Monday, June 15, 2009

Pita Bread

Now this recipe was a pretty basic one that I found all over the internet when trying to compare, the only significant differences were in how many steps or how much rising time, etc required. This one in particular had lots of rising time, lots of steps. This should be started in the morning if you want it ready for dinner or made a day ahead as I probably wold do next time.

Pita Bread
Annie's Eats

For 8 pitas

3 cups flour, plus 1/2-3/4 cups more as needed
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar or honey
1 packet instant yeast
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cup water, roughly at room temp
2 Tbsp. olive oil, veg. oil or shortening

Mix yeast in with the flour, salt and sugar. Add oil and 1 1/4 cup water and stir together with wooden spoon. All of the ingredients should form a ball. If some of the flour will not stick to the ball, add more water.

Once all of the ingredients form a ball, place the ball on a woek surface, and knead the dough for approximately 10 minutes. If you are using an electric mixer, mix it at low speed for 10 minutes. As the dough is mixing, continue to add flour, a tablespoon or two at a time, until the dough clears the sides of the bowl and is tacky but not sticky. ( I added about 1/2 cup extra flour).

When you are done kneading the dough, place it in a bowl that has been lightly coted with oil. Form a ball out of the dough and plce it into the bowl, rolling the dough around so it is fully coated in the oil. Cover the bwl with a damp towel or plastic wrap and set aside to rise until it has doubled in size, approximately 90 minutes.

When it has doubled in size, punch the dough down to release some of the trapped gases and divide it into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, cover the balls with a damp kitchen towel, and let them rest for 20 minutes. This step allows the dough to relax so that it will be easier to shape.

While the dough is resting, preheat the oven to 450°. If you have a baking stone, put it in the oven to preheat as well. If you do not have a baking stone, turn a cookie sheet upside down and place it on the middle rack of the oven while it is preheating. This will be the surface on which you bake your pitas.

After the dough has relaxed for 20 minutes, spread a light coating of flour on a work surface and place one of the balls of dough there. Sprinkle a little bit of flour on top of the dough and use a rolling pin or your hands to stretch and flatten the dough. You should be able to roll it out to between ¼ – 1/8” thick – 6 inches in diameter. If the dough does not stretch sufficiently, you can cover it with the damp towel and let it rest 5-10 minutes before trying again.

Place discs on a lightly greased baking sheet or parchment paper and let rise, uncovered, until barely doubled in thickness, about 30-45 minutes.

Open the oven and place as many pitas as you can fit on the hot baking surface. They should be baked through and puffy after 3 minutes. If you want your pitas to be crispy and brown you can bake them for an additional 3 to 5 minutes, but it isn’t necessary.

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