Thursday, August 30, 2007

Pita Bread

A few weeks ago, I was grocery shopping near the Interstate, where they get those city groceries, and I bought a package of pita bread. It wasn't very good pita bread, but it got me thinking about how I hadn't had any in years. After an Internet search, I started testing pita bread recipes. It's quicker and easier to make than I expected, and I love to see the flat bread dough rounds puff up into off-kilter balls in the oven. For me, it's both food and entertainment.

I favored a bread machine recipe because I'm lazy and because room temperature in this house is seldom conducive to yeast incubation. I modified the recipe and directions for better results, and what follows is a recipe that works well for me.

1 cup water
1 tsp salt
1 TBS oil
1 1/2 tsp sugar
3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast

Place all ingredients in bread pan, select Dough setting and start. When dough has risen long enough, machine will beep. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Gently roll and stretch dough into 12" rope. Preheat oven to 500°F, making sure you have an oven rack in the lowest position.

With a sharp knife, divide dough into 6 pieces. With a rolling pin, or by hand, form each piece of dough into a circle 6 to 7 inches in diameter. Set aside on a lightly floured counter top. Cover with a towel. Let dough circles rest a few minutes. Handle with care while rolling and transferring. Holes and tears prevent them from puffing up in the oven.

Place 2 or 3 pitas on a wire rack. (I'm using the porcelain-covered racks from our smoker. Cake racks will do, but racks out of discarded appliances like toaster ovens are more substantial, and work better.) Place your small rack directly on the oven rack. Bake pitas 4 to 5 minutes until puffed and tops begin to brown. Avoid over-baking, or the pitas will turn hard and brittle. Remove from oven and immediately cover pitas with a damp kitchen towel until cool.

These are recipes I tried, and from which I "developed" the recipe above.


Brett said...

It's a riot to make breads that you normally wouldn't think of as ones you can make at home. This sounds good.

Rebecca Clayton said...

I was surprised at how well the bread turned out--even my worst mistakes have been quite tasty.