Saturday, September 27, 2008


The Daring Bakers challenge this month was to make Lavash Crackers and create a dip/spread/salsa/relish to accompany it. Our host was Natalie and co-host Shel. Please check out their websites as well as the other Daring Bakers Sites to find a variety of ideas. Part of the challenge was to make them gluten free if we chose to. Mine are not gluten free. Soon I will experiment with gluten free but for now I made them with flour as I needed a new item for a bread basket at work this season.

I made Black & White Sesame Seed Lavash with Chili Dip. I also sprinkled Fleur de Sel and Cayenne Pepper on my Lavash.

The recipe for the basic lavash was from 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.

The recipe for the Chili Dip was from a friend of mine Phillis Carey. She is a cooking teacher extraordinarie!!

The key to a crisp lavash, 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
1/2 Teasppon (.13 oz) Salt
1/2 Teaspoon (.055 oz) Instant Yeast
1 Tablespoon (.75 oz) Sugar
1 Tablespoon (.5 oz) Vegetable Oil
3 to 4 Ounces Water (at room temperature)
White Sesame Seeds
Black Sesame Seeds
Fleur de Sel
Cayenne Pepper
1. In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, salt, yeast, sugar, oil, and just enough water to bring everything together into a ball.

2. Sprinkle some flour on the counter and transfer the dough to the counter. Knead for about 20 minutes, or until the ingredients are evenly distributed. The dough should pass the windowpane test (see for a discription 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. 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. If you have a pasta machine take small pieces of the dough and pass it through the machine, starting at 1 and stopping at 6. 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 with the oven rack on the middle shelf. Mist the top of the dough with water and sprinkle a covering of both black and white sesame seeds, fleur de sel and cayenne. Be careful with the cayenne and fleur de sel - a little goes a long way. If you want to precut the cracker, use a pizza cutter (rolling blade) and cut 1 1/4" wide strips 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 12 to 18 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.
3/4 Cup Mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon Rice Wine Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Chili Paste with Garlic
1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
1 Teaspoon Toasted Sesame Oil
1 Tablespoon Minced Fresh Ginger
1 Tablespoon Sugar

In a small bowl combine all the ingredients, and whisk to blend well. Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight. Serve with crackers and/or vegetables.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


Another recipe I got from the World Pastry Forum is this one from John Kraus from the French Pastry School.
I used some beautiful in season raspberries and some rose water that was given to me by Nielsen-Massey.
I have served it on scones and as an additional flavor element to plated desserts. Here is the recipe:
1100g Fresh Raspberries or IQF Raspberries
1000g Sugar
2g Sea Salt
20g Apple Pectin (Patisfrance)
1 Bourbon Vanilla Bean (seeds scraped out)
10g Rose Water
Combine raspberries, 900g sugar, sea salt and vanilla bean seeds and pod in a heavy duty saucepan and let set out covered over night.
The next day bring the mixture to a boil.
Mix 100g sugar and pectin together. Add to boiling mixture and stir to incorporate.
Add rose water and stir. Continue to boil for 3 more minutes.
Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
Put the cooled mixture in a storage container and keep it refrigerated.
Since it is not canned you should use it within a couple of weeks.

Sunday, September 07, 2008


I just returned from the World Pastry Forum in Nashville, Tennessee. It was 5 days of classes and 2 days of the International Pastry Competition. USA won Gold, Japan won Silver, and Switzerland won Bronze.
My first class was taught by Ciril Hitz and the first item I chose to recreate at home was Chocolate Danish Dough. I made the cinnamon rolls out of this dough. It is a three day process to develop the dough and the flavor but well worth the effort. The finished product is crispy on the outside and soft in the middle. The chocolate is complimented by cardamom in the dough and cinnamon sugar in the middle and outside of the rolls.
Croissants can also be made out of this dough and of course danish pastry.
Here is the original recipe with the ingredients I used next to each item. I halved this recipe so that it would fit in a 6 quart mixer. One word of caution: watch your mixer carefully so it doesn't get too hot. This is a very stiff dough and I would suggest removing it from the mixer after the first slow clean up stage and finish kneading it by hand.* This recipe was originally designed to be mixed in a professional 20 quart mixer.

Chocolate Danish Dough
Bread Flour 1600g (3 lb. 8.43 oz.) I used Unbleached Bread Flour King Arthur
Cocoa Powder 100g (3.5 oz.) I used Valrhona
Milk, whole 850g (1 lb. 13.9 oz.)
Eggs, whole 200g (7 oz.)
Granulated Sugar 200g (7 oz.)
Salt 32g (1.12 oz) I used Kosher
Yeast, instant 20g (1.76 oz) I used active dry yeast
Cardamom, ground 1 to 2g (.03 oz)
Unsalted Butter, 83% butterfat 44g (1.55 oz.) I used Plugra

Day 1:
1. Place all of the above ingredients in a 20 quart bowl. Mix on first speed until clean up stage (when the sides of the mixing bowl are clean, about 4 minutes).
2. *Start mixing dough on speed 2 for additional 30 seconds.
3. Cover so no crust forms on the dough and allow 2 hours for fermentation at room temperature.
4. Place dough in a rectangular shape on a parchment lined sheet pan, cover in plastic, and place in refrigerator overnight.
5. Prepare butter block.

Butter Block
Unsalted Butter, 83% butterfat 770g (1 lb. 11.15 oz.) I used Plugra
Vanilla Bean 1 each

Split the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds.
Using a paddle attachment, combine vanilla bean seeds and butter in a mixer.
Create a butter block for lamination using parchment paper packet and place in refrigerator overnight.

Day 2:
1. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place dough in freezer for 30 minutes.
2. Remove butter block from refrigerator and, using a rolling pin, work the butter to a pliable, playdough-like consistency. The butter block and the dough need to be the same consistency.
3. Remove dough from the freezer and roll out to 1/4" thickness.
4. Roll in the butter block and give two tri-folds right away.
5. Cover and place dough into freezer to rest for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove from freezer and give an additional tri-fold.
6. Cover and place dough in the freezer for another 30 minutes.
7. Remove dough from freezer and place into the refrigerator overnight.

Day 3:
1. Remove dough from the refrigerator and place into the freezer for 30 - 40 minutes.
2. Remove the dough from the freezer and roll out to 1/8".
3. Spray with a little water and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar mixture.
4. Roll into a log and cut into desired size pieces and place into sprayed muffin tins.
5. Cover and let rise 2 1/2 hours.
6. Bake in a 350 - 360 degree F. convection oven for about 15 - 18 minutes.
7. Roll in cinnamon and sugar. Let cool and enjoy.

To reheat these rolls the next day just put them in a 300 degree oven for 10 minutes. They crisp up perfectly.