Well I have been up to a little kitchen experimentation, lately. First I wanted to tackle another batch of Fromage Blanc made with goat milk. The last time I made it , after draining it for 12 hours, I gave the cheese cloth a bit of a heavy handed squeeze which resulted in a dry and crumbly sort of cheese. I liked it. It was good for stirring in eggs and other dishes. However this time I was hoping to yield a softer more spreadable cheese. Basically I followed the same procedure as last time , except that I used pasteurized goat milk, instead of raw, let the cheese drain for about 15 hours (instead of 12) and did not squeeze the bag. It came out perfectly! Wonderful and creamy and perfect to spread on crackers…except there were no crackers!
That was an easy fix. I have been wanting to play with some of the recipes from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day: 100 New Recipes Featuring Whole Grains, Fruits, Vegetables, and Gluten-Free Ingredients. Jeff and Zoe, along with Monica from their publishing company, St. Martin’s Press, are generously hosting 2 months of giveaways of this book on Foodieblogroll.com! I was lucky enough to receive a copy of the book from Monica and really wanted to get baking. I was particularly interested in the gluten-free breads. So I was delighted to find a gluten free version of the Olive Oil bread, I use so often from their first book, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking. The gluten free recipe called for soy flour, and I have a soy sensitivity and I didn’t have rice flour on hand either. So I decided to make a modified version, using what I had available – since I really wanted to enjoy some cheese & crackers.
These crackers are not gluten free, but what I call transitional crackers. Although you could make them gluten free by using rice flour in place of the WW flour. I used kefir and raw apple cider vinegar to soak local whole wheat Vermont flour – from a farm we visited in Vermont this fall and then used garbanzo bean flour to cut down on some of the grains in this cracker. The garbanzo bean flour had a very strong smell and so I really wasn’t sure how it would turn out if I used exclusively garbanzo flour. I used over half of the dough to make crackers, and then used the other part to make a small loaf of bread. The bread was not great, but the crackers were wonderful! The bean flavor in the flour really complimented the nice crispy crackers. Here is my recipe inspired by both Gluten- Free Olive Oil Bread and Gluten-Free Cheddar and Sesame Crackers from Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day.
Seedy Garbanzo Crackers (NOT Gluten-free)
1 ½ TBS yeast
1 TBS sea salt
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp raw apple cider vinegar
2 large organic eggs
½ cup of homemade kefir
2 cups filtered water
3 cups whole wheat flour
3 cups garbanzo bean flour
½ cup corn starch
Cracker toppings: seeds: white or black sesame, fennel, flax, etc, salt, za’atar spice or any other spices or dried herbs you like.
1) Whisk together flours, cornstarch, yeast and salt, and put in a large lidded bowl.
2) Combine all the liquid ingredients and gradually mix with the dry ingredients using a spoon, or 14 cup food processor.
3) Cover (not airtight) and allow the dough to rest at room temperature for at least2 hours, but better for those with grain intolerance, to let it rest for 12 hours and up to 24 hours.
4) The dough can be used immediately after its initial rise or you can refrigerate in the lidded container and use it over the next 7 days. The flavor will be better if you wait for at least 24 hours of refrigeration.
On Baking Day:
1) Thirty minutes before baking time preheat the oven to 400 F.
2) Cut off an orange sized piece of dough, place dough on a piece of parchment paper or a silicone mat. Then cover with more parchment paper or plastic wrap. Use a rolling pin and roll until you have a 1/16th inch rectangle. Peel off the top layer or wrap or paper, and place the dough on top of the paper or mat onto baking sheet.
3) Using a pizza cutter gently score the dough into the shape you want the crackers (be careful not to cut the silicone mat, if that is what you are using).
4) Just before baking, using a pastry brush, paint the dough with water and sprinkle the top with black and toasted sesame seeds, salt and za’atar spice.
5) Bake for 15 minutes, or until crackers are golden brown. Allow them to cool before eating.
6) Serve with fromage blanc!