Armenian cracker bread is one of our favorite accompaniments with string cheese, olives and a good cup of coffee.
While visiting family in New Jersey and New York this summer, my daughter Mandy and I took an overnight trip to Watertown, MA, home to everything Armenian.
We visited three Armenian grocery stores/bakeries which were within walking distance of each other – Sevan Bakery, Arax Market, and Massis Bakery. Unfortunately, time did not permit us to visit the Eastern Lamejun store – that will have to wait for another visit.
Mandy planned ahead by packing a cooler in the car to accommodate our food purchases – string cheese, boregs, lahmajoun, basterma, olives, the REAL Armenian cracker bread from Ak-Mak Bakery– you name it, we bought it!
Once home, the products we bought disappeared quickly. Luckily, I discovered, then adapted, an Armenian Cracker Bread recipe in one of my cookbooks, ‘The Armenian Table’, by Victoria Jenanyan Wise.
We’ll never run out of Armenian cracker bread again!
Armenian Cracker Bread
Thin, round, crisp cracker that partners perfectly with Armenian string cheese, olives, basturma – and Armenian coffee!
Servings 6 12-inch cracker rounds
- 1 pkg. active dry yeast granules 2 1/4 tsp.
- 1 cup lukewarm water (105°-110° F)
- 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter 1/2 stick, melted and cooled
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 2 tsp. Kosher salt
- 3½ cups all-purpose flour
- Olive oil
Garnishing Seed Options:
- toasted sesame seeds, black caraway seeds, Nigella seeds**
In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Allow this to sit for about 10 minutes to proof. Add the melted, cooled butter, sugar, and salt; stir.
To the same bowl, add the flour and mix until combined and a dough is formed. Knead the dough on a clean work surface until smooth and elastic.
Lightly coat the surface of the dough with olive oil; return dough to the bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and a clean kitchen towel and allow dough to rise until doubled in size, about 1-1/2 to 2 hours.
Punch down the dough and divide into 6 equal-sized balls. Let dough rest for 15 minutes before rolling.
Preheat the oven to 400° F.
Working with one ball of dough at a time, roll each into a thin, 12” round. Sprinkle each top with water, then sprinkle with some of the garnishing seeds of your choice.
Gently pat the dough’s surface with your hand to help the seeds adhere to the top.
Place each round of dough on a separate baking sheet. Bake one at a time for about 10-12 minutes (depending on your oven), or until the top is lightly golden and puffy in spots.
Serve warm, at room temperature, or softened**. String cheese and olives are a great accompaniment!
** According to ‘The New Food Lover’s Companion’ dictionary, the definition of Nigella seeds is: Also called black onion seeds, nigella seeds are tiny, angular, deep black seeds which have a nutty, peppery flavor. They are used in India and the Middle East as a seasoning for vegetables, legumes, and breads. Nigella seeds are sometimes erroneously referred to as black cumin, and entirely different species. Nigella seeds are sold in Middle Eastern and Indian markets.
**Victoria Jenanyan-Wise recommends softening the cracker bread in the following manner:
Dampen cracker bread on both sides by sprinkling it liberally with tap water. Shake off any excess moisture and wrap the bread in clean kitchen towels, then cover in plastic wrap for about 45 to 65 minutes, or until soft enough to easily tear into small pieces or roll without tearing.
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