Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Sesame and Oregano Lavosh

Around the time I was getting excited about making crackers, a friend of mine was visiting her niece who had not only recently given birth and brought a newborn home (enough of an achievement don't you think?), but was also was also pulling crackers out of the oven and serving them up to her guests with blue cheese.

A clever cook herself, my friend got a copy of the recipe, made them, and delivered some to me, wrapped up in baking paper and tied with a ribbon. Talk about the way to my heart! (Well, she was there already). And they were amazing. I am still catching up with the idea that you can make crackers at home, never would I have imagined they could be this good.

Obviously the next step was to make them myself, but when I was primed and ready to go I couldn't find the recipe. Fortunately the words "sesame" and lavosh" were in my head, so I googled them and found the first recipe in the list to be from Annabel Langbein. And whaddya know, it was the exact same recipe as I had been given (I'd read it enough times to recognise it). A couple of my friends are big Annabel fans, and as you know one of them recently gave me one of her recipe books. I'm beginning to notice that people who discover Annabel seem to fall for her hook, line and sinker. Once you discover her, you love her! I've read her recipe book while staying up too late on many occasions, but have only ever made her Ultimate Chocolate Cake. A bit more experimenting and presumably I will fall too...

And as it turns out, the Lavosh recipe was in the very book that I had been given, quietly sitting on my bookshelf all that time.

The challenges involved in this recipe are around having the right ingredients and the time it takes to roll the dough out and get the many trays in to the oven. But to paraphrase Nigella, if you're going to the supermarket to buy bread and cheese and eggs, you may as well go to the supermarket to buy sesame oil and sesame seeds and ... well, that's probably all you will need to buy for this. You see her point, it's not hard to buy something you don't have, though you need to think ahead.

Rolling the dough out takes some time, but I have to say it is lovely dough. Beautifully soft and a delight to roll - not a phrase I ever imagined myself saying. You will need to use quite a lot of flour when rolling to stop the dough sticking. I recommend using a sieve to shake your flour on to the bench top and on the dough, it makes it so much easier and you'll find it's well worth digging it out of the cupboard. My first batch of crackers came out a bit floury, so when brushing the oil on in the final step, make a point of dusting a bit of the flour off at the same time.

If you make the full recipe you will end up with a lot of crackers, and this means sending tray after tray through the oven (one at a time of course) so it takes more time than just throwing a batch of biscuits in and being finished. I did a half recipe the first time and still got three trays worth.

If you want to go easy on the salt, as many of us do when we're feeding our kids, I suggest you reduce the amount of table salt in the mixture, but don't deny yourself the lovely taste of the rock salt on top. When halving the recipe I just did a good, generous pinch + rock salt on top. See what you think.

As always I prefer the no-flavour of grapeseed oil to the strong flavour of olive oil, but do as you please.  I've also suggested a little less cooking time than Annabel does as this worked better for me. You'll have to experiment and see what your oven does best.

Thanks to Annabel Langbein for the recipe below, and thanks to friends who deliver me paper packages tied up with ribbon!

 Sesame and Oregano Lavosh

1 C white flour
1/3 C wholemeal flour
2 Tbsp each black and white sesame seeds (or 4 Tbsp of one kind)
1 Tbsp finely chopped oregano or 1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
1/4 C olive oil
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 C water
To finish: olive oil and flaky sea salt

Stir together flours, sesame seeds, oregano and salt. Mix the oils and water together and add to the dry ingredients. Stir to form a soft, pliable dough.

Divide the dough in to four pieces and roll each one out on a floured board in to rectangles as thinly as possible. Cut each rectangle in to individual crackers and roll each piece again - they need to be paper thin.
(Keep in mind that as you roll each individual piece the second time it will approximately double in length).

Transfer the pieces to a tray lined with baking paper, brush lightly with oil and sprinkle lightly with sea salt.

Bake at 165 degrees until crisp and pale golden for about 12 - 15 minutes.


  1. We were delighted to receive your delicious lavosh too! It's a lavosh-go-round!

  2. That looks scrumptious! I'm an Annabel fan myself and so is my husband ;-). I enjoy trying out her recipes and eating them and he enjoys eating them.
    May I ask in which book this recipe is?
    thank you

  3. this is brilliant! i had completely forgotten i was going to make these. thank you!

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  5. Yum, these sound fabulous! Do you think rolling them betwixt (I just wanted to say betwixt!) two pieces of baking paper would eliminate the need for extra flour? I do this with gingerbread men that tend to stick terribly to the bench and, although the paper can slip around a bit annoyingly, there is certainly no stickage!! :)

    1. A great idea with great potential, but as it happened I was making more today so I tried and the dough just stuck to the paper :( Feel free to use "betwixt" here as often as you can :)

    2. Actually, it's nice to have an opportunity to say "lavosh" too, don't you think?

    3. My first thought upon reading "lavosh" was that it sounded like "lavash" which were kebab kind of things we had in Uzbekistan. I just wanted to drop the fact that we lived in Uzbekistan in. ;)

      Oh, and how disappointing they stuck to the paper. Oh well, keep on practising I say!

  6. I am the 'niece' in the story and adore my Aunty as much as you - she is a special lady! Enjoyed reading your blog and will be making these again soon

    1. Hi, thank you for your inspiration! I hope the baking and the baby are going well.

  7. You have made these look totally amazing! Glad to be a part of the Annabel lavosh takeover,and the dough really is a wonderful texture to play with!! I can confirm that the above-mentioned baby is going very well, he came for a visit last Tuesday and is extremely smiley and quite delicious. His mummy and I did eat blue cheese, but sadly there was no lavosh this time ...

  8. i tried this recipe today, and it was fantastic. we made a flash sunday lunch with them, topping them with tea-smoked salmon. unreal! these and your scottish biscuits are going to start coming to work with me, so i have something unsugary to hand in the afternoon dip. THANKS!

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