The silly season is almost upon us - how did that happen?! With that in mind, we wanted to give you a recipe that will help grease the post-lockdown rusty wheels of socialising and hospitality.
Homemade Lavash - or flatbread crackers are a quietly genius way to spruce up your cheese platter. They also make the perfect offering to take to holiday get-togethers, and they're a lovely gift for friends, colleagues and school teachers. To the receiver they have the sparkly allure of being an impressively complicated thing to make, but they're really not! Whether you're a novice in the kitchen or an old-hand, Lavash crackers require a very small set of both skills and ingredients.
Let's do this.
Makes about 36 crackers
1 cup plain/all purpose flour (150g)
Pinch of salt
3 tbsp olive oil
¼ cup water
Preheat the oven to 200c (180c fan-forced) and set aside 2 baking trays, lined with baking paper.
In a mixing bowl, combine plain flour and salt. Make a well in the centre.
Add 2 tbsp of olive oil and the water to the well, and mix gradually until you have what's known as a shaggy dough (lumpy but well mixed with no dry spots). If it looks a little dry add more water 1 tsp at a time. Form the dough into a rough ball then turn it out onto a lightly floured surface.
Knead the dough a little with the heels of your hands to make it pliable and elastic - about 2 minutes.
Divide dough roughly into three portions. Roll out each portion as thinly as you can - about 1-2 mm thick. I find it easier to do this by putting the dough between 2 pieces of baking paper. Keep the surfaces dusted with flour as you go (if not rolling between baking paper).
Using a sharp knife, or better yet a pizza cutter, cut dough into your desired shapes (long strips, squares etc) then place them on the baking trays. You don't want them to overlap, but they also won't spread as they cook, so no need to space them.
Using a pastry brush, brush the remaining olive oil (1 tablespoon) evenly over the surface of the crackers, then sprinkle them with a little salt.
Bake for 6-10 minutes, or until golden brown. Then turn the oven off and leave the crackers on their trays in the oven while it cools. This allows them to really dry out and maintain their crunchiness.
Kept in an airtight container, they'll stay fresh for 2-3 weeks.
PIMP MY RECIPE You can sprinkle so many things on lavash to really make them sing!
Just before you pop them in the oven, and after you've brushed them with olive oil and sprinkled a little salt, you can add all manner of seeds and seasonings:
MIX, WAIT, SHAPE & BAKE. That's all that's required for the most beautiful, golden crusty homemade loaf. Your nearest and dearest will think you've spent weeks nurturing a starter then half a day kneading and resting the dough. There is no need to tell them that you produced this wondrous bread on a spur of the moment whim, or that it took a mere 10-15 mins of your time to put together.
Your secret is safe with us.
Prep time: 15min (+2 hrs for rising)
Bake time: 40min
3 cups (450g) plain bakers flour
2 tsp instant yeast
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp diastatic malt powder
1.5 cups (375 ml) of very warm water. Not super hot, not tepid. Think lovely bath water temperature. (50°c is perfect if you have a thermometer).
Extra flour for dusting.
Mix flour, malt, yeast, and salt in a mixing bowl. Add water, then stir with spatula or wooden spoon until combined. Dough will be a splattery, gooey mucky mess – too wet to knead but not as runny as a batter. You may need to add a splash more water to get the right consistency.
Cover the bowl with wax wrap, cling film or plate. Now leave it somewhere warm to rise for about 2 hours, after which it will have doubled in volume. If it's not rising, move it somewhere warmer.
Place a dutch oven or casserole pot with a lid on into your cold oven. Turn on and heat the oven to 230°c (210°c fan forced). This also will preheat the dutch oven/casserole dish at the same time.
While it's heating shape the dough:
Place a large square of baking paper on your work surface and sprinkle a scattering of flour over it. Scrape the sticky dough out onto it using a spatula or scraper. Sprinkle a little more flour over the dough. Use your scraper or spatula to fold the sides of the dough in on itself to form a roundish mound. It doesn't have to look perfect; in fact the less smooth and round, the crunchier the crust!
Remove the piping hot dutch oven/casserole pot from the oven. Remove the lid. Lift corners of paper to place dough into the pot, paper and all. Place the lid on and put it in the oven.
Bake 30 minutes covered, then 10 minutes uncovered or until golden and crispy.
Cool on rack for 30 minutes before slicing. If you can. No judgement from us if you start whittling away at it immediately.
PIMP MY RECIPE