Pita–or more adventures in bread baking
My youngest claims that he is a very boring person when it comes to food. It’s true, he does not have much of a sense of adventure when it comes to eating. He does love bread, and he loves good bread.
My family has loved the bagels that I have been making since we got home from Israel. Just to give you a sense of how much bread I have been baking, I have gone through 25 lbs of flour in the month that I have been home. I don’t eat very much bread at all.
What I have liked about the bagel baking is that unlike baking a peasant loaf or challah which require a fair amount of planning ahead, you can start a batch of bagels just a few hours before you plan to eat them.
Yesterday, I was a little tired of bagels. So I decided to try my hand at pita. I had made pita once or twice several years ago. I remembered that it was a soft dough and had a bit of oil in it. I mixed up the dough and it had doubled in about 90 minutes. I rolled out loaves pulled from palm sixed lumps of dough and baked them at 500.
They were pretty wonderful. I had to threaten them with death to stop eating them so my son could have some to take for lunch. They were a big success. Pita needs even less planning ahead than bagels.
I think that there is lots of pita baking in my future.
heat 2 C water for 1 minute in microwave
add to large bowl
add 1+ 1/4 tsp yeast
sprinkle 1 tsp flour to bowl to feed the yeast and go away for 5 minutes
add 3 tsp sugar, 1T salt and 1C flour and a drizzle of vegetable oil and mix with large spoon
keep adding flour by 1/2 cup full, mixing well after each addition
add flour until the dough is no longer sticky but is still soft ( challah ends up being a firm dough this is not)
knead for a few minutes in the bowl
cover with a towel and let rise until doubled
forming the loaves
pre heat oven to 500
cover baking sheet with parchment paper
punch down the loaves
flour your kneading surface
turn dough out of bowl and knead for a few minutes
cut a palm sized lump of dough off of the dough , roll into a ball and then with a rolling pin roll flat ( maybe 1/3 of an inch thick) it can be uneven
put the loaf onto the prepared pan. keep rolling out the loaves, they will need a surprising amount of flour to not stick to the rolling pin. Your loaves can be messy looking, they are more authentic looking that way.
when you pan is full put it in the oven and bake until pitas are puffed and golden brown. you may need to bake in more than one batch.
Be sure that your kids don’t eat them until they have cooled a bit. The trapped steam can create a nasty burn.