I was going to begin this with my usual, “where did month go?” but |I had to change it to, “where is my motivation?”. Don’t get me wrong, I cook and bake everyday (well, I cook everyday and bake 2-3 times a week), it’s just that my desire to write about a recipe is just not there. Maybe it’s the dark winter nights, but by 8pm I just want to crawl into bed with my husband and a good book (I’m reading The Orphan Master’s Son right now). I really only have time to sit at the computer after my little girl goes to sleep and I just have had no motivation to stay in the kitchen and type away. I have been baking up some nice things though… Banana bread with pecans, Cornflake crunch-marshmallow-chocolate chip cookies, Brioche, Ciabatta, Blueberry-meyer lemon fruit crisp with honey-sour cream ice cream, and these…
individual chocolate cakes layered with raspberries and creme fraiche whipped cream. They are encased with chocolate sheets and drizzled with raspberry coulis. There were six cakes made altogether and made for the perfect dessert to a dinner party with friends. The cake itself was vegan and one day I will get around to posting the recipe. Just not now.
With all that said, it is the end of the month and time for the Daring Baker’s Challenge! Thank goodness that I love participating every month and that at least I am forced to do one post. Yahoo! Our host this month is Sarah from All Our Fingers in the Pie. She has challenged everyone to make crisp crackers and/or flatbread. Who doesn’t love a crispy cracker?? well, maybe someone without teeth, but luckily I still have all my chompers! My first thought was raincoast crackers since I make them quite often, but decided to go with something different since I didn’t have any buttermilk in the house at the time. What I did have though was flour, and water, and… well, you don’t need anything else…. for matzoh! And to be perfectly honest, I was planning on doing 2 or 3 crackers but I ended up baking matzoh four times this month! I forgot how much I like these and because they are so easy, delicious and addictive (seriously).
This is one of those ridiculously easy recipes but they are sooooo much better than those cardboard things in the store (which I can’t even find here in Calgary). A few things to note: you oven must be hot before you start baking, so turn it on to 450F at least 45 minutes before you start. A baking stone is also very useful. Place it in your cold oven before turning it on; this ensures your stone has enough time to heat up and so that your stone doesn’t crack. If you don’t have a baking stone use a large baking sheet instead. Just make sure that you place it in the cold oven and let it heat up the entire 45+ minutes. These only take a few minutes to cook and it needs that hot surface to do so. You will also need a rolling-pin so you can roll out your dough paper-thin. If you have one of those fancy pastry dockers, then this is the time to break it out. I don’t so I use the tines of a fork instead. Works great and takes about 10 seconds longer. You don’t get that perfectly even docked effect that you see on store-bought versions but who wants store-bought anyway? Not me. Oh, and you will need another flat baking sheet to act as a pizza peel to transfer the uncooked matzoh into the oven, Unless you own a pizza peel. I do not, and I seem to manage just fine with a rimless baking sheet as my trusty substitute. One day I will have dream kitchen with room for all of my fun toys…
You can change this up anyway you like. A wonderful presentation is to very lightly brush the cooked and cooled matzoh with some olive oil that has been seasoned with fresh garlic, a pinch of salt and finely minced parsley. Just break off pieces and place in a small bowl while entertaining; your guests will go wild over this. You could also replace some of the white flour with whole wheat flour (just add a touch more water). One of my favorites is to add 1/4 cup of sesame seeds to the dough (as seen in these pictures) but I am sure that flax seeds would be just as tasty. Or dried herbs. How about 1/2 teaspoon of chipotle powder? Mmmm….. Bake On!
Preheat your oven to 450F and place a baking stone or baking sheet in the center of the oven. Let the oven and stone/sheet preheat for 45 minutes.
1 3/4 Cups (about 7 oz) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
3/4 Cup (6 oz) water, room temperature
(another variation is to substitute some of the water with a little oil)
Place the flour into a large mixing bowl. If you want to add seeds or spices/herbs, stir into the flour now. Make a well in the center of your flour and slowly add the water , stirring with a large wooden spoon until the dough comes together. You might need a bit more water depending on where you live and the weather. Knead for 3 or 4 minutes (either by hand or stand mixer w/dough attachment). The dough should be slightly tacky. Cover with a clean tea towel and set aside for 5 minutes.
Generously flour you work surface. Take the dough and divide it into 10 pieces. Working with one piece at a time, roll it out as thinly as you can. You should almost be able to see through the dough. Sprinkle flour over the surface as you do this to prevent it from sticking. With the tines of a fork (or a docking tool) prick the matzoh all over to dock it. Pick the matzoh up and place it onto a flat (rimless) baking sheet. Open the oven and quickly transfer the matzoh onto the hot baking stone. Bake the matzoh for about 3 to 4 minutes. Check after two minutes as ovens differ. They will be light colored with some brown bits and bubbly all over. I use a pair of tongs to remove the matzoh so I don’t have to keep the oven door open long. Repeat with the remaining dough until all are baked. Let them cool completely. They will get crispier as they cool. If you can, wait until the next day to eat them. Enjoy!!
recipe source: A Bakers Odyssey by Greg Patent (fantastic book)