Daring Bakers September



Daring Bakers September, originally uploaded by lclea.

Wow, thank God for the Daring Bakers, I actually got in another post This is the September challenge, lavash. It’s crackers and mine aren’t pristine, they are rustic. I love rustic, it covers a whole host of sins. Where’s the dip the challenge asked us to make? It’s in the fridge, chilling, it’s a dip that needs to be icy cold. Oh ye of little faith, trust me it’s in there and it’s spectacular.

As for school, I have my first midterm Wednesday night. Wish me luck.

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Lavash
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. For Non Gluten Free Cracker Dough: 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 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.

or

2. For Gluten Free Cracker Dough: 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 Non Gluten Free Cracker Dough: 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.

or

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 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.

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.

out the back door

out the back door, originally uploaded by lclea.

So I’ve be MIA for the past two weeks or so. That gave you plenty of time to view my “lovely” cream puffs. Ah, those were the days. I finally moved my pictures and my photoshop to the new computer, and I have an extra 10 minutes (not really), so I thought I would check in.

If you were wondering, getting your PhD is a lot of work. It’s been a while since I’ve been in school and it’s a definite shock to the system. I read about 12 readings a week on a variety of topics and have homework ranging from stats problems to papers critiquing the stuff I’ve been reading and class presentations, oh and then there’s the 20 hours a week as a research assistant. Yes, I said stuff, I intend to use absolutely no fancy schmacy shop talk here. There is also a whole campus/social work culture that I’m learning. I’m also learning that I can do this. It takes work and a lot of time, but I guess I’m sort of smart. Oh, granted I just started, but I’ve gotten over my first bought of “they let me in by mistake”, and am actually getting everything done. I have no other life, but the work gets done. Oh and I did the wrong readings today for my national policy class, maybe I’m not so smart…

This is a fall view out my back door. Lots of crickets (good luck, but hard to catch and release when they get inside), grasshoppers and spiders, and I hear the rodent population is planning an attack when the weather gets cooler, but right now it’s good.

And I’m procrastinating. I will shoot for a couple of posts a week, right now I have to get back to crunching numbers for a position piece my faculty partner and I will be using to convince an organization to let us research up their clients. Laissez les bons temps rouler.