I’ll be honest, I’m not sure this is even lavash. I found this recipe a while ago on a search for an easy, flavorful cracker. I’ve made them a couple of times, but it wasn’t until today that I looked up what lavash actually is. According to Google and Wikipedia, lavash ought to be an unleavened flatbread. These crackers are made of a stretchy, yeasted dough; rolled paper thin and topped with spices and seasonings, then baked until it’s crisp, brown, and breaks into the most wonderfully uneven shapes when snapped. The yeastiness is one strike against these crackers being true to their name (though I’ve seen a couple recipes that call for it, so who knows). No matter what you call them, though, these are pretty tasty.
I have made crackers before, and I think these are my favorites when it comes to texture. Maybe because of the yeast or the kneading, the texture is light and crisp, and makes the perfect flavor canvas for showing off the dusting of spices across the top. We ate these just as they are, but I’ll bet they would be excellent with a little hummus or tapenade on the side.
Lavash Crackers – Makes 4 large crackers (4″x 16″ or so)
Adapted from The Bread Bakers Apprentice
1 1/2 c. all purpose flour
1/2 t. instant yeast
1/2 t. salt
1 (scant) T. sugar
1 T. olive oil
~1/2 c. lukewarm water
Assorted herbs and spices, to top
Mix the flour, yeast, salt, and sugar in a medium bowl. Stir in the oil, and gradually add the water, until the dough comes together into a ball. You might not need the whole 1/2 cup, but I used it all, plus a couple extra tablespoons. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 7-10 minutes, until it is elastic enough to pass the windowpane test (best dough-making trick I’ve ever learned).
Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a damp cloth, and let it sit in a draft-free place for an hour and a half, until it has doubled.
Press the air out of the dough, and divide it into 4 parts. Roll each portion out until it is paper thin and almost translucent, either on a lightly floured surface or cloth, or with a pasta machine (my preferred method). Gently transfer the dough to parchment-lined baking sheets (2 crackers per sheet). Now for the best part: lightly sprinkle or brush the dough with a little water, and top it with a sprinkle of salt and whatever herbs or spices strike your fancy. Some that I have used are coriander, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, cayenne, caraway, and berbere seasoning. Sesame and poppy seeds are a very traditional topping, too. My favorite is a combination or coriander, garlic powder, and onion powder; the crackers with coriander, onion, and caraway come in at a close second. If you make these, please comment with your favorite toppings!
Bake the crackers at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes, until they are golden brown and crisp. I would recommend rotating them halfway through, and checking them towards the end of the baking time – there is a fine line between perfectly browned, and burned, when you’re baking something that’s so wafer thin.