bread dough, but not quite as firm as bagel 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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, herbs or spices on the dough - we used fresh rosemary from the garden and sea salt (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.