Sunday, September 28, 2008

Gluten-free Lavash & Quick Apple Chutney

This month's Daring Bakers September Challenge was a simple formula for making snappy Armenian-style crackers, perfect for breadbaskets, company and kids: lavash. Because there was a gluten-free option for this recipe and I've been dying to try my brown rice flour, I made the gluten-free version with a chunky apple and shallot chutney for dipping the crackers.

I ended up liking my chutney, but not so much the crackers. I'm not sure if it was the flour I used or the recipe, but the result was a rather flavorless cracker. Though it did have lots of snap to it and held up well to dips, I'm not sure I would try making it again. Sorry. And with that rave review. . . the recipes.

Quick Apple Chutney
Makes 1/2 cup

1/2 tsp olive oil (I used lemon-scented)
1 small shallot, diced
1 or 2 apples, peeled and diced
3-4 T water
big pinch cinnamon
small pinch dried lemon zest
small pinch salt

Add oil to a small saucepan over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add apples and onions and stir occasionally, cooking until softened. This part takes about 10 minutes. Then add in the water, cinnamon, zest and salt, and turn the burner down to low. Let simmer another 10 minutes and then serve warm or at room temperature.

Gluten-Free Lavash
Makes 1 sheet pan of crackers

* 1-1/2 cups brown rice flour
• 1 tsp xanthan
* 1/2 tspsalt
* 1/2 tsp instant yeast
* 1 Tb sugar
* 1 Tb vegetable oil
* 1/3 to 1/2 cup + 2 Tb water, at room temperature
* Sprinkle of cinnamon for top

1. In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, salt yeast, sugar, 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. The dough should be firmer than French bread dough, but not quite as firm as bagel dough (what I call medium-firm dough), and slightly tacky. 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. For Gluten Free Cracker Dough: Lay out two sheets of parchment paper. Divide the cracker dough in half and then sandwich the dough between the two sheets of parchment. Roll out the dough until it is a paper thin sheet about 15 inches by 12 inches. Slowly peel away the top layer of parchment paper. Then set the bottom layer of parchment paper with the cracker dough on it onto a baking sheet.

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 cinnamon on top. 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.

RECIPE - Recipe Reference: The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering The Art of Extraordinary Bread, by Peter Reinhart. Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, CA. Copyright 2001. ISBN-10: 1-58008-268-8, ISBN-13: 978-158008-268-6.

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