Monday, April 5, 2010

LAVISH CRACKERS - Bread Baker's Apprentice #6

Another week spent in the Caribbean, it must be my day to post my bread baking adventures for the week. I promised myself on New Year's Eve that I would be trying to learn more as a bread baker, and if possible to cook through the"The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread" book. I brought three cookbooks with me to my island adventure. The "The Bread Baker's Apprentice" book was one. It is now week five of my island adventure, and here is week SIX of my bread baking experiences.

Crackers???  What??? You can make crackers???  OK, why not, but why would you want to?  Then I read the detailed instructions and found out the answer to why make your own crackers...

SPICES... You pick just about any that you like.  In depth readers (those that read my sister blogs, Daily Photos in St. Thomas and A Kansas Foodie in the Virgin Islands know that I recently got a care package from home with several dozen different spices!  So, this was going to be fun!

And easy!  The dough only has a single rise of 90 minutes.  No over night proofing.  Start to finish was about 2 and a half hours, but most of that was the rise and me falling asleep as the 90 minutes was finished.  Actual hands on effort is probably 20 minutes... Not to spoil the outcome, but the best 20 minutes you will spend this week!

Here's what I did...

1 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 teaspoon instant Yeast
1 TBS Maple Syrup (actual recipe calls for honey, but I was out)
1 TBS Vegetable Oil
1/2 cup Water

  • Mix everything together to form a ball.
  • Move to a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes
  • Lightly oil a bowl and drop the ball into the bowl. Turn to coat all sides.  Cover and allow to rise to double the size ... About 90 minutes, but can be 2 hours if you fall asleep.
  • Now it's time to form the crackers... Mist the counter with spray oil.  Take the dough and form into a rectangle with your hands.  Use a rolling pin to get the dough thin.  Paper thin will get a very crisp cracker, 1/8th inch thickness will get a slight center chewiness around the crisp.
  • lift the dough and wave a bit.  cover with a towel and let it rest for 5 minutes.
  • Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

  • Time to flavor the crackers... First, take a pizza cutter and make a few wavy cuts.  I didn't want a square cracker, but you can easily cut into squares... I wanted a cracker strip.  Since this was the first time I was making these, I did different spices in rows to test what I liked. and what worked for others...  the first layer is a black and white sesame seed mixture, combined with a little sea salt.  Next was some sweet paprika, next some mustard powder and finally some fresh cracked pepper.
  • Bake for 17 minutes, until you get just a bit of brown on the edges...

And wait for the ohhhs and ahhhs!  These were really good.  I mean really really good.  They take very little time, and are well worth the effort.  The best taste came from the Sesame Seed mixture.  The cracked pepper was next, but you have to like the taste of cracked pepper.  The baking process with the spices on top makes them pop in flavor.  Stronger than what you would imagine.  Kind of like toasting a spice seed before you grind them.  Filled with incredible flavors.

But wait, I had enough dough left to try a second batch...

These were made for me... Garlic Flakes at one end, Onion Flakes at the other, Cracked Pepper in the Center and a sprinkling of Chipotle Pepper Spice over the entire thing.


Oh My God!

Tonight I am making another batch, along with some kind of a cheese dip... Any Caribbean cheese dip recipes?

I am so loving this book, and incredible collection and certainly belongs on every cook's shelf.  This recipe is so easy and so much fun.  From little cracker squares to fancy pretty crackers fit to be served at the fanciest of restaurants.  Such a winner!

The book is LARGE, lots of photos, and information.  Filled with dozens of recipes and easy to follow step by step directions.  And now Amazon is selling this for nearly half price (less than half if you want a used copy.  Folow the link  above and order TODAY!


  1. Your lavash are like a smorgasbord of spicy deliciousness! Way better than storebought. You've now convinced me that making your own is the way to go!

  2. simple ingredients but looks really good !

  3. OMG Dave, you continue to amaze me. The crackers are just gorgeous in those technicolours!!! Love them!

  4. these are just beautiful! excellent job!

  5. That looks fun and colorful. Having fun cooking is the name of the game.

  6. I love how enthusiastic you are about these - it makes me want to make them!! :-)

  7. Kudos, kiddo! You are really getting good.

  8. Yeah for getting spices sent from home!!

    I made crackers last year, and thought the same thing, its so easy to make!

    Love your version though and I would make your version with the garlic and onion and jalapeno flakes for sure!

  9. What a great job! They look wonderful:)

  10. Any awesome Caribbean cheese dip recipes come your way, please let me know!

  11. Those are gorgeous crackers! I love the colors and spices.

  12. I love the shape you cut these into. They sound really yummy!

  13. Oh, Dave. You are so brave! I just received my copy of both The Bread Bakers Apprentice and Healthy Bread in 5, and I don't know where to start. I am so scared! This looks like my kind of salty snack. I need a push over that cliff...

  14. I've never made crackers, but I've seen so many great recipes (and these look great!) that I'm going to do it one of these days :)

  15. This recipe one was a huge disappointment for me but I'm happy to see that yours was a success!

  16. Okay, so you got me. Never done crackers. Now that you have thrown down the gauntlet, I will probably give it a shot.

  17. These are great for their flexibility and short turnaround time. I'd love to make a parmesan/olive oil one like bread sticks for Italian meals.

  18. I am going to give these a try this weekend. They look right up my alley!

  19. Man I am still so jealous you are in the Caribbean! And I am also very jealous of your lavish bread. I love lavish the most!

  20. You are brilliant, mon amie! These crackers look wonderful and I can't wait to make them! Thanks for the great recipe, cher!

  21. Those crackers look and sound delish! Love the spices!

  22. My hubby loves lavash! I will have to make this in 62 days! (That's when we can again have carbs) However on this diet we can have 2 small grissini. (Long THIN breadsticks)i. I wonder if I could make my own using this recipe? (Thinking as I type) Great looking lavash and excellent photos!

  23. Bravo for the homemade crackers. That book is James Beard BOOK of the YEAR. I love it. The photograher, Ron Manville, just shot most of my last book which is being edited now. Hope you're winning lots at the poker table between cooking new recipes.
    Happy Twirls

  24. You are becoming quite the baker! Congrats!

  25. This same dough makes a nice pita bread: Simply rollout 6-ounce pieces of the finished dough into 8-inch·diameter cir- cles (slightly less than 1/4 inch thick), and bake them in a 500·F oven on a baking stone or on a sheet pan. Bake just until they inflate and form a pocket. Count to 10, then remove the breads from the oven with a peel or a spatula before they brown and crisp. When they cool (and slowly deflate), they can be cut in half and used for pocket sandwiches. What a great book this is.