Thursday, December 15, 2011

Bread - Pita

Pita Bread

A wonderful puffy round pillow of warm steamy tastiness.  There's not much better than fresh made pita bread right out of the hot hot oven.

That's the secret I've found - a hot HOT oven.  450 or 475 degrees.  Rolling to a not too thin thickness is also a good help.  Baking on a hot pizza stone probably doesn't hurt either ;-)  I use the basic boule bread recipe from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day.  It's often already in my fridge just waiting for me to make pitas (or bread).

First, begin to heat your oven and pizza stone (or inverted cookie sheet) to 450 degrees.  Place a shallow metal pan in the bottom of the oven to heat as well.  Flour a cutting board or counter surface very well.  Take out a golf ball-sized piece of dough and fold the sides under and in to the bottom of the ball until the ball is smooth on top.  Flatten slightly with your hand on the well floured board and roll with a rolling pin until about 1/4-1/3 inch thick.  I've found about 1/4 inch thick works the best.

Once your oven is hot and you have at least 2 pitas rolled out, pour 1 cup warm-hot water in the extra metal pan to create steam.  Put your pitas on the stone and let them cook for about 7 minutes.  They should begin puffing about 3-4 minutes into the bake.

While those are cooking, start rolling the next couple.  2 fit well on my pizza stone.

Remove the baked pitas from the oven with tongs or spatula and put on a cooling rack.  Leave them puffy if you are eating right now, or let cool and gently press the poof to help squish out the hot air/steam and pack in plastic baggies to stay pliable for later.

Home made pitas don't store well - they're much better fresh.

Make up a batch of wonderful pita breads for your family - as a snack, lunch addition or just because they're fun.  Try them with kefir yogurt-cheese, jam, honey, butter and cinnamon, cheddar and swiss, chicken salad... possibilites are endless!

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