Whenever I get asked what my favorite meal is, I respond “cheese and crackers and olives” without hesitation. I wish I could survive off of that combination alone, but alas, we must eat a balanced diet. If you’ve never had lavash crackers before – I had but didn’t know what they were – they’re larger crackers/crisps that snap when bitten. They’re surprisingly easy to make and don’t require any crazy ingredients (bar toppings) you shouldn’t already have.
Unlike a lot of other recipes on this site, these don’t require the use of any electric mixer. This does mean you’re going to get a little workout while making them, though. I spent a good 12+ minutes kneading the dough, but hey, that counted as a forearm workout for me! Be sure to push through and really get the dough nice supple and smooth. You won’t be able to get the dough paper-thin if you don’t develop the gluten enough. Gluten develops as the dough is kneaded, and can be checked with the windowpane test.
Tips on Rolling Out Dough
Always Roll from the Center Out
Probably the most important thing to remember when rolling any dough out is to roll from the center. This means placing your rolling pin in the center of the dough, rolling in one direction, then placing the pin back on the center and rolling in the opposite direction. This will help your final shape be more uniform; keep a consistent thickness; and avoid creases.
Keep Things Moving
Most recipes that involve rolling out dough are going to require you to dust the counter with flour, or use some other kind of medium to avoid sticking to the surface. This recipe uses a combination of oil on the board and flour on the dough to avoid sticking. However, you still need to make sure you are moving the dough every now and again. For circles – like pie crusts – you should be rotating the dough a quarter every time you do one complete roll out from the center. These crackers also require you to lift the dough to help with sticking. More delicate doughs shouldn’t be completely lifted off the table, though.
Make Sure Your Dough is the Correct Temperature
Every dough is different. Bread doughs like this one need to be at room temperature (usually) in order to get a good roll. The gluten is more relaxed while warm; trying to roll a dough like this out straight from the fridge would be a nightmare. On the other hand, something laden with fat, like a puff pastry, shouldn’t be allowed to warm up. The fats inside the dough will begin to melt and your final product will be far from flaky.
- 1 1/2 cups bread flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp yeast
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1/3–1/2 cup water, room temperature
- Poppy seeds, sesame seeds, paprika, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, or kosher salt for topping
- In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, salt, yeast, honey, oil, and just enough water to bring everything together into a ball. You may not need the full half cup 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 pass the windowpane test. 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 with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
- Ferment at room temperature for 90 minutes, or until the dough doubles in size.
- Mist the counter lightly with 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 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 parchment paper. 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 over to 350°F 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. Be careful with spices; a little goes a long way. If you want precut crackers, use a pizza cutter 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 until the crackers begin to brown evenly across the top, about 15 to 20 minutes depending on the thinness of the dough and how evenly you rolled it out.
- 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 from Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice.
Yields 1 sheet of crackers.