Saturday, August 04, 2007

Middle Eastern pita bread

Major advantage of this recipe: bread in under an hour. The yeast is used for flavor, not as a rising agent.

1 1/2 cup warm water
1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
3 tsp yeast
3 Tbsp olive oil
3 3/4 cups flour
3 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place a baking sheet or pizza stone in the oven.

Heat water to about 110 degrees (hot, but not so hot that you can't keep your finger in it) in a large bowl. Stir in the sugar, then yeast. Let sit about 10 minutes or until foamy. Whisk in olive oil. Add flour one cup at a time. When it forms a ball, pulling away from bowl, turn it out onto a floured surface. Knead well until smooth and elastic, about 10-15 minutes. Cover gently with plastic wrap and let rest 10 minutes.

Knead in salt. Cut into 12 pieces and shape into balls. Cover again and let sit another 20 minutes.
Cut a piece of aluminum foil about 8x8 inches. Spray lightly with olive oil.

Roll out one piece to the thickness of a slice of processed cheese. Gently lift up the dough and place it on the foil. Put it in the hot oven on the baking sheet or stone. Let cook about 5-8 minutes or until puffed and brown. Once browned pull it out and immediately put it in a sealed ziplock bag. This will soften the bread as it cools to make it chewy rather than tough.

Repeat 11 times.

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