Daring Bakers Challenge : Lavash Crackers

For this month’s DB Challenge, and as a first ever for the DB group, Natalie and Shellyfish challenged us to make lavash crackers and an accompanying dip, whilst keeping within the perimeters of being gluten-free (optional) and vegan.

Lavash crackers are relatively easy to make and have fairly wide appeal so I was thrilled that the hosts had opted for this. What worried me was my choice of accompaniment. While I have dabbled with being vegetarian and pescatarian in the past, I’ve never ever considered going vegan and therefore wasn’t too familiar with it. In fact, my favourite thing to have with lavash crackers is a decent piece of cheese, be it a gloriously creamy triple cream cheese like St. Andre, or even a fabulous Australian-made goats cheese.

Dip. Chip ‘n’ Dip. A friend said he attended a party recently and spied a hollowed out round loaf of bread, filled with dip with the bready innards served on the side as agents for the dip! Somehow, that reminded me so much of the seventies and eighties. Growing up, we were never really “dip” people (aside from our brown and orange lounge furniture, and pastel green walls, a few trends did manage to bypass my mother during those decades). Mom made a mean ricotta cheese dip at one stage but we all got tired of it pretty quickly and it hasn’t been seen or heard from since.

So I was stumped for ideas (aside from guacamole and tomato salsa) until I came across a recipe for a tahini sauce in the latest issue of Vogue EAT. The sauce was intended as an accompaniment to a dish of tameya, or falafel, but I had tasted a similar sauce before and figured it would also work well as a dip. In keeping with this Middle Eastern-ish theme, I used sesame seeds, poppyseeds and a sprinkling of ras el hanout on my crackers. The crackers tasted lovely and were fun to watch, puffing up in the oven.

Below, I have provided the recipe for the non gluten-free version of the lavash cracker. If you are after the gluten-free one, or are just interested in ideas for vegan dips and spreads, you should check out the other DB blogs.

Lavash Crackers :
(the non-gluten-free version; recipe reference: The Bread Baker’s Apprentice: Mastering The Art of Extraordinary Bread, by Peter Reinhart.)

* 1 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour
* 1/2 tsp salt
* 1/2 tsp instant yeast
* 1 Tb agave syrup or sugar
* 1 Tb vegetable oil
* 1/3 to 1/2 cup + 2 Tb water, at room temperature
* Poppy seeds, sesame seeds, paprika, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, or 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.

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 and register 25-27’C. The dough should be 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.

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. 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 176’C 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. 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.

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 them apart or snap off shards and serve.

Tahini sauce :
(Salatet tahina; served as dip; from Vogue EAT Oct/Nov 2008)

1 clove garlic, crushed
150g tahini paste
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
paprika, to serve

Combine garlic, tahini and vinegar in a bowl, then whisk in lemon juice and 125ml (1/2 cup) cold water to form a creamy sauce. Stir in cumin and parsley. Season. Spoon into a bowl and sprinkle with paprika.

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  1. Leonor said,

    September 27, 2008 @ 6:18 am

    Ooops! I’ve seen your final result and I didn’t started mine yet!!!

    Now I must erase this picture from my mind…


  2. clumbsycookie said,

    September 27, 2008 @ 6:40 am

    You’re allways the first one I see! I was also wondering about the dip, because to me it screamed cheese! They are beautifull! I like the stick shape!

  3. Rosa said,

    September 27, 2008 @ 7:03 am

    Very well done! Your crackers and dip looks fabulous!



  4. Aran said,

    September 27, 2008 @ 7:18 am

    they look amazing!

  5. Lorraine E said,

    September 27, 2008 @ 8:24 am

    Love the styling with that glass! Vegans are a hard bunch to cater to but you did well, especially considering you couldn’t use dairy!

  6. Christie@fig&cherry said,

    September 27, 2008 @ 8:39 am

    Great combo Y! Love your dip ‘bowl’ – very classy.

    I love experimenting with tahini for my vegan guests, it adds such a creaminess without any dairy. Genius really.

  7. Cakelaw said,

    September 27, 2008 @ 9:11 am

    I love the addition of ras el hanout to the crackers – that would have been tasty.

  8. Dana said,

    September 27, 2008 @ 11:37 am

    Tahini is a great choice for the lavash and yours is so beautifully photographed! Nice job.

  9. arfi said,

    September 27, 2008 @ 11:54 am

    hmmm i’m tempted to try out, Y! looks crusty!

  10. Sophie said,

    September 27, 2008 @ 12:35 pm

    Yours turned out so lovely! I have a feeling mine are really gonna have that ‘homemade look’, but yours look so put together! Ready to jump into that yummy dipping sauce :).

  11. steph (whisk/spoon) said,

    September 27, 2008 @ 1:28 pm

    the dip sounds delicious, and i love your lavash! your photos could have been straight from the pages of Vogue EAT!

  12. Hannah said,

    September 27, 2008 @ 2:19 pm

    Lovely photos; both the crackers and dip look great. I had been thinking about making some sort of tahini sauce recently to pair with falafel, too, so what perfect timing!

  13. Cristine said,

    September 27, 2008 @ 3:21 pm

    I love your crackers! They look great!

  14. courtney said,

    September 27, 2008 @ 4:07 pm

    Beautiful crackers. And I love Tahini. You always make the best presenttions.

  15. cakebrain said,

    September 27, 2008 @ 4:13 pm

    This looks like perfect party food! yum!

  16. Vera said,

    September 27, 2008 @ 5:37 pm

    Y, the crackers are lovely! And I like how the dip sounds.

  17. ELRA said,

    September 27, 2008 @ 6:00 pm

    Good looking crackers and I like tahini sauce very much!

  18. Eat4fun (John) said,

    September 27, 2008 @ 6:46 pm

    Your lavash looks great! I love the slight puffiness of your crackers – holds more dip! Of course, I’m not advocating double dipping. lol! 🙂

  19. Helen said,

    September 27, 2008 @ 6:48 pm

    Oh no! I thought the posting day was tomorrow! I have missed it! Ah well, your crackers look beautiful and puffy and I love the tahini dip. I think the addition of ras el hanout is lovely too. I can’t get enough of that stuff!

  20. zorra said,

    September 27, 2008 @ 8:40 pm

    Great idea to shape the crackers in sticks. Next time I make mine with ras el hanout too. Thank you for the inspiration.

  21. Baking Soda said,

    September 27, 2008 @ 11:29 pm

    Cheese? I would never have thought of cheese for accompaniment, have to try! Love your tahini dip and the shape of your crackers, they did a little puffing there and I really like the result!

  22. Liliana said,

    September 27, 2008 @ 11:32 pm

    Wonderful crackers! Great pairing with the tahini sauce.

    I thought the deadline was at the end of September – late again!

  23. Erik said,

    September 28, 2008 @ 2:30 am

    Nicely done. I like the tahini dip idea, I have some tahini left over from the hummus I made, so I think I’ll give this a try.

  24. Zita said,

    September 28, 2008 @ 6:12 am

    mmmm…yum..yum..love you puffed crackers, look supercrunchy, thought you add some yougurt in the tahine dip, it looks so whitilicious 🙂

  25. Alexa said,

    September 28, 2008 @ 7:34 am

    I love your lavash sticks!!! I bet they were delicious dipped in your homemade tahini sauce.

  26. Maggie said,

    September 28, 2008 @ 9:09 am

    Great puffed stick shape on your crackers! I used ras el hanout in my dip but love the idea of it on the crackers too.

  27. Anita said,

    September 28, 2008 @ 10:51 am

    I love your sticks – they look so light and puffy! Perfect with the tahini sauce!

  28. jillian said,

    September 29, 2008 @ 1:18 am

    These look so light and crispy, and I love the shape!

  29. Lauren said,

    September 29, 2008 @ 1:33 am

    Ooo, your lavash looks wonderful! Great job!!

  30. grace said,

    September 29, 2008 @ 6:43 am

    i’ve seen many a cracker today, but yours are extremely unique and look amazing! even without the tahini sauce (which also sounds incredible), they’d rock my world. 🙂

  31. Foodie Froggy said,

    September 29, 2008 @ 4:54 pm

    I was sure I had left a comment yesterday ! Well, Ok, once again your DB challenge is awesome ! I love your very elegant crackers.

  32. Jude said,

    September 29, 2008 @ 5:05 pm

    Mmm tahini sauce.. What a nice alternative to hummus and baba ghanoush.

  33. Tartelette said,

    September 29, 2008 @ 11:12 pm

    I love the tahini sauce idea paired with the ras el hanout flavor! Gorgeous as always Y!

  34. snookydoodle said,

    September 30, 2008 @ 1:00 am

    your crackers look great . they re really nice

  35. Mari said,

    October 1, 2008 @ 7:50 am

    Your lavash looks fabulous! I made a vegan spread and a non-vegan spread (homemade labneh), because these crackers were screaming for some full-fat dairy according to my taste buds.

  36. Olga said,

    October 1, 2008 @ 10:18 pm

    I really like how yours puffed up: you must have rolled them out really thin.

    Don’t give me too much credit for using wholewheat flour: that’s simply the only flour I had at home that qualified, and did not want to spend more money 🙂

  37. Shellyfish said,

    October 1, 2008 @ 11:12 pm

    Beautiful! I’m so glad you enjoyed the challenge!

  38. Rebecca said,

    October 1, 2008 @ 11:21 pm

    I love your round sticks of lavash!

  39. Lisa said,

    October 1, 2008 @ 11:52 pm

    Gorgeous crackers! Perfectly golden and crisp. Beautiful work!

  40. jamie said,

    October 2, 2008 @ 1:43 am

    your crackers look PERFECT!!! so beautiful!

    i like your blog a lot!

  41. CookiePie said,

    October 2, 2008 @ 11:07 am

    Lovely crackers! And tahini dip sounds so delicious, and so perfect for the crackers!

  42. Shari said,

    October 2, 2008 @ 10:38 pm

    Your crackers look delicious and crispy! That dip sounds delicious as well!

  43. JennDZ_The LeftoverQueen said,

    October 4, 2008 @ 5:18 am

    Looks perfect – from the crackers to the tahini dip! YUM!

  44. Ivonne said,

    October 6, 2008 @ 1:17 pm

    Very nicely done … I love the tahini sauce and I love how you shaped your crackers!

  45. Eileen said,

    October 8, 2008 @ 12:13 am

    Your photos are amazing! Love the way you cut your Lavash.

  46. Miri said,

    October 15, 2008 @ 10:19 pm

    The crackers look awesome, and I really love it that you paired them with tahini sauce!

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