"Good chefs, like artists, are visionaries. You have to have a vision of the taste, the look, the smell of your masterpiece; you hold it in your mind and make it materialize."

Onid Jatteri

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Viva le Dehydrator!

One of my challenges in moving into the raw food realm has been bread. I'm addicted to bread, especially yeast breads.

Discovering how to make crackers and flatbreads by drying the "batter" in a food dehydrator has opened a whole new chapter in my raw foods notebook. Using sprouted grains, fresh vegies, herbs, healthy oils and seeds and nuts make these wonderful bread stand-ins infinately variable.
I'll still have my yeast bread days (sour dough is my next project), but these types of crackers and flatbreads are definately here to stay.

Here's a before and after look at a basic very simple cracker. A cup of sprouted wheat (an overnight soak and 8 hours of sprouting is all it takes) is blended throughly with 1/2 cup of water, 1/8 cup of olive oil and 1/2 tsp. sea salt. The Vita-Mix makes short work of this chore. The batter is poured onto one "fruit leather" sheet of the dehydrator, spread thinly (1/4") then dried (on the top tray of the stack of 5) at 115 degrees for about 8 or so hours - checking frequently towards the end. I like to flip the big cracker over while there are still some areas of moisture showing, then cut it into wedges with my kitchen scissors. I put the crackers directly on the rack for the last bit of drying needed.

You don't need a big fancy dehydrator to do this (although I would never turn one down if the dehydrator fairy dropped one by). The most important feature to have is the thermostat to adjust heat range. To maintain a "raw" status, 118 degrees is considered maximum.

This "professional" model of a commonly found dehydrator is totally cool. It came with two smaller-mesh screens for those itsy bitsy things you might dry (small berries that would fall through the regular rack holes?), and most importantly, two solid teflex sheets for the leathers and cracker thingys. Well under $70, it has been a great tool for my drying projects. And I can pick up more packages of trays if I need them; it will handle up to 12.

So here's the after. These are crispy, tasty, substantial enough to build layers of goodies on and eat out of hand, and totally raw. How wonderful is that?!

A smear of nut/veggie pate', a slice of tomato from the garden, and a couple friendly slices of avocado. One is a great snack. Two makes lunch!


  1. yum! Thanks for this encouragement. I have a deydrator but not the fruit leather sheets on tiny mesh screens. Bummer. I tried crackers but did'nt have much success. The raw apple granola was fantastic though.

  2. Dalyn, the teflex sheets are definately worth the investment - they were 2 for just under $10 here at a local store. I'm loving the crackers/flatbreads. I'll be posting an onion flatbread soon, it's outrageous! But ya gotta love onions - and have an understanding hubby...