I wonder — what do you think is a great food to bring to a potluck? I think it should be something easily transportable, something home-made, and something creative but approachable. But no matter what, it should be pretty tasty.
I think for us bakers there is an added pressure. I don’t mind sharing my mistakes or “learning experiences” with other bake clubbers, but with my peers and professors? Yeesh! Honestly, I would just skip it if what I was making turned into a big failure.
Well, I made CRACKERS! And luckily, they weren’t a bust.
OK, I admit that making your own crackers is probably a) a waste of your very precious time, or b) kinda weird considering that crackers cost, like, two dollars. That being said, I really wanted to make a simple dip (that turned out to not be very simple) for my department potluck, but I felt I had a duty to bake something. Lo and behold, crackers to to scoop up some garlicky dip.
I guess these are Lavash, though I’m not sure how authentic they really were. Lots of Lavash have egg in the recipe (yuck!) To me, they just kind of tasted like saltines with neat flavors.
In the end, I feel like… the kind of person who makes her own damn crackers, which is actually very fulfilling. So, here’s the recipe I got from somewhere I don’t remember, but I changed it, so I don’t really have to cite it anyway… do I?
1 tsp dry active yeast
3/4 cup plus 2 T warm water, divided
1 teaspoon sugar
2 1/2 T olive oil, divided
2 1/4 cup flour (I used unbleached all-purpose)
3/4 tsp salt
a couple tsp each of sesame seeds, caraway seeds, and coarse sea salt
Proof your yeast in a small bowl with the 3/4 cup water and sugar. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt, then stir in 2 T of the olive oil and the yeast mixture. Stir to combine, gradually working it into a dough. Keep in mind that these are crackers, so the dough will be dryer than you may be accustomed to. Add the couple T of water if you feel it’s just way too dry.
Knead your dough for a good ten minutes. This is probably where you’ll see better if you need a little more liquid or not. Oil a clean bowl and form your dough into a nice ball. Roll the dough around in the oiled bowl, then cover and let rise for an hour or so.
Now, punch down your dough, turn it out onto a floured work surface, and knead again for five minutes. Cut the dough into several smaller pieces (I think I had 12,) and roll each of them into a little ball. Place on an oiled baking sheet and allow to rise once more, this time for about 30 minutes. Turn on your oven to 400 F and line a clean baking sheet with parchment paper.
After the balls have doubled in size, roll each one out on a clean, floured work surface to about 1/8″ thick. Rub a little olive oil on the dough. Sprinkle with either sesame and salt or caraway and salt, then roll again in order to smoosh the seasoning into the dough. Stab each circle with a fork all over, which will help the steam escape and keep the crackers from puffing up. At this point, I used a pizza cutter to cut the dough into the cracker shapes, but use whatever method you like. Place the crackers on the baking sheet — you don’t really have to worry about giving them much space. Bake for about 8-10 minutes, until the corners are golden. Allow to cool on a wire rack completely before storing.
Et voila! These are pretty darn crunchy, but they taste great. Actually, they’re pretty easy, and for a yeast novice like me, nearly fool-proof. I would love to try again, subbing in a little chickpea flour or upping the seasoning content. Please let me know if you try your hand at crackers, too!
P.S. The weird dip I made for these, which I’m calling not-hummus, involved white beans, soaked cashews, lemon, salt, and garlic.