Friday, October 16, 2009

Homemade Pitta

Nothing is easier than homemade pitta. The freshness of this bread is worth the minimal effort when combined with savoury dips and some marinated, grilled lamb skewers.

The only patience required is the short proofing time when the individual pitta are rolled out. Without this proof, the breads won't puff as nicely in the oven so they can be split for filling later on. They also require some space for proofing as the recipe makes a dozen or so medium-sized pitta.

The critical step: letting the breads cool under the cover of a damp tea towel makes lovely and pliable pitta that keep amazingly well (in a plastic bag) for a couple of days.

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~Easy homemade pitta~
1 package of yeast
125 mL warm water
3 cups all-purpose flour (or a mixture of ap and whole wheat flour)
1 1/4 teapsoon salt
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
250mL lukewarm water

Dissolve sugar and yeast in 125mL of warm water. Let sit for 10-15 minutes until frothy. Combine flour(s) and salt in large bowl. Make a well in the flour and pour in yeast. Slowly add the remaining warm water and stir until an elastic dough forms. Place dough on floured surface and knead for 10-12 minutes until it is smooth and elastic and no longer sticky. Place dough in bowl a large bowl coated with vegetable or olive oil and turn dough over to coat.
Allow to proof for about 3 hours or until doubled in size. Then, roll into a rope, pinch off 10-12 portions and roll them into balls. Place balls on floured surface and let rest, covered, for 10 minutes.
Move rack with baking stone to the very bottom of oven. Preheat oven to 260C. Roll out each ball of dough with a rolling pin into circles. Each should be about 12-14cm across and 1/2 cm thick. Bake each circle for 4 minutes until puffed. Turn pitta over and bake for an additonal 2 minutes.
Remove each pita and set inside a damp teatowel. Pitta will deflate and form a pocket in the process.

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Serve with dips, salads and thinly sliced or cubed, roasted meats.

Mangia!

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