Saturday, September 27, 2008

Fruit, florals and my 2nd Daring Bakers challenge

You might have noticed I like to play around with the macro function of my snappy little camera and invade the privacy of flowers and fruits. Here are a couple of examples of the inner chambers of tulips.




To me, there's something fascinating about close-up peering at petals, stamens and the seedy centres of fruit. Here (below) are gooseberries and hydrangeas.


The gooseberry is quite sweet but kind of funny to eat. As the skin is hairy, I don't want to eat it, so I peel off a bit of skin and squeeze out the insides into my mouth. Mmm.


On to my next Daring Bakers challenge. It's lavash! Nice to have a savoury challenge. It's quite simple to make.

Allow me to quote the hosts, Natalie of Gluten A Go Go and Shel of Musings From The Fishbowl:

"The key to a crisp lavash is to roll out the dough paper-thin. The sheet can be cut into crackers in advance or snapped into shards after baking. The shards make a nice presentation when arranged in baskets."

Makes 1 sheet pan of crackers

* 1 1/2 cups (6.75 oz) unbleached bread flour or gluten free flour blend (If you use a blend without xanthan gum, add 1 tsp xanthan or guar gum to the recipe)
* 1/2 tsp (.13 oz) salt
* 1/2 tsp (.055 oz) instant yeast
* 1 Tb (.75 oz) agave syrup or sugar
* 1 Tb (.5 oz) vegetable oil
* 1/3 to 1/2 cup + 2 Tb (3 to 4 oz) 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. You may not need the full 1/2 cup + 2 Tb of water, but be prepared to use it all if needed.

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 (see http://www.wikihow.com/Determine-if-Bre … ong-Enough for a description of this) and register 77 degrees to 81 degrees Fahrenheit. The dough should be firmer than French bread dough, but not quite as firm as bagel dough (what I call medium-firm dough), 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. (You can also retard the dough overnight in the refrigerator immediately after kneading or mixing).

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. 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 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 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 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 (such as alternating rows of poppy seeds, sesame seeds, paprika, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, kosher or pretzel salt, etc.) Be careful with spices and salt - a little goes a long way. 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.

6. 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).

7. 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.




I topped my lavash with swathes of powdered cumin, poppyseeds, sea salt and garlic. We were asked to make vegan dips, so I did mine with avocado and tomato mixed with cumin, salt, pepper, garlic and lime juice. I also had on hand homemade grapefruit-orange marmalade, which, surprisingly, went quite well with the non-salty bits of lavash.

38 comments:

Aparna said...

Your pictures are very pretty.
Loved the colours of the avocado dip.
I also found crackers pair up well with slightly sweet dips/ relishes.

My Food Safari said...

The flowers are so colorful and clear. I didn't realise that posting date is today. Thought I still have this weekend. Will try to make mine tomorrow. I was also glad that it's savoury this time.

Passionate About Baking said...

Bee-yoo-ti-ful macros...I love the macro function in the camera more than anything else. You obviously have a great camera & an eye for detail...very very pretty close-ups. Great DB challenge too.The dip is delicious looking. YUM!!

Argus Lou said...

Hi, Aparna. Thanks for dropping by. And thank you for your kind comments.

MFSafari, no long time no see. Did you visit M'sia after all? It's a good thing I double-checked a few days ago and was surprised to see posting date is today.

PABaking, thanks! I only have a tiny digital instamatic Canon, the aperture and shutter speed of which I cannot control, so I can't do blurred backgrounds for food pics (*sigh*). Yes, the avocado dip is yummy - my other half pours it down his throat. ^_^

fatboybakes said...

ARGY, your crackers look soooo yummy!!! mine pale in comparison, although they're literally darker...

hahaah, myfoodsafari slacking eh!!! wonder how many of our countrymen are doing this.

Argus Lou said...

Thanks, FBB. I just saw your highly tanned ones and your beauty of a hip-shimmying salsa.

Now it's a 'race' among you, MyFoodSafari and me to see who will drop out first, ha ha. Would you care to check out the first half the blogroll of Daring Bakers to see if anymore are Malaysian? I'll take the second half but it might take me a year to finish (and then the members grow exponentially).

fatboybakes said...

haha. hey, next time bring back some homemade grapefruit marmie. actually i dont mind trying to make, but does one need to use pectin, or is that a natural excretion from the fruit? (i very lazy to source around for all these funny funny ingredients).

i was also gonna try some avocado based dip, but remembered you had done so...so went for local.

Argus Lou said...

FBB, the membranes and seeds (don't discard them when you cut) of the citrus fruit contain pectin, so you don't need anything other than sugar. Then you boil the living daylights out of the mixture (sugar 80-90 percent of the weight of the fruit) on low heat for about 2 hours. Then carefully ladle into clean dry jars with metal covers leaving 1cm headroom. Cover n leave to cool. I feel better storing the jars in the fridge after that, but apparently you don't hafta.

If you don't like your marmie so bitter, first take off (and reserve) the peel with a potato peeler and then discard HALF of the white covering underneath. I suggest cutting the orange peel finer than the grapefruit peel 'coz the orange peel takes forever to get soft (like it had taken viagra or something).

Lianne said...

I´ve just had my first taste of gooseberries yesterday and it was interestingly SOUR hahaha and congrats on your entry to Daring Baker Challenge! I´m kinda keen to participate in the next one, hence, can you help me on how to go about it? I know their blog site are blocked for members only huh ...

Argus Lou said...

Hi, Lianne. Would love to have you join DB as well. Then we can compare notes with FBB and my ex-classmate MyFoodSafari who lives in Melbourne.

Part of the DB forum is open to the public. See here for how to join:
http://www.thedaringbakers.com/kitchen/viewtopic.php?id=6

Alexa said...

Beautiful looking lavash crackers! The jam looks so lovely and so does the avocado dip...I love the flavors.

Argus Lou said...

Thanks, Alexa, for your generous comments. Today I made them again and they're delish. :-)

Bumblebutton said...

Love those tulips! Your lavash looks terrific, and I am especially jealous of your marmelade...yum!

Argus Lou said...

Hi, Bumblebutton. Love your name! ^_^ Thanks for coming by and commenting. The marmalade is easily made. Try it (see a couple of comments above).

fatboybakes said...

args, i love bitter marmie. thanks, will try it. is it very expensive to boil something for two hours?

Argus Lou said...

FBB, I try not to think about it. Cook and be happy. ^_^

Shari@Whisk: a food blog said...

Your close-up photos are beautiful. I love the idea of grapefruit-orange marmalade with these crackers!

Argus Lou said...

Thanks, Shari. The softness of the grapefruit peel was a surprise to me.

Clumbsy Cookie said...

What a wonderful job you did on your 2nd challenge! They're great!

Life for Beginners said...

"...and invade the privacy of flowers and fruits."

Yes, well. Lucky flowers and fruits, then. ;)

As for the lavash, nice to contrast both yours and FBB's: I'd love to taste both... different and good in their own ways. Fabulous Bakers, you two! :)

Jude said...

the avocado dip looks awesome -- bright red and green just screams delicious to me.

Argus Lou said...

Thanks, Clumbsy Cookie. Yours has inspired me no end.

Kenny, are you inviting me to invade your privacy? (!) Have you seen the Fabulous Baker Boys starring the delectable Michelle Pfeiffer and the Bridges brothers?

Jude, thank you. Your lavash are just magnificent.

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

Wah point and shoot can take such good macros hor! Your lavash looks a little different from FBB's. I think lavashes resemble the people who make them.

Argus Lou said...

Lemonygrasskirt, harharhar! Thanks. You make the funniest remarks. Didn't know FBB is tanned and crispy these days. :)

Life for Beginners said...

*shares a look with fatboybakes*

One can only imagine what lavash made by Lyrical Lemongrass would look like.

Argus Lou said...

All shapely, spicy, yummy and tanned?

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

LOL. You mean extra large. hahaha.

Dharm said...

Nice to see a fellow Malaysian! Great Lavash!

Argus Lou said...

Lyrical, you'll add some cleavage to your lemongrassy lavash, too, I'm sure.

Dharm, thanks for visiting and your kind words.

fatboybakes said...

hahah, wat rarbish tok AWOL, lavash like the ppl who made em? well, mine WERE bubbly i guess. ahem,.

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

Exactly, FBB!! That's what I meant. Correct wat.

Argus Lou said...

(*ponders - mine kinda neat, pale and boring, ugh*)
I'd better stay outta this 'fight', methinks!

Lisa Michelle said...

Love the layout of your site, the photos and of course, the lavash and that tasty looking and sounding grapefruit and nectarine dip along with the avocado dip. Very well done!

Argus Lou said...

Thanks, Lisa Michelle. No nectarines, only orange with the grapefruit. :-)
Just saw your glamorous-looking lavash and your great nori topping idea. Wonderful!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

You did a great job! Those lavash Crackers and dips look scrumptious!

Thanks for passing by! Yes, Zug isn't far away from Geneva...

Cheers,

Rosa

Argus Lou said...

Hi, Rosa. Thanks for visiting and your kind comments. We're practically neighbours!

Rebecca said...

The grapefruit marmalade sounds great, and your lavash look so pretty!

Argus Lou said...

Rebecca, hello! Thank you.

My old living-room

My old living-room
In Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

A cherished dream

A cherished dream
To live on a pale beach by a crystal clear sea. (This was taken on the east coast of Johor state, Malaysia.)

slideshowtime